Democratic Security Sector Governance

Protection of human rights constitutes the core function of a democratic state.

Public security is a human rights issue, going to the core of a state’s responsibility to provide for the security and protection of all people living within its borders in a manner consistent with universal rights and democratic norms.

Respect for human rights and the rule of law must become part of any effort to govern and reform the security sector. Effecting such change is a long term process.

Human rights organizations play a vital role in working with governments and with other civil society organizations to instil respect for the human and legal rights of citizens.

Monitoring the observance of international human rights within the state, domestic human rights groups can also contribute to reform/oversight efforts.

Human Security and Human Rights

In the landmark report “In Larger Freedom”, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan highlighted the interdependence of the concepts:

“We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”

What are human rights?

Human rights are:

  • Universal legal guarantees
  • Civil, political, economic, social, and cultural
  • Internationally agreed norms which protect basic human values (freedom, equality, dignity)
  • Inherent to individuals and, in certain cases, groups (e.g. minority rights)
  • Laid down in international declarations and treaties
  • They are legally binding on states

Legal framework for human rights:

Human Rights are fundamental universal rights that all human beings are entitled to. They are outlined in the 30 articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948). Since its creation, this founding document has been expanded and complemented by other international and regional legal instruments, such as those composing the International Bill of Rights.

International Bill of Rights:

Other regional HR legislation:

Human Rights:

Every human being, everywhere in the world has the:

heart-with-lifeline-variant FREEPIKRight to Life

freedom FREEPIKRight to Freedom

Right to Equality

security-on FREEPIKRight to Security

ball-and-chain FREEPIKRight not to be Enslaved

man-sitting-with-headache FREEPIKRight not to be Tortured

dislike freepikRight not to be treated in a cruel, inhuman, or degrading manner

newspaper-with-international-information-for-education freepikRight to universal recognition of one’s rights

balance freepikRight to equality before the law and equal protection of the law

group FREEPIKRight to protection against any discrimination

group freepik (3)Right to protection against any incitement to discrimination

newspaper-with-international-information-for-educationRight to an effective judicial remedy in view of any violation of one’s rights

people-searcher FREEPIKRight to not be arrested or detained arbitrarily

magistrate-with-hammer freepikRight to a fair trial

businessman-paper-of-the-application-for-a-job freepikRight to be presumed innocent until proven guilty

zoom-interface-symbol-of-text-paper-with-a-magnifier-glass freepikRight to only be charged with criminal offences which are specified as such in national or international law

test-with-time-control-for-a-business-man freepikRight to not be accused of a crime if, at the time when it was committed, there was no law against it

court freepikRight to not receive a harsher penalty than the one that was applicable at the time the offence was committed

keyhole-in-a-shield-black-shape freepikRight to privacy

family-of-four-in-front-of-their-home FREEPIKRight to family

home FREEPIKRight to have a home

envelope-in-black-paper-with-a-white-letter-sheet-inside freepikRight to free and private correspondence

icon freepik (2)Right to protection against attacks on one’s honour and reputation

international-delivery-symbol freepikRight to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state

freepikRight to freedom of movement between the borders of different states

familiar-insurance-symbol freepikRight to asylum

international-passport freepikRight to a nationality

id freepikRight to change one’s nationality

control freepikRight to not be arbitrarily denied or deprived of nationality

icon freepikRight to marry

handshake freepikRight to equal rights during the marriage and at its dissolution

shaking-hands-inside-a-heart freepikRight to only marry freely and willingly

heart-in-hands FREEPIKRight of the family to be protected by the state and the society

house-with-dollar-sign freepikRight to one’s own property (alone or in association with others)

house freepikRight to not be arbitrarily deprived of one’s own property

bald-male-head-side-view-with-letters-inside freepikRight to freedom of thought

mind-gears freepikRight to freedom of conscience

prayer freepikRight to freedom of religion

origami-bird freepikRight to change one’s beliefs

person-learning-by-reading freepikRight to manifest one’s beliefs in teaching, practice, worship and observance

silhouette-with-speech-bubble freepikRight to freedom of opinion

man-talking-by-speaker FREEPIKRight to freedom of speech and expression

demostration freepikRight to peaceful assembly and association

political-candidate-speech freepikRight to participate in the government of one’s own country

voting freepikRight to vote

business-man-showing-blank-publicity-board freepikEqual right of access to public service of one’s country

family-insurance-symbol freepikRight to social security

hand-holding-a-stalk freepikRight to economic, social, and cultural rights necessary for one’s personal development

file by Gregor CresnarRight to a free choice of employment

safe-shield-protection freepikRight to protection against unemployment

gender-equality freepikRight to equal pay for equal work

coins-on-hand freepikRight to just and favourable remuneration

group freepik (2)Right to form and join trade unions

beach-umbrella-and-sun freepikRight to rest and leisure

earth-pictures freepikRight to periodic holidays with pay

home-insurance-symbol-of-a-house-on-hands freepikRight to adequate standard of living

apple frrepikRight to food

fitness-shoes freepikRight to clothing

family-under-a-ceiling-outline freepikRight to housing

medicine-briefcase freepikRight to medical care

umbrella freepikRight to social services

child-with-umbrella freepikRight to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other circumstances beyond one’s control.

mother-with-baby-in-arms FREEPIKRight to special care and assistance for motherhood and childhood

medical-insurance FREEPIKEqual social protection for all children

books-stack-of-three freepikRight to education

diploma-of-vertical-design freepikRight to free elementary education (elementary education should be compulsory)

diploma-roll freepikRight to equal access to higher education

having-an-idea freepikRight to freely participate in cultural life

icon freepik (3)Right to the protection of interests resulting from one’s own scientific, literary and artistic production

peace-dove freepikRight to an international and social order allowing for the fulfilment of Human Rights


Human Rights in Ukraine

Key Human Rights Developments in Ukraine:

Ukraine National Action Plan on Human Rights approved through the Decree of the President of Ukraine #501/2015



Human Rights News, Views and Info: here.

Interactive educational tool on Human Rights.

Johanna Mendelson Forman, ‘Public Oversight of the Security Sector, (2008) in Public Oversight of the Security Sector: A Handbook for Civil Society Organisations

See UN Doc. A/59/2005: In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. Report of the Secretary-General, New York 21 March

Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

[1] For graphics and summary of ECHR see:

© Icon Credit: Designed by Freepik from

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