ENGAGING THE DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICES (DIGESSP) IN GUATEMALA

On 24 June 2021, in cooperation with its partner Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and CSO Member Instituto de Enseñanza para el Desarrollo Sostenible (IEPADES), staff from the ICoCA Secretariat conducted an information session for the Dirección General de Servicios de Seguridad Privada (DIGESSP). DIGESSP is the institution responsible for regulating, licensing and overseeing the provision of private security services in Guatemala. The role of DIGESSP is to ensure that such provision by both companies and individuals is compliant with the Guatemalan Constitution and applicable national and international law.

The information session was organised following an expression of interest by DIGESSP to learn more about the existing international best practices in the area of private security, and was facilitated by the UK and Swiss embassies in Guatemala. ICoCA presented on the history and content of the International Code of Conduct, the functions and mission of the Association, and the work it carries out with a variety of stakeholders to ensure the responsible provision of private security services. During the presentation, ICoCA underscored that the International Code of Conduct is an important tool for companies offering private security services in both complex and non-complex environments, that additional due diligence is needed in the contracting practices of private security clients, and that contracting ICoCA Member and Affiliate companies brings added value in terms of assurances regarding company compliance with human rights and humanitarian law principles. The information session offered an opportunity to senior personnel and trainers of DIGESSP to get up to speed with the characteristics and human rights challenges associated with private security in Guatemala and the broader region, as well as the international tools available to address these challenges.

The session was well received by participants and the opportunity for follow-up sessions with private security companies is currently being discussed between DIGESSP and the organisers. ICoCA wishes to thank DIGESSP for the interest expressed in the Code and the Association, DCAF and IEPADES for their contribution, and the embassies of the UK and Switzerland in Guatemala for the support provided.

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