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Chapter 7 Defence and Security
Australia has a small but significant defence and security involvement
with African countries. In this, the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the
Australian Federal Police (AFP), DFAT, and AusAID all play significant roles.
The ADF and AFP direct involvement comprises contributions to
peacekeeping forces; training and professional development to support
peacekeeping; cooperative training arrangements for other military personnel;
and various other forms of police cooperation, including forensic training and
cooperation on international crime and terror activities.
Both the AFP and the ADF have a permanent presence in Africa. The AFP
has an office in Pretoria, South Africa, as part of its ‘international liaison
officer’ network. The ADF is in the process
of establishing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, its first Defence Attaché to the
Australia has planned to spend some millions of dollars for security
activities focused on Africa. Defence told the Committee that its budgeted
financial expenditure on Africa for 2009-10 amounted to $1.2 million,
administered by its International Policy Division, and $430 000, administered
by the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.
A further $71 000 had been budgeted for 2010–11; and $360 000 for 2011–12.
The AFP told the Committee that in the 2009-10 budget it had received an
appropriation of $4.8 million over four years for a program of forensic support
to African countries as part of the wider ‘$17.5 million dollar Africa—Law
& Justice Frameworks—Australian Assistance initiative’.,
In Africa, Defence and AFP operations span two areas: ‘development
assistance or capacity-building operations and regional security or strategic
issues’. In many cases, these
contributions entail peacekeeping, training, and other functions distinct from
‘traditional’ military and policing activities.
Such activities are more prominent due to changes in the international security
environment. This has resulted in a closer relationship between ‘security’ and
more traditional defence functions. At the same time, there has been a shift
toward the prevention of conflict and other threats to national security.
This has influenced Australia's security policy on Africa, just as it has in
relation to our closer regional neighbours. This reflects changes in the wider
Traditional forms of military involvement respond to a direct threat, or
in other ways prosecute specific applications of force as directed by
government. The involvement of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the AFP
in Africa differs from this in significant ways. It is therefore important to
consider the policy frameworks which support and authorise such actions.
The key elements in Australia’s defence and security policy framework
are outlined in the National Security Statement (2008) and the Defence White
Paper (2009).Both identify key priorities for Australia's security forces,
and also provide articulations between traditional and non-traditional security
functions, resulting in a new set of explicit links between aspects of
Australian security policy.
Importantly, they identify the reasoning under which Australian
security services may be considered justified in pursuing objectives outside of
Australia, and beyond the confines of traditional military conflict.
The National Security Statement 2008
The National Security Statement, delivered by the then-Prime Minister,
Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, in December 2008, identified a hierarchy of key defence
objectives for Australia:
Australia’s territorial and border integrity.
- promoting Australia’s
Australia’s cohesive and resilient society and the long-term strengths of our
Australians and Australian interests both at home and abroad.
- promoting an
international environment, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, that is
stable, peaceful and prosperous, together with a global rules based order which
enhances Australia’s national interests.
The first objective encapsulates a traditional ‘Defence of Australia’
defence doctrine. The second and third points are also largely consistent with
this, and do not furnish a rationale for pre-emptive or preventative security
interventions overseas. However items four and five create a basis for acting
outside of traditional confines, both of the ‘Defence of Australia’ and
traditional military actions.
Other aspects of the Statement add to this framework for security
operations further afield. First, the Statement re-states Australia's
commitment to ‘multilateral institutions ... in particular the United Nations,
to promote a rules based international order that enhances our security and
economy’. Second, it commits Australia to advancing national security ‘through
the agency of creative middle-power diplomacy—an active foreign policy capable
of identifying opportunities to promote our security’.
Importantly, in connection with this last point, the Statement refers to
the use of diplomacy ‘to otherwise prevent, reduce or delay the emergence of
national security challenges’. In addition to its
adoption of a ‘risk based approach’ and a series of references to ‘shaping’
Australia’s ‘strategic environment’, this signals the
emergence of a ‘pre-emptive’ doctrine in Australian security policy, where
‘prevention’ is established as a legitimate element. However, this is not
pre-emptive in the sense of willingness to initiate conflict: rather it lies at
the other end of the spectrum, where stabilization, peacekeeping and
civil-military undertakings are seen as instruments of national security.
The Statement also shows a changing stance on security detailing a
relationship between different arms of government previously not considered
part of formal ‘security’ concerns. The Statement draws a range of
security-related matters under the one main heading of ‘National Security’ and
provides a policy framework for coordinating between these hitherto separate
and distinct aspects of Australia's security interests. The security matters
- non-proliferation and
- ‘transnational law
enforcement’ against ‘trafficking in ... drugs and arms;
- people smuggling and
the illegal exploitation of resources’;
- climate change;
- protection against
pandemic disease; and
- energy security.
This results in a picture in which different arms and agencies of
government are orchestrated to support Australia's security. Under these
arrangements, ‘creative middle-power diplomacy’ is ‘reinforced by a robust
defence policy’; and ‘overseas development assistance efforts’ and policing
work together with ‘an Australian Defence Force that is ready to respond ...
in a range of situations from combat operations to disaster relief’ to protect
Australian interests and to express Australia's commitment, as noted, to a
‘rules based international order’.
The Defence White Paper 2009
While the National Security Statement 2008 provides a policy framework
for Australian defence and security actions outside of Australia, it does not
specifically refer to Africa. However, the 2009 Defence White Paper does. It
It will remain in Australia's interests to encourage peace
and stability in Africa as part of our contribution to global security, through
targeted defence cooperation and capacity building in areas such as
peacekeeping. These efforts will contribute to Africa's capacity to manage its
There are a number of things to be said about this, defining the scope
of Australian defence and security actions in Africa. First, the White Paper
establishes a limit on what will be considered normal and acceptable security
actions in Africa:
The Government has decided that it is not a principal task
for the ADF to be generally prepared to deploy to the Middle East, or regions
such as Central and South Asia or Africa, in circumstances where it has to
engage in ground operations against heavily armed adversaries located in
crowded urban environments. This entails a requirement to engage in
high-intensity close combat which brings with it the risk of an unsustainable
level of casualties for an army the size of Australia’s.
This indicates that while other kinds of direct involvement may be
contemplated, this specific kind of high-risk activity is unlikely to be
sanctioned under current defence and security policy.
Second, the White Paper establishes a rationale for a variety of other
actions, of a more ‘stabilising’ nature. This is proposed on the basis that
Australian interests are affected by instability in other states, including
those of Africa:
Regional conflicts, such as in the Middle East and Africa,
will likely continue to be a risk in the international system. Clashes between
and within states in these regions are likely to arise for diverse reasons,
such as the breakdown of fragile states; disputes over territory; access to
resources, water and energy; population movements, environmental crises or food
shortages; conflicts between ethnic or religious communities; or efforts to
promote ideological or nationalist goals.
It is in relation to this last point that Australia's interests begin to
be engaged. The White Paper notes that:
Islamist terrorism will likely remain a destabilising
component of the global security environment for at least a generation. For the
foreseeable future, the most concentrated presence of terrorist groups and
activity will likely be in the Middle East, North and East Africa, and South
and Central Asia, where weak states and the continued resonance of those
groups' ideologies will provide them with a relatively permissive operating
environment and a supply of recruits.
These are things that could affect Australia's security in an
international climate characterised by an increase in risk of terrorist
activity. There are also other strategic issues which come to the fore.
Referring to Africa specifically, the White Paper proposes that while there are
‘reasonable prospects for better economic growth, governance and reduced
frequency of conflict’, Africa is:
also growing in relative importance as a source of the
world’s energy supplies. At the same time, economic development is likely to be
uneven and insecurity and instability are likely to continue in some countries,
exacerbated by environmental pressures. This will lead to calls for
international assistance in addressing intra- or inter-state conflicts, either
directly or through support for African peace-making and peacekeeping. The
growth of Islamist extremist groups in North Africa and the Horn of Africa
poses a risk to security regionally and beyond.
In addition, other changes in the broader environment will see a new
focus of interest and concerns beyond the Pacific Ocean, to include the Indian
Ocean. This again brings Africa into a higher priority in the strategic
The Indian Ocean will have greater strategic significance in
the period to 2030. It will become an increasingly important global trading
thoroughfare, particularly for energy supplies between Asia and the Middle
East. There are a number of significant inter-state and intra-state conflicts
along its periphery that have the potential to draw in other powers. Over time,
and in response to these factors as well as transnational security issues such
as piracy, the Indian Ocean is likely to host a larger military (particularly
naval) presence. A number of major naval powers are likely to increasingly
compete for strategic advantage in this crucial maritime region. Over the
period to 2030, the Indian Ocean will join the Pacific Ocean in terms of its
centrality to our maritime strategy and defence planning.
Response to Australia’s defence policy
Two contributions to the inquiry have provided a response to the policy
outlined above. The first provided an account of how the concepts of ‘defence’
and ‘security’ converged to the point where peacekeeping and preventing states
from failing can be considered legitimate aspects of Australia's national
security interest. The second provided a critique of that concept of
‘Australia's interest’ and proposed in its place an international rules-based
agenda (cited as part of the National Security Statement) based on emergent
concepts of international human rights law.
A military perspective
Major Matthew Cuttell’s paper, provided as an exhibit to the inquiry,
focuses on AFRICOM, the designated US military area command for the African
continent. It argues that AFRICOM offers Australia an avenue to expand its
engagement with Africa. Africa, it suggests, has hitherto ‘only featured in
Australia’s foreign and defence policies in response to crisis or pending
humanitarian disaster’, and this ‘ narrow approach has resulted in missed
opportunities for understanding and engagement within Africa’.
Although the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC on 11
September 2001 have a part to play in the convergence of defence and security,
the paper argues that these processes predate this considerably. It notes that
even while Australia was sending troops to combat situations in Korea, Malaya
and other places it was also, at the same time, beginning its contribution to
United Nations peacekeeping endeavours. These persisted through successive
statements of Australian military doctrine, which displayed a consistently
increasing role for peace-keeping and other civil-military operations.
The paper notes that at the same time US military doctrine, particularly
in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, has come increasingly to
identify failed states and other forms of critical instability as providing a
haven for terror activity: and that this activity bears a direct threat to domestic
security in ways hitherto only envisaged from aggressor states. This was
reflected in the 2002 U.S. National Security Statement, which stated that
‘America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing
ones’. In a similar vein, the
2006 U.S. Defence Quadrennial Review recommended that the U.S. should ‘decrease
the possibility of failed states or ungoverned spaces in which terrorist
extremists can more easily operate or take shelter’.
As a result, the paper observes, ‘AFRICOM’s focus is on war-prevention rather
The implications of these developments for Australia, over time,
involves two outward movements: one beyond an exclusive focus on the ‘defence
of Australia’ toward greater attention to the stability of other states and the
second beyond the ‘traditional’ role of the military in formal conflict between
states toward what are now termed ‘civilian-military’ operations. The paper notes
that an ‘analysis of the evolution of Australia’s defence policy reveals a
transition of the role of the military from national defence (based on
geography) to national security (based on interests and values)’.
The expression of this shift is to be found in the contention that, as
for AFRICOM, it is legitimate for security forces to ‘place capacity-building
in Africa at the center of [their] mandate’, and to create ‘innovative,
integrated civilian-military approaches’. Under this approach it
becomes consistent for military commands, such as the US Joint Task Force -
Horn of Africa (JTF-HOA) to work across a spectrum of activities from
‘military-to-military training, civil military operations, and security
training to build capacity for partner nations to secure themselves’. This
extends to humanitarian activities, including ‘the provision of clean water and
the conduct of medical, dental and veterinarian civil action programs ....
[and] the building of numerous schools, clinics and hospitals’.
The paper comments that ‘Australian military forces have also shown an
ability to perform humanitarian tasks such as medical support and engineering
de-mining ... in Africa and other regions’. In summary, the paper states:
Australia’s concept of security has evolved to include a more
global and expansive view with a realization of the expanding role that the
military will perform in securing national interests. Australia’s defence and
foreign policy have witnessed a transition of the role of the military from
national defence (based on geography) to national security (based on interests and
values). Australia’s interests in Africa are framed in terms of physical
security (failed states, weapons of mass destruction), human security
(humanitarian assistance) and economics (trade). All three areas are
experiencing increasing growth and importance due to the recognition of their
importance to Australia’s security. However, Australia’s policy execution
regarding Africa is narrowly focused with respect to the various regions and
only in the fields of economic trade and humanitarian aid. This presents
Australia with an opportunity to expand its involvement in Africa to include
the military element of national power.
An alternate view
The 2008 Australian National Security Statement consistently links its
statements back to Australia's interests, whether they be Australia's ‘national
interests’; its ‘security interests’; its ‘foreign policy interests’; or its
Oxfam Australia was critical of this approach, suggesting that
‘developments’ in international law, and associated conventions, ‘are making it
increasingly untenable for foreign policy approaches to be couched only in the
The alternative, Oxfam suggested, was to adopt an approach based on
concepts of international humanitarian law, in particular, that of ‘responsible
sovereignty’—a principle arising from Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Convention
and the 1977 Additional Protocol.
Oxfam Australia argued that Australia's responsible sovereignty
obligation implied that it should be obliged to ensure respect for
international humanitarian law and uphold the doctrine of Responsibility to
Professor Evans commented that following recent debates in the UN
General Assembly there was:
…a thoroughly embedded new norm of
international behaviour in the sense of the three pillars of the responsibility
to protect; namely, a recognition that, firstly, states have a responsibility
to protect their own people from mass atrocity crime; secondly, other states
have a responsibility to assist those who are willing to be assisted to prevent
and avert such catastrophes through all appropriate means; and, thirdly, in the
event that a sovereign state is unable or unwilling to protect its own people,
the international community has a responsibility to engage in whatever way is
necessary to halt or avert mass atrocity crimes.
Oxfam also advised the Committee that the nature of conflict was
changing and there was a:
… significant blurring of the lines between political and
non-political violence, conflict and post-conflict violence, and conflict and
criminal gang violence. Interpersonal violence and violence against women is
also strongly linked to conflict and post-conflict violence …
Oxfam therefore stressed the importance of addressing sexual violence,
particularly against women in conflict circumstances. Also, it proposed that
there be greater emphasis on the implementation of UN Resolution 1325, which
provided for gender balance in peacekeeping and similar forces in zones
affected by conflict.
The Committee notes that there are common elements between the different
approaches to Australia’s defence and security involvement in Africa. The
National Security Statement, Major Cuttell’s paper, and Oxfam’s submission all
refer both to Australia’s interests and to activities pursued on the basis of
an international rules-based framework. The differences between them stem from
the different weight accorded to these principles.
The Committee notes the development of the responsibility to protect
doctrine and welcomes the Australian Government’s continuing support for its
Defence involvement with Africa
Australia’s defence engagement with Africa has several facets:
- the appointment of an
African-based Defence Attaché accredited to the AU;
- training of African
defence forces personnel; and
- contribution to
landmine clearing operations.
Appointment of a Defence Attaché
In February 2009, the then Minister for Defence, Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon
MP, announced the establishment of a Defence Attaché to the AU, based in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia. The role of the Attaché was to assist Australia’s Ethiopia
Head of Mission ‘to represent the Australian Government on Defence matters’.
The position would also support ‘defence engagement initiatives across Africa
and support ADF operations in Africa when necessary’. Specific duties of the Defence
- Assisting the
development and implementation of co-operative Defence activities in Africa …
- Supporting Defence’s
Africa-based input to Australia’s whole-of-Government objectives in Africa …
- Identifying and
advising Defence on future operations for engagement in Africa which are
aligned with Australia’s national interests.
- Advising on possible
and current Australian contributions to UN and AU peace operations in Africa …
in close consultation with Defence representatives in Australia’s UN New York
Defence’s interests in Australia’s broader contribution to enhancing peace and
security in Africa. Including by representing Defence at international
counter-piracy meetings …
- Liaising, as
necessary, with Defence and other foreign representatives accredited to African
countries and the AU.
Australia has a long and proud history of involvement in peacekeeping operations
on the African continent. This reflects our long record of support for UN
peacekeeping operations around the world since 1947.
Since 1960 Australia has contributed ADF and AFP personnel to 14 separate
peacekeeping operations in Africa (not including the Middle East or Persian
The Committee notes the report of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence
and Trade Committee, Australia's involvement in peacekeeping operations, tabled
in August 2008. Table 7.1 includes information provided in that report.
The initial contribution in 1960–61 consisted of a small medical team as
part of the UN Operation in the Congo. Since then we have participated in some
of the most difficult and dangerous operations. For instance, in the period
1992 to 1994 over 1100 Australians were involved in peacekeeping and
humanitarian operations in Somalia. In 1994–95, 300 troops and medical
personnel were involved in the UN Assistance Mission to Rwanda.
Australia maintains a small but significant presence in peacekeeping
forces in Africa. In its submission, Defence advised the Committee that it had:
… committed to contributing 15 personnel to the UN Mission in
the Sudan and nine personnel to the UN and African Union Mission in Darfur.
Defence also currently has four personnel seconded to the UN DPKO, including
the lead planner for operations in Africa and an officer supporting maritime
counter-piracy planning off the Horn of Africa.
Table 7.1 Australian participation in multinational
peacekeeping operations in Africa
Name of operation
Dates of Australian involvement
UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC)
Commonwealth Military Training Team—Uganda (CMTTU)
UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG)
United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western
UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I)
Unified Task Force (UNITAF)
UN Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II)
UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)
UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ)
UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE)
International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT)
UN Mission in the Sudan
UN-AU Mission in Darfur
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO)
Horn of Africa
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee and Defence,
Submission Nos 30, 120.
The Defence Annual Report 2008-09 stated that at the time of
publication there were two members of the ADF serving as UN Headquarters staff
or specialist officers in Operation Hedgerow, the ADF’s contribution to the
joint African Union/United Nations hybrid Mission in Darfur (Sudan).
Defence advised the Committee that problems with visa approvals for ADF
personnel committed to the Darfur operation had prevented them being deployed.
Defence stated that this was an ‘ongoing’ problem; that the deployment ‘is still
subject to those problems’; and that other nations committed to the Darfur
peacekeeping operation faced a similar predicament.
Much of Australia's other involvement in peacekeeping consists in providing
technical and training support to peacekeeping operations. Australia is a
significant contributor, the twelfth highest, to the UN annual peacekeeping
budget. DFAT advised the Committee that ‘Australia’s assessed share of
contributions for UN peacekeeping missions is expected to be approximately
US$137 million for 2009-10’. Part of this was the $6
million in funding announced by the Foreign Minister in a speech of 26 January
2010: ‘$4 million ... over three years to the UN Peacebuilding Fund and $2
million to support peace building initiatives identified by the Peace Building
Commission, focusing on Burundi and Sierra Leone’.
A further aspect lies in the training Australia provides to African
security personnel to support their involvement in peacekeeping operations,
which forms a significant part of Australia's commitment to Africa.
Two main types of training are provided by Australia to security
personnel from African countries. These consist of training on peacekeeping
functions and more technical, more ‘traditional’, training provided from
Australian agencies, such as Defence and AFP, to their counterparts in those
countries. Australia offers this training through both bilateral and
multilateral relationships. Because Australian security agencies are involved
in training for peacekeeping functions, these two strands often overlap.
In relation to its multilateral relationships, Defence advised the
Committee that Australia will:
… continue to focus on building African peacekeeping
capability through the AU and UN, providing capacity building assistance to
strengthen African law enforcement agencies and assisting with governance and
security issues which could reduce the drivers of terrorism. Given the security
and development challenges faced by African countries, many facets of the UN’s
agenda are of interest and relevance to African countries, including
disarmament and international security, climate change, food security,
humanitarian assistance and the responsibility to protect. Australia is an
active contributor to all of these debates.
Further multilateral training and professional development efforts were
applied through Australia's support of conferences and similar activities.
Defence told the Committee that it had hosted a ‘drafting workshop’ to draft
‘guidelines on the protection of civilians for AU [African Union] peacekeeping
operations’ in Australia at the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of
Excellence in 2008. This was the precursor to an ‘International Symposium on
the Protection of Civilians in Conflict Zones’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in
March 2010, which Australia supported and co-hosted with the AU.
Australia was represented at the Symposium. The Parliamentary Secretary
for Defence Support, the Hon. Dr Mike Kelly MP attended, together with an
Australian delegation which included representatives of a number of Australian
agencies and organisations.,
Training offered under bilateral arrangements is largely managed under
the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP). Until 2009, the program was focused on
the Asia-Pacific region. Defence told the Committee that offers to African
countries began to be made under the DCP in 2009 in response to the
government's new policy on Africa, with six positions offered in that year,
with another 11 offered in 2010 to members of security agencies from Botswana,
Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. All of these courses were related to peacekeeping,
rather than conventional military, operations.
Defence added that, at the time of its submission, two of those training
positions offered had been taken up, and one of the proposed courses for 2010
had run, with ‘100%’ take-up from contingents from Botswana and Ethiopia.
Acceptance of offers continued to be an issue for Defence:
… we do make offers. We hope that they are taken up;
sometimes they are not. It is an issue that is pertinent not just to Africa but
also across the range of the Defence Cooperation Program. Bear in mind that
some of the offers are for courses earlier in the year and some are for later
courses, so for some of them we do not expect to have a firm indication of
take-up until further into the calendar year.
In specific terms, Defence advised the Committee that:
So far for 2010, with respect to the AU we have one position
offered on two separate courses; that is at the offer stage with no indication
of acceptance as yet. With Botswana there are three positions offered. One has
been taken up and the course attended; two are outstanding and for courses
further into the year. With Ethiopia one position has been offered and the course
attended; there is one outstanding. With Kenya there are two offers with
outstanding responses to courses yet to be delivered. With Uganda there are two
offers and both are outstanding so far.
Defence reported, however, that there had been a good level of ‘dialogue
The Vice-Chief of the Defence Force visited Ethiopia and
Kenya recently - Ethiopia for the protection of civilians seminar, which was
referred to in the submission, and Kenya for discussions with the Kenyans. We
have had recent visits from the Ugandan defence force as well as the National
Defence College of Kenya, late last year, and of course the President of
Botswana, a former commander of their armed forces, was here earlier this year.
The AFP also told the Committee of its training engagement with African
countries. This presented some dilemmas for the AFP, in that it is ‘not able to
actually work within [a] country [where] there is no platform of basic law and
order that exists and a credible police force that we are able to support and
assist in their development’.
As a result, the approach the AFP has taken has been to:
… make sure that we touch as many countries in the African
group that we can ensuring that we provide a level of support that is
appropriate to that particular country at the time in their progression around
law and order capability. Some countries are more receptive than others...
Landmine clearing operations
AusAID advised the Committee that Australia provided funding toward mine
clearance in post-conflict countries, to a total of $175 million since 1997.
AusAID’s engagement in
reducing the threat and impact of landmines and other explosive remnants of war
is guided by the new $100 million Mine Action Strategy for the Australian aid
program 2010-2014. A component of this may be used to support affected
countries in Africa.
While in Ethiopia, the Committee Delegation visited the Ethiopian Mine
Action Office (EMAO) Training Centre near Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia is one of the most heavily landmine contaminated countries in
the world as a result of four wars and internal conflict.
An Ethiopian landmine impact survey completed in 2004 estimated that landmines
and unexploded ordnance afflicted more than 1.9 million people in 1492
communities covering 1916 ‘suspected hazardous areas’.
Between 2002 and 2004 there were 1295 victims of landmine accidents
including 558 fatalities. Two thirds of the victims were engaged in herding and
farming when the incident occurred.
Between 2001 and 2011 a total of US$80 million has been spent on the
landmine clearing program, including $1 million
provided by Australia in 2010-11 through the UN Development Program.
The EMAO told the Delegation that it was due to complete landmine
clearing activities in Ethiopia in 2013, whereupon it would continue to provide
landmine action training to other countries in Africa and to UN peacekeeping
missions. As well, it would provide explosive detection dog support to the UN
Economic Commission for Africa and other African countries. Landmine training
had been provided to a group from Southern Sudan, and groups from the Congo,
Northern Sudan and Uganda had requested training.
During its visit, the Delegation met with the team from Southern Sudan,
and saw landmine detection dogs being trained using a variety of methods, and
dogs destined for security work being put through their paces.
Crime and security
Australia's interest in crime prevention in Africa
As for Defence matters, the Committee considers that it is pertinent to
consider the rationale for Australia's involvement in crime and security
matters in Africa.
The AFP told the Committee that, as in other areas, the situation in
African countries regarding crime and security is diverse. African law
enforcement agencies face a range of challenges, ‘from establishing basic rule
of law principles in countries such as the Sudan’ to ‘creating an accountable
police force in areas where corruption is an issue and governance needs to be
strengthened’. It was noteworthy that these problems were ‘exacerbated by
organised criminal syndicates which rely on weakened state structures to create
havens for illicit activity’.
The AFP also told the Committee that, from a ‘law-enforcement
… growing levels of foreign investment, rapid economic
expansion, corruption and weak governance are just some of the factors that
continue to facilitate a broad range of criminal activity in Africa.
The AFP told the Committee that crime and security problems in African
countries, created or made worse by these developments, were directly
significant to Australia:
Australia is not immune to the transnational criminal
activity originating from the African based criminal networks. Drug
trafficking, technology based fraud, money laundering, human trafficking and
child sex offences are perpetuated in African countries where Western
law-enforcement agencies have very limited ability to bring the perpetrators to
In particular, technology-based fraud originating in Africa had
significantly increased ‘in recent years’, and the AFP were responding to this
from ‘a global context’ by creating units where intelligence - such as that on
credit-card ‘skimming’ - can be fused with other data to provide the basis for
a coordinated response to control such activity.
Domestic security agencies faced important challenges in dealing with
these issues in Africa, where ‘African law-enforcement counterparts are
hampered by political issues, limited resources and management capacity
restraints’. As a result, the AFP:
... includes African nations in its Management of Serious
Crime program, Interagency Integrity Investigations program and leadership
training currently being provided to the Ugandan police through the Australian
Institute of Police Management. The Australian Federal Police is also providing
nearly $5 million over four years to aid forensic science development within
key African nations and African law-enforcement agencies with the aim of
enhancing their capacity to manage transnational crime investigations.
The AFP also noted that it had participated in a conference in South
Africa regarding drug precursors (chemicals that are used to manufacture
illegal drugs). This was consistent with priorities identified by the AFP in
connection with African countries: ‘to build capacity across the
law-enforcement spectrum of African nations to tackle issues such as narcotic
trafficking, money laundering, fraud and terrorism’.
Australia makes a number of financial and training contributions to the
police aspects of security in African countries. In relation to activities on
crime, DFAT advised the Committee that:
The Australian Government has allocated $17.5 million over four
years to help strengthen African law enforcement agencies, with a particular
focus on combating transnational crime and countering terrorism. The program
began in 2009-10 and is being implemented by the Attorney-General's Department,
AFP and the Australian Transaction Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
DFAT also advised the Committee that:
The Attorney-General’s Department received $4.5 million over
four years in the 2009-10 Budget to assist African countries develop or
strengthen legal frameworks relating to terrorism, transnational crime and
international legal cooperation. The Attorney-General’s Department will offer
training, legislative assistance and advice to African countries to assist with
implementing international obligations, developing legislative frameworks and
strengthening international legal cooperation frameworks in these areas.
Programs of assistance will be developed in partnership with African countries
and tailored to meet their specific requirements and priorities.
In addition, AUSTRAC ‘has been granted $8.1 million’, to ‘provide
technical assistance and training in anti-money laundering and to develop
financial intelligence unit capacity in up to nine African countries each
year’. In particular, ‘Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania
and Zambia [had] been identified as priority countries to receive assistance
for the 2009-2010 financial year’.
Under a further set of arrangements the AFP ‘will receive $4.8 million
to aid the development of forensic science in Africa’, and as ‘part of the
program, 14 African countries have been invited to participate in laboratory
management training to be held in 2010 under the auspices of the Southern
African Regional Forensic Science Network’.
The Somali coast is currently the major centre of piracy activity in
Africa exacerbated by the increasing lawlessness in that country.
In April 2009, the Office of the Inspector of Transport Security
released a report titled, International Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea.
The report commented that since the 1990s the modus operandi of pirates had
become 'hijack and ransom'. They had become more audacious in attacking
international shipping and even ventured over 1000 nautical miles offshore.
Ransoms amounting to millions of dollars had been sought and paid.
Naval military responses included the creation of the European Naval
Force, the US-led Combined Maritime Force, and the presence of NATO and
warships of other nations which protected their own flagged shipping.
The report commented that the shipping industry had been reluctant to
increase its own security because of the low risk of an actual ship being
hijacked—estimated to be less than 0.1 per cent, the cost of providing on-board
security, and an absence of insurance incentives.
The land based response arose from a meeting convened by the
International Maritime Organisation in January 2009 which led to the Djibouti
Agreement. This resulted in a Code
of Conduct to which 17 of the 21 eligible states are now signatories.
The signatories agreed 'to receive, prosecute and imprison persons convicted of
piracy.' The Djibouti Agreement is supported by the United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime Counter-Piracy Programme.
Defence advised that it:
… currently cross-tasks a frigate and a portion of our AP-3C
maritime patrol aircraft in the Middle East Area of Operations to counter
piracy. Defence recently deployed an officer to the UN Department of
Peacekeeping Operations as a maritime counter-piracy planner. Defence
participates in the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which
aims to address legal issues, coordinate operational commitments and promote
regional capability development.
The AFP advised the Committee that it maintains an international network
of liaison posts, comprising ‘just over 93 liaison officers operating around
the world at this time, in over 30 countries’. Siting of liaison posts was
‘very dependent on the criminal activity that we are dealing with in relation
to those specific countries’. Since 2003, the AFP has maintained a sole liaison
post for the whole of Africa, situated in Pretoria, South Africa. As a result,
the AFP relies ‘very heavily’ on interrelationships with components of the
police forces of other countries, such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency in
the United Kingdom.
The Committee has already noted links between defence and security
breaches and failed states, and the opportunities these may provide for the
growth of terrorism. This in turn can directly threaten Australia's security.
This is particularly important in view of Africa's emergence as a
supplier of uranium. DFAT advised the Committee that:
Uranium mining and exploration activity in Africa has
increased in recent years, and Africa is likely to become a major uranium
producer and exporter over the coming decade for the world’s civil nuclear
power industry. It will be important that effective nuclear safeguards,
physical protection, and export control measures are applied to this developing
In addition, the record of African nations signing international
safeguards agreements is far from comprehensive:
Seventeen African countries have not yet concluded a
comprehensive safeguards agreement (CSA) with the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA), as is required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 32 have
not concluded the IAEA’s Additional Protocol on strengthened safeguards, and 19
have not concluded the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear
It is ‘likely that for many of these states the reason for not
concluding these key safeguards agreements is unfamiliarity and/or insufficient
resources to devote to preparing for implementation’. The ‘record on safeguards
and CPPNM adherence is better, however, for the four states in Africa which are
currently producing uranium (Malawi, Namibia, Niger and South Africa)’.
Within these mixed conditions, Australia is making efforts toward a more
consistent regime. DFAT commented:
DFAT, including the Australian Safeguards and
Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), has begun placing more nuclear safeguards and
security outreach focus on Africa and is exploring ideas for further
engagement, particularly focusing on current and prospective uranium mining
states in Africa.
In addition, Australia has hosted conference 'side events' on this issue
at international meetings; is seeking further cooperation between the relevant
Australian and South African agencies; and is planning, through ASNO, further
means of applying its ASNO's ‘outreach and training experience’, hitherto
mostly in Asia, to Africa.
As for many of Australia's involvements and interventions in Africa, its
involvement in the security of African nations is characterised by small
numbers of personnel directly involved, combined with commitments on financial
assistance and training. This requires careful identification and planning to
allow these limited interventions to achieve the maximum benefit for the
Consistent with this approach, Defence told the Committee that:
… the Defence white paper provides us with very clear
guidance as to our engagement with Africa. It is modest and limited. We believe
that we can make a contribution in the area of international peace and
security, primarily by providing niche contributions to UN peacekeeping
operations and also through training support to help develop and improve the
capacity of African forces, be they those of individual countries or the
regional forces that are emerging across the continent, to carry out
peacekeeping operations themselves.
Similarly, the AFP told the Committee:
Our capability is quite small to deal with the African area.
There is an alliance of a number of law enforcement agencies in Western
countries to try and strengthen where we actually have the greatest level of
influence. We will work in conjunction with the United Kingdom, and in fact we
are at this point in time in relation to a matter that potentially has foreign
bribery implications, and we undertake joint investigations where those
countries might be better off identifying and investigating a matter where
there is dual interest.
Australia's approach to its Defence and Security engagement with African
nations is consistent with its status as an interested middle-power. As stated
in the National Security Statement of 2008, this approach is characterised by
cooperative relationships between Australian government agencies—Defence, AFP,
DFAT, Attorney-General's Department—and with other countries in Africa and
elsewhere. This gives Australia the best possible chance of delivering value
for the resources invested in these activities.
It is clear that there has been a significant change in Australia's
security relationship with Africa in recent years. Although the wider stage has
been set in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 2001, Australia's
specific interests have been put in train by policy changes of the new
government in 2008. This, and the two-year period since the inception of these
changes, makes it appropriate, therefore, to now consider Australia's overall approach.
For defence and security, the small numbers of our standing armed
forces, and federal police, in proportion to the scale of the problems and
number of African countries, in part determines the nature and scale of
Australia's commitment. It appears that within those constraints, Australia has
developed an effective doctrine, which combines funding, training, technical
support and peace-keeping. This is likely to improve its relations with African
countries, and help contain risks that could conceivably affect Australia if
they were left unattended.
The Committee welcomes the forward-thinking and risk-management-based
approaches on terror, crime and defence that are evident in the current
approach. This appears to be a prudent line of activity which, again, seeks to
prevent rather than respond to crises after they occur.
It is in Australia's interests to be and be seen to be a good global citizen.
It is possible for Australia's policy to be based on its ‘interest‘ as well as
on a commitment to an ‘international rules-based order’.
It would seem, however, that Australia’s wish to present a credible face
in Africa would be well-served by including a specific reference to the
doctrine of responsible sovereignty within Defence policy. Relying solely on ‘Australia's
interests’ arguments could run the risk of being perceived as neo-colonial in
intent. A rules-based approach, combined with the very considerable natural
resources investments and expertise underlined by principles of corporate
social responsibility brought to bear in Africa by Australian companies, would
be a good way to present Australia within the continent of Africa, and would
distinguish it both from past actions by Western countries and, in some cases,
contemporary involvements in the African resource sector.
Finally, as Australia's engagement with the continent increases, all
facets of that engagement such as, aid, trade and investment, defence and
security, should be included within an overall strategy.
Security in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has become Australia's largest bilateral aid program in Africa.
Of prime concern, therefore, is the political stability and security of that
country because it impacts on the long-term effectiveness of aid programs.
Mr Sibraa, a former High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, described the
beginnings of repression by the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
… the nineties were good times. Zimbabwe was a food exporter
and tourism was booming—two Qantas flights a week, sometimes three … we were
selling agricultural equipment. There were trade missions … It was positive.
Things started to go bad in 1999. It held a referendum to change its
constitution. … To the shock of the ruling party and Mugabe that constitutional
vote was defeated. That is when the repression started.
They were particularly unlucky in that Parliamentary
elections followed just after in 2000. There is no doubt in my mind that if the
referendum had come after the parliamentary elections, the MDC [Movement for
Democratic Change]—the opposition—would have won those elections. … as a result
of the referendum, the ruling party was able to see how people had voted and in
which particular areas and they were earmarked for repression.
The politically motivated violence led to the imposition of targeted
sanctions in 2002 by Australia, the European Union (EU) and the US. Australia's
- Restrictions on
financial transactions involving members or supporters of the Mugabe regime,
including senior management officials of state owned companies …
- Restrictions on visas
to travel to Australia [by these people]
- Screening of all
student visa applications from Zimbabwe to identify [those from] adult children
of Zimbabwean individuals subject to Australian travel and financial sanctions
- Prohibition of
- Restrictions on
exports of arms and related materiel …
- Downgrading of
government-to-government contacts at multilateral forums
- Downgrading of
Similar sanctions are imposed by the EU and US.
The Zimbabwe economy collapsed. Mr Sibraa continued:
Negative growth rates over 12 years; inflation of 230 million
per cent; farms were being grabbed; Mugabe gave in to ridiculous wage claims by
the so-called war veterans; and the economy started to go down the drain.
When the Committee Delegation visited Zimbabwe clear signs of a
collapsed economy were evident—poorly maintained buildings; potholed roads; and
partially completed residential buildings (building is a start stop process, proceeding
when enough cash has been saved and ceasing when it is used up).
Following elections in 2008 the opposition MDC and ZANU- PF reached an
agreement, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), to establish an Inclusive Government.
The GPA included Articles which provided for a re-drafting of the Zimbabwe
Constitution, a sharing of power in an Inclusive Government, and an agreement
whereby the parties to the agreement agreed:
- to promote the values
and practices of tolerance, respect, non- violence and dialogue as means of
resolving political differences;
- to renounce and
desist from the promotion and use of violence, under whatever name called, as a
means of attaining political ends;
- that the Government
shall apply the laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing all
perpetrators of politically motivated violence to book;
- that all political
parties, other organisations and their leaders shall commit themselves to do
everything to stop and prevent all forms of political violence, including by
non-State actors and shall consistently appeal to their members to desist from
- to take all measures
necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions they control are not
engaged in the perpetration of violence.
The GPA resulted in the Inclusive Government in which President Mugabe
'held on to security related ministries—defence, police, the judiciary and so
forth—with the MDC holding onto social service ministries'.
The Finance Ministry was allocated to the MDC under Mr Tendai Biti who stemmed
the rampant inflation in Zimbabwe by causing the adoption of the US dollar and
South African rand as the domestic currency.
Following the creation of the Inclusive Government, the economic
situation in Zimbabwe has improved:
Schools have reopened, supermarkets have opened and goods are
on the shelves. Foreign currency has taken the place of the Zimbabwean dollar.
The benefits of this improvement have largely flowed to the MDC:
So we have ultimately seen some improvements, but then those
are largely personality driven, on the character and strength of the
personalities involved. But ultimately the public perception is one of
confidence in the ministries which the MDC currently holds. … What has been
becoming quite evident is that in those particular ministries which have a
direct impact on the social well-being of ordinary Zimbabweans there have
really been significant changes. We have managed to contain the cholera crisis
… to provide textbooks to schools, including rural schools, and to get every
child back to school …
Unfortunately, President Mugabe has failed to adhere to the GPA by
making appointments to positions such as Reserve Bank governor, provincial
governors, certain ambassadors, and senior civil servants without consulting
the MDC. As well, the Indigenisation Act is being implemented again without
consultations with the MDC.
The reform of the Zimbabwe Constitution has also stalled due to lack of
funding and has been associated with coercion:
What was supposed to be just a basic outreach of asking
people what they would want to see in the Constitution ended up being the very
same sort of war build-up whereby villagers were being rounded up, forced into
camps with all through the night singing and being forced to recite ZANU-PF
talking points on constitutional reform.
Politically motivated repression continues, the International Crisis
Group recently commenting that:
… ZANU-PF's ability, in partnership with the unreformed
security sector leadership, … to thwart a democratic transfer of power remains
intact. The state media is still grotesquely unbalanced, and the criminal
justice system continues to be used as a weapon against ZANU-PF opponents …
An analysis of the violence in Zimbabwe concludes that in late 2010 and
early 2011 fierce rivalry between ZANU-PF supporters and those of the MDC party
aligned to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been centred on several Harare
There has been no single cause of violence. The clashes have
centred on territorial turf: access to local market infrastructure, such as
stalls, land for urban agriculture, and location of infrastructure such as
party offices. Other triggers have included wearing of party dress, T-shirts,
caps and so on. In most clashes, the youth form the major force with their
party patrons lurking in the background. Increasingly, the violence has spread
to rural areas.
As a consequence of ongoing violence, sanctions have remained and
eventually SADC, the guarantor of the GPA, expressed its frustration in a
communiqué issued on 31 March 2011. It included the following:
- there must be an
immediate end to violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other
form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of GPA;
- all stakeholders to
the GPA should implement all the provisions of the GPA and create a conducive
environment for peace, security, and free political activity;
- the Inclusive
Government in Zimbabwe should complete all the steps necessary for the holding
of the election including the finalisation of the constitutional amendment and
- The communiqué added that SADC should assist Zimbabwe in formulating
guidelines for holding a peaceful free and fair election and that a team of
officials would be created 'to ensure monitoring, evaluation and implementation
of the GPA.'
Since that time, SADC has been in negotiations with ZANU-PF and the MDC
which resulted in a report of progress by South African Ambassador Ms Lindiwe
Zulu. A 'road map' towards free and fair elections had been produced, but with
some outstanding issues remaining. The most difficult issues concerned the
mostly pro-ZANU-PF security forces and details in the election laws. Also there
was concern about the succession law should President Mugabe die or retire
before adoption of a new constitution.
The lifting of targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe is unlikely to occur until
tangible progress has been made. When the Committee Delegation raised this
issue with Zimbabwean politicians and NGOs it found there was not a unified
view regarding the effect of sanctions or whether or when they should be eased.
It must be noted that sanctions are a
double edged sword. That is, they can be used to encourage reform and
highlight international opposition to the actions of a repressive regime.
However, they can also be used by such a regime to divert responsibility for
problems the country is facing. As such, the Committee believes that
sanctions should be subject to ongoing review with respect to Zimbabwe and
should take into account changing circumstances on the ground.
It is encouraging that SADC’s increased engagement appears to be having
an influence in creating a roadmap for settlement of issues and fulfilment of
the GPA. The long-term outlook for change may be positive if only because the
ZANU-PF leadership is ageing:
… the median age of people in leadership in ZANU-PF, for
example, is about 70. Mugabe himself is ranging towards 87. That is his
Indeed, there appears to be fracturing within ZANU-PF. The Speaker of
Parliament, Lovemore Moyo (MDC) was re-elected in a secret ballot in Parliament
with the assistance of votes from a small number of ZANU-PF members.
A disturbing view, however, has been put by Associate Professor Lloyd
Sachikonye, Institute of Development Studies, University of Zimbabwe, in his
book, When a State Turns on Its Citizens—60 Years of Institutionalised
Violence in Zimbabwe. His thesis is that:
Zimbabwean politics are embedded in a tradition and practice
of violence that began more than half a century ago … In Zimbabwean experience,
while violence was a decisive instrument in the attainment of independence, it
was also a major divisive force afterwards. It has remained a cancer that
corrodes the country's political culture and blocks its democratic advance.
It will take a monumental effort if the cycle of violence in Zimbabwe is
to be broken. This will require political good will on all sides.