Academic paper on human rights and intl. humanitarian law implications of the use of private military & security companies in the “war on drugs” in Mexico and Colombia

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Article
1 October 2013

[PDF] Privatization of the War on Drugs in Mexico and Colombia: Limiting the Application of Humanitarian Law and Endangering Human Rights

Author: Antoine Perret, European University Institute (Italy)

The use of Private Military and Security Companies…in the so-called War on Drugs has considerable implications for the application of international humanitarian law and raises concern about the respect for human rights under antidrug assistance programs. [The] lack of state control over PMSC activities poses a major challenge for human rights protections in the short-term…Every year, more…[PMSCs] are contracted…to provide intelligence, logistical support, and training and/or support to local armed forces…The concern over human rights violations is particularly acute in Colombia because all U.S. personnel (including contractors) working…[there] have been granted immunity from Colombian jurisdiction…The situation in Mexico demonstrates some significant parallels with Colombia, as well as some important differences. As in Colombia, a substantial proportion of PMSC activity…takes place through an antidrug trafficking agreement…under which several PMSCs have been hired to train local forces…In theory U.S. PMSCs should not participate in hostilities…[but an] example of a U.S. PMSCs’ de facto participation in the conflict, despite a de jure prohibition…is shown by the activities of DynCorp…

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Article
1 October 2013

[PDF] Privatization without regulation: the human rights risks of private military and security companies (PMSCS) in Mexico

Author: Antoine Perret, European University Institute (Italy)

…[Increased] violence and insecurity in Mexico has made the nation an attractive market for PMSCs…[The] privatization of security has functioned…[through] two main private security categories —domestic and multinational PMSCs— who work for either private clients or the United States (US) and/or Mexican governments under the Merida Initiative…Mexican law attempts to regulate the industry, [but in] light of evidence suggesting that domestic and multinational PMSCs do not respect Mexican law, it appears that most of the private security market in Mexico fails to be a “force multiplier”…[The] presence of a non-state actor authorized to use force and not controlled adequately add greater complexity to an already complicated human rights situation…The National Private Security Council…estimates that up to ten thousand unregulated private security firms operate in the country, meaning that up to 600,000 guards fall outside the legal framework. In fact, there are more PMSCs and PMSC employees working outside of the law than those working within its framework…

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