Conference in Erzurum on civilian oversight of internal security units

16 Feb 2009

The Governorship of Erzurum hosted a Conference on “Consultative Mechanisms at Local Level for Civilian Oversight of Internal Security Units” on 16 – 17 February 2009 in Erzurum within the scope of the “Improvement of Civilian Oversight of Internal Security Sector Project”.

The Project is implemented by the Ministry of Interior with the technical assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is funded by the European Commission.

Various consultative mechanisms existing at the local level for the civilian oversight of internal security units were assessed during this two-day Conference. Erzurum is one of the three pilot provinces where activities within the scope of the project are currently being implemented, Over one hundred participants representing different sectors were present in the Conference where the establishment of regular consultation mechanisms at local level between local administrators and civil society concerning citizens’ expectations from security services and consultative mechanisms necessary for the integration of such expectations into the existing structure were discussed.

The Conference benefited from the contributions of academicians of Atatürk University during the sessions of the two separate working groups that were established within the scope of the event.

The first working group focused on the issues related to the situation analysis, needs identification and recommendations to increase the effectiveness of Human Rights Boards at local level with respect to the increased effectiveness of civilian oversight. The working group further explored whether issues concerning civilian oversight of internal security were adequately reflected on the agenda of Human Rights Boards at provincial and district levels.

In the second working group, with the aim of including civilian oversight of internal security issues to the various existing local mechanisms, Local Decision Making Organs (Municipal Councils, City Councils, General Provincial Assemblies and Neighborhood Headmen- Mukhtars) of the Municipalities and Special Provincial Administrations were reviewed. This group also sought answers to such questions as to whether ethics councils could be established towards ensuring a balance between various security initiatives (i.e. MOBESE) of the local authorities and human rights related concerns.

The findings of the meeting were reflected on a “Final Declaration” and provided input to the second provincial Conference, which is planned to take place in June in the other pilot province, Niğde.