Non-state security providers

2 Totonicapan, Guatemala by Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Non-state actors often play a more important role in security (and justice) provisions than the police. Many post-conflict areas operate with a diversity of non-state security providers and in a state of legal pluralism. Often, this situation arises in areas where the state has had limited access or legitimacy for extended periods of time as a result of conflict. Read more here.

Non-state security (and insecurity) providers at a local level can include indigenous institutions, rebel or jihadist organizations, criminal networks or gangs, and private security companies.  Some initiatives have been practiced for centuries – such as the 48 cantones in Guatemala, while others have taken shape more recently – such as Neighborhood Watch Schemes of Mogadishu, Somalia and the Chowkidari system in Afghanistan. Read more here.

These Digital Stories provides examples of non-state security providers:

 

The institutions may vary considerably in their origins, functions, and roles. They may operate with differing degrees of legitimacy, legality and recognition by the state (with whom they may cooperate or be at odds). Some initiatives work very well, and represent good alternatives to state dysfunction, while others do not. While we should not romanticize these initiatives, we may (when appropriate) consider building upon them when developing new COP initiatives. This may enhance the relevance, legitimacy and sustainability of the new initiatives. The following Digital Story gives the example of the Dispute Resolution Councils (DRCs) in Pakistan: a hybrid model of conflict resolution partly based on the traditional Jirga system.

See also this article for further details on the development of DRCs.