The Association has completed its first Field-Based Review in Ghana. During the week spent in Accra and Tema, the ICoCA team had the opportunity to engage with a range of stakeholders involved in the private security industry, including Member security companies, Government authorities, high ranking Diplomats, security associations, corporate clients and local civil society organisations.
With over 240 land and maritime private security organisations in good standing with the Ministry of Interior, and with potentially many more operating in Ghana according to a recent UN Working Group report, the private security industry is a growth sector in Ghana. It has also the potential of being rendered more complex with the discovery of major offshore oil fields over the last ten years and the concerns generated by the spread of illegal mining (‘galamsey’) in parts of the country.
A number of overlapping initiatives are underway to strengthen the regulation and accountability of private security companies in Ghana. For its part, the ICoCA, through direct engagement with Members and other security companies in their operating environments and with key local civil society organisations, is developing a pragmatic and tailored approach to address human rights concerns related to the activities of private security providers. Areas of focus for the ICoCA include selection and vetting of personnel and subcontractors, safeguarding vulnerable persons, the protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, and training of personnel.
During its time in Ghana, the ICoCA team also reached out to numerous clients of private security companies to build awareness of the Association’s ongoing efforts to raise security standards and compliance with the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. From an ICoCA perspective, engaging with clients is particularly important as the exercise of appropriate due diligence when contracting private security companies is one of the key factors to maintaining minimum security standards and reducing the risk of human rights abuses occurring.
The Ghana Field-Based Review builds on the ICoCA missions carried out in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Iraq in the course of 2016 and 2017.