The International Code of Conduct made a formal submission to the UN Working Group on Mercenaries in response to a call for input on a report the Working Group is compiling on victims of mercenaries, mercenary related actors, and private military and security companies.

Key take-aways from the report include:

  • Risks exist across all sectors: While traditionally, the impact of potential human rights abuses by private security providers has been focused on the extractive, mining and oil and petroleum industries, the risks of abuses exist across all sectors which source private security, including agriculture, retail, corporate and humanitarian organisations.
  • The need for due diligence: There is a heightened risk of human rights abuses occurring where PSCs fail to exercise due diligence, for example not incorporating the Code into internal control and compliance systems. Similarly, an increase in human rights abuses occurs when the clients of PSCs do not exercise due diligence in ensuring that the companies they contract respect international standards and principles contained in the Code.
  • The need to empower CSOs with resources: ICoCA seeks to empower the work of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at the local level, to build their knowledge of the private security industry and increase their capacity for oversight. But CSOs require increased access to resources to expand their reach – work which directly impacts human rights and access to remedy for victims of abuses.
  • The role of prevention and protection: ICoCA develops guidance on pertinent issues to to ensure that PSCs and contractors of PSCs effectively prevent and mitigate adverse impacts on human rights. Recent Guidance on Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs), Guidelines for the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and recommendations on the management of weapons and ammunition are just three recent examples.
  • Promoting responsible procurement: ICoCA also produces guidance for clients of PSCs, most recently through the development of procurement guides for both commercial and humanitarian organisations to help them with human rights due diligence along their private security supply chain.
  • Remedy needs to be realisable: In instances where human rights abuses do occur, as highlighted in ICoCA’s Guidance for Developing and Operating Fair and Accessible Company Grievance Mechanisms (CGMs) that Offer Effective Remedy, the CGM needs to be accessible to victims and all third parties, with priority placed on protection of the complainant.

Read the submission.