UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries

 

The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries is a special mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, established in 2005 with the specific mandate to examine mercenaries, and mercenary-related activities.  The mandate includes the monitoring and study of the activities of private military and security companies and their impact on the enjoyment of all human rights.  The Working Group succeeded the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries, which had been in existence since 1987.

The Working Group is composed of five experts, each representing a world region.  This helps the Working Group to look at both sides of its mandate: human rights abuses allegedly committed by private security personnel in host countries, as well as human rights concerns related to security guards recruited in home countries.

The main areas of activity of the Working Group are:

  • country visits to monitor the activities of mercenaries and private military and security companies in all their forms and to identify emerging issues, manifestations and trends.  The Working Group completed eight country visits to Afghanistan, Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Honduras, Peru, UK and Ireland (as of June 2011).
  • elaboration of the elements of a possible new international conventionon the regulation of activities of private military and security companies, which are not addressed in the existing International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries.  For this purpose, the Working Group conducted consultations at the national and regional level with a wide variety of actors, including governments, civil society and the security industry.  In early 2010, the Working Group presented to UN member states the core elements of the proposed new convention and is expected to report back to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2010.
  • to receive individual communications and take appropriate action in the light of the information obtained.
  • elaboration of annual reports, studies, and articles.

For further reports & articles, see the Resource Centre’s general section on the UN Working Group on use of mercenaries

Website

UN Working Group independent website

Latest news, country visits reports, communications and other materials available at the UN Working Group website hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Reports, commentaries & events

UN Working Group on use of mercenaries calls for legally binding intl. agreement to regulate private military & security companies
Islands Business International, 5 Nov 2013

Panel: UN reliance on private military security companies growing, lacks transparency
Associated Press, 1 Aug 2013

[video] Mercenary Association Seeking UN Contracts Despite Human Rights Violations
Julie Lévesque, Global Research 01 Aug 2013

[video] Use of military contractors concerns many at UN, Press TV, 31 Jul 2013

Expert Panel Event on the Use of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) by the United Nations
UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, New York, 31 Jul 2013

UN Working Group on mercenaries to launch study on the use of private military and security companies by the UN
UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, 18 Mar 2013

Private military and security companies in Honduras need robust and effective monitoring, says UN expert group
UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, 25 Feb 2013

Private military and security companies in Somalia need regulation, says UN expert Group
UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, 18 Dec 2012

[PDF] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council resolution 2002 (2011) 
Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, 13 Jul 2012

[PDF] Sterling Corporate Services re allegations in Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group report
Stephen Heifetz, Steptoe (Counsel to Sterling Corporate Services), Jul 2012

[PDF] Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination
Faiza Patel, UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, 2 Jul 2012

Outsourcing to private security contractors threatens rights, UN panel warns
UN News Centre, 14 Sep 2011

Privatising security and war
José L Gómez del Prado, UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Mar 2011

Why private military and security companies should be regulated
José Luis Gómez del Prado, 3 Sep 2010

Mercenaries: United Nations experts final go at new international convention draft
United Nations, 9 Apr 2010

UN and Africa to discuss mercenaries and private military and security companies
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 25 Feb 2010

US must ensure that private contractors do not infringe rights – UN experts
UN News Centre, 3 Aug 2009

A Workshop with the UN Working Group on Mercenaries
International Peace Institute (IPI), Aug 2009

Mercenaries in the line of fire
Pamela Taylor, Human Rights Tribune, 9 Jun 2008

U.N.: Mercenary Industry Poses Problems for Latin America
Cyril Mychalejko, upsidedownworld.org, 26 Apr 2007

 

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