The ICoCA team embarked on a significant mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from October 22 to 27, led by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and in collaboration with two Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) – Justicia Asbl and Observatoire d’Etudes et d’Appui à la Responsabilité Sociale et Environnementale (OEARSE). This mission aimed to engage with key stakeholders in the extractive industries and promote responsible private security practices while addressing pertinent challenges.
ICoCA’s Engagement in Promoting Responsible Private Security Practices in the DRC’s Extractive Industries
ICoCA participated in the Working Group on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights for the Province of Haut-Katanga, and Lualaba, which serve as significant hubs for extractive companies in the DRC. This engagement facilitated direct interaction with both multinational and local extractive industries players, providing an ideal platform for the communication of the importance of responsible private security practices. During the mission, DCAF and ICoCA participated in extensive dialogues with extractive companies, focusing on the critical theme of private security best practices. The goal was to underscore the core principles and ethical considerations linked to the deployment of private security personnel in the extractives sector. A primary objective of these discussions was the identification and examination of the challenges confronting private security companies in the extractive industries. These challenges ranged from operational complexities to ensuring compliance with international standards and upholding human rights commitments. ICoCA prioritised the paramount significance of safeguarding human rights within the extractive sector. Conversations delved into how private security practices could potentially impact human rights, highlighting the need for a more conscientious approach to security operations.
Addressing Key Issues, Promoting Ethical Deployment, and Enhancing Collaboration
The mission stressed the urgency of promoting responsible private security practices, which encompasses adherence to international standards, transparency, accountability, and a firm commitment to respecting human rights. A particular emphasis was placed on the use of dogs in private security operations, ensuring that their deployment adheres to ethical and humane principles. Another foundational aspect of the mission involved clarifying the distinctions between private and public security and establishing their respective roles and responsibilities. This differentiation is critical for ensuring that private security companies operate within the bounds of the law while upholding human rights and ethical standards.
Last, ICoCA held confidential meetings with clients in the extractive industries to delve into the intricacies of private security procurement. These discussions were essential in addressing the specific concerns, expectations, and requirements of clients, fostering a comprehensive approach to responsible private security in the DRC.
ICoCA’s mission to the DRC provided a unique perspective on the benefits of in-country working groups and knowledge sharing within the framework of The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, highlighting their complementarity.