HIV/AIDS and the Security Sector in Africa

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24 Jan 2013
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Throughout history, communicable diseases have weakened the capacity of state institutions to perform core security functions, which compelled many African countries to initiate policies aimed at addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on the armed forces, police and prisons. These policies address: 1) the role of peacekeepers in the spread or control of HIV, 2) public health versus human rights dilemma, 3) the gender dimensions of HIV in the armed forces, and 4) the impact of HIV on the police and prisons. While this volume does not address all aspects of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the security sector, the contributors nonetheless highlight the potentials and limits of existing policies in Africa’s security sector.
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  • Endorsements
    “Securitization delivered a massive dose of adrenalin to the AIDS response. And whilst the most dire predictions of AIDS leading to destabilization and state failure did not materialize, this volume is a forceful reminder of the considerable and ongoing impact of the epidemic on Africa’s security sector—and the impact of uniformed personnel on the epidemic. A diverse set of African scholars, policymakers and serving personnel explore these dynamics in select African countries, providing unique and important contributions to discourse and policy reform to halt the transmission of HIV in conflict, post-conflict, prisons and police settings.”
  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgements
    This book – originally conceived as the “HIV/AIDS in the Military ( MilAIDS)” research project under the Defence Sector Programme of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) – was generously funded by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Following a conference on the theme “Trends, Impacts and Policy Development on HIV/AIDS and African Armed Forces” held in Johannesburg, South Africa, 2–5 December 2007, and the subsequent publication of the conference proceedings by the ISS, the United Nations University (UNU) and the ISS decided to further collaborate to broaden the theme of the project, invite more contributors and publish a policy-oriented peer-reviewed volume. This book is the product of this collaborative initiative. We would like to thank The Rockefeller Brothers Fund for its initial funding and all the research interns, programme associates and administrative assistants at both UNU and ISS who, at various times, worked with us to produce this volume. In particular, we would like to thank Johanna Stratton, Andrea Ottina, Greg Lowden (UNU) and Nadia Ahmadou (ISS) for their excellent research and administrative assistance. We are grateful to the United Nations University Press for their editorial support.
  • Introduction
    Focusing on selected African countries and sub-regional organizations, this book explores the policy dynamics of HIV/AIDS and the security sector. The volume examines the impacts of the epidemic on the security sector in specific countries, the policies that seek to address these impacts, and the challenges that HIV/AIDS poses to bodies such as peacekeeping missions and the military, together with the police and prison services. Accordingly, some of the chapters extend the scope of the analysis by addressing thematic issues such as HIV, gender and related socioeconomic and cultural challenges.
  • Understanding the dynamics of HIV/AIDS and the security sector in Africa: An overview
    Throughout history, the deadly comrades of war and disease have accounted for a major proportion of human suffering and death. The generals of previous centuries knew that disease was a bigger enemy than the army they would face across the battlefield. (Gro Harlem Brundtland,1 former Director-General, World Health Organization)
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts HIV/AIDS and the military: National and sub-regional perspectives

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    • HIV/AIDS and the South African National defence force: Anecdotal evidence from outside and within
      At the 2007 International Department of Defence HIV/AIDS Conference in Pretoria, the then South African Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, expressed the concern that “HIV/AIDS in the armed forces could pose a significant security threat”. What she was implying is that every soldier infected with HIV/AIDS erodes the capacity of the military to execute their core security mandate, in much the same way as HIV incapacitates its human host. The impact of HIV/AIDS on the armed forces can be linked to the effect this virus has on the human immune system. As Eberson observed
    • Policy, security and outcomes: HIV/AIDS and the Uganda people’s defence forces
      Uganda is one of the sub-Saharan African countries that have grappled with the challenges of HIV/AIDS across multiple sectors of the economy. In the past three decades, following the early HIV/AIDS cases in the 1980s, it gradually became clear to the government of Uganda that HIV/AIDS was not merely a health problem but one that had profound economic, social, political, security and psychological implications. The spread of HIV/AIDS contributed significantly to the rise of poverty levels and the decline in the production of goods and services. It did not take long – within a period of 10 years since the first cases were recorded – for the impact of HIV/AIDS to be felt in many sectors in Uganda. The epidemic implicated human and national security in many complex ways. By the early 1990s, Uganda’s HIV prevalence rate was estimated at 20.2 per cent, which was one of the highest in the world. Unless drastic measures were taken, it would not take long for the epidemic to severely undermine national security, stability and prosperity, and reverse Uganda’s development gains. This is because HIV/AIDS adversely affected key national institutions such as the military, the police and the civil service, and imposed strains on food security, education, health and other vital sectors.
    • The ECOWAS regional framework on HIV/AIDS and the military in West Africa
      It is now widely accepted that HIV/AIDS constitutes one of the greatest developmental challenges facing Africa. Like the other African subregions, West Africa is characterized by diversity in terms of language, culture, ethnicity, politics and colonial history. However, within this diversity, the countries in the sub-region share similar health challenges, including high fertility and mortality rates as well as the impact of the mortality and morbidity burdens of HIV/AIDS. These challenges are complicated by poverty and armed conflicts. The impact of armed conflicts on human security and the right to health of the population of West Africa is enormous. Not only do armed conflicts cause deaths and injuries on the battlefield; they also have serious health consequences that follow the displacement of populations, including the breakdown of health and social services and the heightened risk of disease transmission. The widespread violence and instability in conflict situations erode national economic prosperity and diminish the sources of livelihood of the people. Armed conflicts dampen market economies, deflect investments from the social service sector, and decrease employment opportunities by destroying infrastructure and reducing capital.
    • HIV and the military: A human rights impact assessment of Nigeria’s armed forces HIV/AIDS control policy guidelines
      Conflicts and deployments of armies across the world have several consequences, which would often include vulnerability to disease. The interplay between armies, conflicts and the spread of disease is particularly important in the context of the global HIV/AIDS crisis. HIV/AIDS can considerably diminish the capacity of militaries to perform the core functions of defending the territories of their states effectively or to participate in international peacekeeping and related military operations.
    • Challenges to the regeneration of the armed forces: HIV/AIDS and its impact on the military life-cycle
      In order to survive and grow, an organization has to continuously replenish the resources that support its functions. Perhaps the most important of these are human resources because they are capable of unlocking the true value of an organization. From the beginnings of recorded history, there have always been challenges in terms of adequately and efficiently staffing armies. Historically, disease has been a major determinant of the rate at which armies grew, moved and conquered.
    • A civil society perspective on the umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force policy response to HIV/AIDS
      This chapter examines the policy response of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) towards reducing the impacts of HIV/AIDS within its ranks. Using primarily secondary data and available policy documents, this chapter discusses the relevance of research in the development of an effective USDF HIV/AIDS policy. Further, it assesses the role of leadership in HIV/AIDS policy-making, capacity-building efforts for policy implementation, and the processes and approaches to mainstreaming, collaboration, standardization, monitoring and evaluation. In Swaziland, the major policy decisions have focused on the four programmatic areas of prevention, treatment, care and support, and impact mitigation; other policy interventions have focused on the cross-cutting issues of research, leadership, capacity-building, mainstreaming, collaboration, standardization, monitoring and evaluation. Although the USDF has instigated major policy initiatives to address the impact of HIV/AIDS, this chapter argues that the Force could still learn some lessons from the policies of the other security forces in Swaziland.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts HIV/AIDS and peacekeeping in Africa

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    • Culture and HIV/AIDS in African peacekeeping operations
      What I believe has happened in the UN peacekeeping missions is that a hypermasculine culture prevails there. Even the women who work there act in a traditionally male-gendered manner. (Sarah Martin)
    • The African Union and the HIV/AIDS crisis: Harnessing alternative policy options
      The HIV and AIDS crisis is now largely construed as a (human) security issue. HIV virulence has already reached crisis proportions in many developing regions of the world, and it constitutes a threat to peace, security and development in most of Africa. Africa, more than any other region, bears the major mortality, morbidity and human security burdens of HIV and AIDS. Consecutive global AIDS epidemic updates by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) state that sub-Saharan Africa is the worst hit in comparison with other regions of the world. Every aspect of the continent’s life is directly affected by the crisis, in particular the economic, social, political, cultural and, more recently, the military and related security sectors. The impact is most visible in the rising numbers of the workforce – including the military – either dying of AIDS or unable to find a job because of society-induced stigmatization of HIV.
    • The Zambia defence force: Considerations on peacekeeping and HIV/AIDS
      The United Nations (UN), established on 24 October 1945 in the aftermath of World War II, has since then been dedicated, in the enduring words of the UN Charter, to saving “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. Since its creation, the United Nations has been called upon to prevent disputes from escalating into war, to persuade opposing parties to use pacific means rather than the force of arms to settle disputes. In over five decades, the United Nations has provided the multilateral forum to contain or end numerous conflicts, in many cases through the deployment of peacekeepers.
    • A disorderly resolution of an organized conflict: The military dimension and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone
      The conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1980s that eventually led to a full-scale civil war between 1991 and 2002 was not exclusively devastating to Sierra Leone. The conflict impacted heavily on the sociopolitical situation in the neighbouring countries of Guinea and Liberia. Liberia fought a civil war between 1989 and 2003, and Guinea became home to millions of refugees who fled the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Instability, an ailing economy and suspicion owing to the influx of refugees transformed Guinea into a state of uncertainty. While this instability prompted some observers and international organizations to characterize Guinea as a “failed state”, the conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone threatened the stability of the entire West African sub-region. However, among the most devastating results of the conflict, in both Sierra Leone and the region, were the human security implications of the ravages of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts HIV/AIDS: Perspectives on the police and prisons

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    • Policing against stigma and discrimination: HIV/AIDS in the Zambia police service
      Since 1988, the World AIDS Day has been celebrated annually with various themes in recognition of the global ramifications of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In his message on “Leadership”, the theme of the 2007 World AIDS Day, Peter Piot, the former Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), stated that
    • HIV/AIDS in Cameroon: The policy response of the police
      This chapter examines the institutional framework adopted in Cameroon to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic and how this framework related to the police. With the diagnosis of the first HIV cases in 1985, the government embarked on a mission to control the scourge of HIV/AIDS, starting with its institutional and legislative framework. The approach has been holistic. There are many factors that make those in uniform vulnerable to HIV. It is only recently that sector-specific measures, for example within the police, have been enacted. This chapter emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach because members of the police are part of the larger society. It also examines the mainstreaming of the police into the Ministry of Defence’s HIV prevention plan and the resultant effects. It moves from the general to analyse efforts at the level of the police in Cameroon. The discussion does not intend to address the responses of other uniformed services, such as the armed forces and the penitentiary administration. Where these sectors are mentioned, it is purely for comparative purposes.
    • Policy challenges on HIV/AIDS and prisons: Towards a Southern African template
      Given the high financial, social and ethical costs of imprisonment, the data should prompt policy makers in every country to consider what they can do to limit the size of their prison population. Excessive use of imprisonment does nothing to improve public safety.
    • HIV/AIDS among Cameroonian prison staff: Response to a deadly challenge
      Before the 1980s, HIV/AIDS was unknown to people throughout the world. The discovery of AIDS first raised doubts across society, especially as it was said to have no specific symptoms, to be partly or mostly related to sex (and therefore a taboo topic and source of shame and stigma) and to be incurable. Today, no country can honestly claim to be exempt from the HIV/AIDS scourge. Moreover, within a given community, some social or professional groups are more exposed to the epidemic for reasons related to either education, culture, age, sex or mental attitude. Sub-Saharan Africa is known to be the region worst hit by the epidemic. The impact of the epidemic on uniformed defence and security sectors in Africa is worth examining not only because of the high risk of infection within these groups, but also because of the devastating impact of the disease on the economy, the defence capacity and the security alertness of the countries concerned. Along with the rest of this book, this chapter seeks to contribute to the efforts being made to understand the policy dynamics as African countries strive to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on the uniformed, defence and security forces in Africa.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts HIV/AIDS: Gender and other emerging issues

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    • HIV/AIDS and women in the Zimbabwe defence forces: A gender perspective
      This chapter explores the lived experiences of women in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The chapter offers a gender perspective on how HIV/AIDS programmes have responded or failed to respond to the needs of the ZDF women. Research on HIV/ AIDS and the military predominantly focuses on the serving members, the majority of whom are male. Women in the military are often overlooked as a subject of analysis in academic and policy literature. In addition, they are scarcely represented in the policy-making and resource- allocation echelons of military institutions. Consequently, male counterparts tend to overlook the important needs of women. Experience has shown that responses to women’s needs are typically planned and managed reactively rather than proactively. Based on this observable phenomenon, this chapter explores the perceptions of how the needs of women have been met in the ZDF’s fight against HIV/AIDS. It is hoped that the experiences of the ZDF women may be useful to other militaries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
    • Rape and HIV/AIDS as weapons of war: Human rights and health issues in post-conflict societies
      In the one hundred days of genocide that ravaged the small Central African nation of Rwanda . . . , an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped . . . [R]ape was the rule, its absence the exception. Sexual violence occurred everywhere, and no one was spared. (Anne-Marie de Brouwer and Sandra Ka Hon Chu)
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