Civilian oversight of security conference

01 Mar 2009


The first provincial conference of the “Improvement of Civilian Oversight of Internal Security Sector” project was held in February 2009 in Erzurum, one of the pilot cities of the project.

New Horizons - The conference on “Consultative Mechanisms at Local Level for Civilian Oversight for Internal Security Units” benefitted from the contributions of the Atatürk University’s academic staff.

In the opening session of the conference, Leyla Şen, Manager of the Democratic Governance Programme of UNDP, said: “Civilian Oversight means the establishment of the necessary political, cultural, military and social processes suitable for an environment necessary for the human dignity.  In today's changing and developing world the traditional security perception has also changed. Security is now provided through an understanding where human rights and development, rather than the guns and uniforms, are supported."

The conference was attended by a total of 110 participants from various sectors and other pilot project cities of İstanbul and Niğde in addition to Ankara. During the parallel sessions of the working groups held within the conference, Human Rights Boards and various existing consultative mechanisms of the local decision making structures were reviewed with a view of to incorporate security related issues into their agendas. The participants agreed to establish a common platform on security and ensured participation of all sectors in that platform.

 As a result, ten priority issues were identified based on the outputs of the working groups which were then reflected into a Final Declaration by the reporters. Final Declaration highlights  the need for increased accessibility and the enhanced interaction between the citizens and the internal security institutions even in the absence of any committed crime. Relevant studies on ensuring transparency and accountability are also proposed to be undertaken towards increasing the infrastructural needs of various stakeholders of the project (provincial administrators, police and gendarmarie). The Declaration also stresses that such work should focus especially on self-training, self-auditing, establishing auto-control mechanisms, increasing empathy skills, developing standards and exchanging information.

The Deputy Governors of Niğde and İstanbul also adressed the participants during the closing session of the conference where the Final Decleration was read by Deputy Governor of Erzurum Gürkan Polat. Both Governors reiterated the importance of participation and coming together and reminded that such conferences will also be held in their respective cities in the forthcoming months.

The 2,5 million Euro project is being financed by European Commission and being implemented by Ministry of Interior through the technical assistance provided by UNDP. The next conference within the project framework will be organized in Niğde in June 2009.