The Possibility of Colombian Private Security Reform
The ICoCA team was in Colombia from March 20-29th conducting a series of meetings and events and engaging various actors on the current challenges facing the private security sector.
As the new Colombian government has expressed interest in reforming the nation’s private security industry, ICoCA team members met with representatives from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior to explore the possibility of supporting the government in restructuring Colombia’s private security laws. In order to have a holistic understanding of potential reforms, ICoCA met with former top-level military, US Institute for Peace, and Open Society Foundations’ representatives, as they are similarly supporting Colombia throughout this process. ICoCA then met with high-level United Nations and US embassy representatives, as both actors are backing the Colombian government in this same regard.
Navigating Private Security Challenges Together
ICoCA also organised a meeting with Civil Society Organisations’ (CSO) representatives to address the different challenges and opportunities that exist for enhancing security provisions and promoting responsible security practises. During the meeting, team members discussed the recent findings of the Colombian Truth Commission and the possibility of implementing its recommendations for private security. Although the government has expressed its willingness to implement the Commission’s proposed changes, these recommendations have yet to be included in the governmental plan. The discussion then considered the legal accountability of companies and the possibility of legal reforms and different avenues of work for CSOs based in Colombia.
Additionally, ICoCA facilitated in-depth discussions with the private sector, meeting first with the Private Security Association “FedeSeguridad,” followed by several meetings with private security companies (PSCs), certification bodies, and clients of PSCs.
Inside the Zijin Continental Gold Mine
In order to develop a better understanding of clients’ need for private security, ICoCA visited Zijin Continental Gold, the country’s largest gold mining plant located in Buritica, Antioquia, Colombia. The company’s security team explained the various challenges they face when working to protect their operation, and the particular need for coordination between public forces (law enforcement and military), their contracted private security provider, and their in-house security team. According to Zijin Continental Gold, one of the largest security threats has been activity from an organised crime group operating within the mine.
ICoCA’s mission to Colombia helped to strengthen the Association’s relationships with local actors and fosterered collaboration on potential private security reforms. ICoCA looks forward to working closely with Colombian security companies and government officials as the conversation on reforms continues.