Following the 2016 peace agreement, which did not include a reform of the security sector, Colombia has experienced an increase in violence and threats, and various armed groups have proliferated in rural areas, due to the absence or ineffectiveness of state security forces. This paper, written by 2nd year MPP students as their final project group or “capstone” assignment, discusses the importance of a reform of the security sector in a post-conflict context and the challenges of implementing such a reform and improving trust between civilians and the military. It particularly analyzes the problem of corruption in this sector, which severely compromises the legitimacy of the State, its resources, and its capacity to protect the population. Several public policy options are put forward, and recommendations are made in this regard: establish a meritocratic promotion system; involve civil society in the design of the reform; strengthen civilian and democratic oversight of the sector; and link more with communities and their needs.
In their capstone, the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy Project Group “Armed State Actors and Transitional Justice”, under the supervision of Dr. Alejandra Ortiz-Ayala, presented the following recommendations for Colombia’s Ministry of National Defence to follow in combating corruption and building trust:
Revise the appointments of the military staff and introduce a meritocratic system;
Involve NGOs in designing and facilitating effective training in human rights;
Establish mechanisms for democratic and civilian oversight of the security sector;
Strengthen bonds between communities and security actors.
The policy brief is co-authored by Brandt School students Ani Tovmasyan, Arupur Charles Peyo, Inés Beatriz Alberico, Isis da Cruz B. de Araújo, Majlinda Behrami, Mohammad Jaffar Arifi, Mohammad Zabi Rahmanzai, Raghad Alrosan, Silverio Caleia Gabriel, Teuku Harza Mauludi, and Yodit Lemma Tamiru.