The African Security Sector Network (ASSN) in partnership with the African Union – Defence and Security Division and the Directorate of Citizens and Diaspora Organizations (CIDO) launched an Inaugural 3-day civil society security and justice sector reform workshop from November 1 to 3, 2017 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Themed Enhancing Civil Society Engagement in Security and Justice Sector Reforms at Continental and Regional Levels, the two main objectives of the project are; to build the capacity of Civil Society to engage issues of Security and Justice Sector Reform (SJSR) at continental, regional and national levels through a series of training workshops, in collaboration with the African Union and the RECs; and to provide a continental platform for ongoing dialogue and interaction between Civil Society, the AU and the RECs on SJSR policies, issues and processes, thus enhancing the role of Civil Society in monitoring and providing critical feedback on SJSR impacts on the ground, in particular on community security.
The workshop, hosted by the African Union Commission and supported by OXFAM and Cordaid, brought together members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from 5 countries (South Sudan, DRC, Burundi, CAR and Tunisia), representatives of RECs (IGAD, ECCAS and ECOWAS), AU, ECOSOC Peace and Security Cluster, ASSN, Cordaid and Oxfam to dialogue about how CSOs can initiate and support effective SSR processes in their respective countries in cognisance of the contextual peculiarities.
The various themes addressed by the workshop included the basic concepts of Security and Justice Reform, Democratic Security Governance and the Continental and Regional SJSR Policy Frameworks. ASSN experts facilitated most of these sessions.
The final day of the workshop was dedicated to interaction between all stakeholders and addressed issues regarding how the AU and RECs can work with Civil Society to ensure more people-centred security and justice outcomes at continental, regional and national levels, as well as influencing Strategy and Entry Points into AU and REC policy-and decision-making centres by CSOs.
Participants also discussed the idea of a possible continental civil society Platform which they hope can foster experience sharing and provide a forum for interaction with the AU and RECs on SJSR issues.