Reading List - Security Sector Reform in Haiti By: Antoine Vandemoortele | Haiti | Sep 20, 2016

In the context of the ongoing governance crisis in Haiti, the Centre for Security Governance (CSG) created this SSR Country Snapshot to highlight key recent publications from the CSG and its partners on security governance issues and security sector reform in Haiti.



Last Updated: September 2016

On security sector reform

#1 | Public security | Haiti and the Democracy-Public Security Interface

If the ability to hold credible, peaceful elections is a key litmus test of a country’s progress towards democratic consolidation, the latest evidence from Haiti is far from encouraging. The electoral cycle that began in August 2015 – following months of delays and governance by presidential decree – was meant to renew Haiti’s democratic institutions, but has instead plunged the country back into political crisis.

#2 | Police Reform | The Haitian National Police and the Governance Crisis in Haiti

The highly-contested character of Haiti’s national elections in 2015 and the larger governance crisis that endures today, have sharpened debates about the role of the Haitian National Police (HNP) and its development in recent years. The authors offer a careful, nuanced assessment of uneven HNP progress in five areas of focus: territorial decentralisation; community policing; crowd control; the treatment of women (as policewomen within the HNP and as citizens by the HNP); and policing related to the elections.

#3 | Police Reform | The development of the National Police, public security and the rule of law in Haiti

Centre for Security Governance (CSG) Senior Fellow Stephen Baranyi has co-authored a new report, with Yves Sainsiné, on the development of the National Police, public security and the rule of law in Haiti. The full report is available in French here. The English Executive Summary has also been published here on the SSR Resource Centre blog.

# 4 | Justice Reform | The Politics of Justice Reform in Haiti

This blog post provides a summary of a recent article, written by Louis-Alexandre Berg, which outlines the recent history of justice reform in Haiti. The system’s inability to adjudicate cases fairly, efficiently or impartially has consistently been treated as a “capacity” problem; interventions, which focused on improving capacity deficits in terms of the number of justice, lawyers, prosecutors and even the quality of legal aid, have largely failed to generate sustainable improvements.

# 5 | Defence Reform | The Battle for Haiti’s Security Is Largely Political

In this blog post originally published on the IPI Global Observatory, Geoff Burt, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Security Governance, analyzes the political challenges Haiti faces in its attempt to address key security governance issues, including paramilitary action, gang violence and the reinstatement of the Haitian armed forces.

# 6 | Private Security Industry | From Private Security to Public Good: Regulating the Private Security Industry in Haiti

The paper analyzes the current state of the private security industry in Haiti and the legal framework under which it operates, and makes recommendations for how a reformed legal and regulatory regime can guide the next phase of its development, based on interviews with owners and agents of private security companies, industry associations, senior Haitian police personnel, United Nations (UN) planners and parliamentary leaders.

On gangs, violence and politics

# 1 | Urban Gangs Make Comeback as Political Goons in Haiti

It is commonly perceived that the motivation of Haiti’s urban gangs has changed from political to criminal – falsely so as my research has found. Rather, the function gangs fulfill for their sponsors is constantly shifting between political and criminal, as evidenced by the current re-emergence of political violence ahead of elections later this year.

# 2 | With Elections Looming, will Haiti’s Urban Gangs Re-emerge as Political Actors?

As Haiti enters a lengthy and no doubt turbulent period of electoral politics, the country’s long-standing drivers of conflict take on a particular significance. Gangs have figured prominently in Haiti’s recent political transitions, as national-level political actors have deployed urban gangs to generate violence and unrest as a strategic instrument of political influence.

# 3 | Vertically Integrated Peace Building and Community Violence Reduction in Haiti

A new article examines gang-driven violence in the urban slums of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. These communities have, in recent years, been the site of an ongoing series of experiments, involving a range of different actors, aimed at reclaiming them from armed gangs; however, the isolated and fragmented nature of these interventions has reduced their cumulative impact. The paper makes a case for greater coherence and coordination between bottom-up community violence reduction efforts and top-down police reform, based on a broader argument around the importance of “vertically integrated peace building.”

Background  information on the history of security sector reform in Haiti

Security Sector Reform Monitor: Haiti (last edition in 2010)

The Security Sector Reform Monitor was a quarterly publication that tracks developments and trends in the ongoing security sector reform (SSR) processes of five countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, East Timor, Haiti and South Sudan. Adopting a holistic definition of the security sector, the Monitor will cover a wide range of actors, topics and themes, from reforms in the rule of law institutions and armed forces to demilitarization activities and the role of non-statutory security and justice actors.

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