BEtween friends: Community security PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 December 2014 11:40

By Fatima Pir T. Allian



We attended an interesting workshop in Davao City last week on the importance of community security, mitigation strategies and the benefits of process and community ownership. Kristian Herbolzheimer, the Director of the Philippines and Colombia Programme of the Conciliation Resources, invited Ms. Nino Vadakaria and shared with us her extensive experience in Europe specifically Kosovo and her country in Georgia. She highlighted the community security working group experience after the post conflict in Kosovo. This workshop was very important to us because in the peace process where the normalization is one of the annexes, the public participation of the people in ensuring the safety and security of their community plays a pivotal ingredient in sustaining peace and development in their area.

Understanding and analyzing the problem using a gender lense considering the age group, occupation and the specificity of how the lives of the people will be affected in the post-conflict are some of the processes involved in ensuring that the perspectives of the community are represented. Nino explained that community security is a people-centered approach that addresses the issue of insecurity involving human security, development and state building paradigms. Aside from understanding the problems of those who are affected by the conflict, there should also be a wide range of state and CSO actors in identifying the root causes of the insecurity and how collectively each of the state and non-state sectors develop and coordinate responses. Through this kind of approach this builds the capacity and the willingness of communities, local authorities and security providers to address their own sources of insecurity. Thus it creates an enabling environment for wider reforms and more people focused policies formulated and developed.

How do we empower the communities? Of course the communities who will be members of the security working group need to identify and articulate security issues affecting them. It is very important that the communities are able to define what safety and security means in their own context and what are the priority issues defined by them and not by others. They are able to influence and manage responses to community security and issues and to hold to account those who should be delivering security services. However one should practice to do no harm as Nino explained. Do no harm should be context specific and conflict sensitive. In the whole process in doing this the group should be able to be transparent in all their dealings and in the processes involved there is accountability especially for those who have violated the rights of a person but at the same time monitors and manages potential risks.

The Community Security Working Group may be developed in the Bangsamoro area to help in the Normalization process. This is one of the mandates of the peace process and may be considered as a non-threatening kind of a revolution. This is where CSOs can help empower the disempowered understand their right to safety and security as a person and as a community. Most importantly, I guess, is how we challenge our assumptions: should we work with the existing organizations such as the Peace and Development Council and how do we deal with the military institutions and the PNP. If we are for peace sometimes we have to change our mindsets and engage with those whom we have not partnered with. It is quite uncomfortable to do that. But I guess the other side of the line feels the same way we do.

“You should group together and beware of separating, because the Devil is always there when one is alone, and he is farther away when there are two people.”[Ibn al-Mubarak – Mohammad bin Soukka)]