Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) are a set of non-binding principles created to assist extractive companies to balance security concerns with human rights.  The VPs were launched in 2000 and are a tripartite multi-stakeholder initiative.  Participants include 7 states, 11 NGOs, 21 companies and 5 organizations with observer status (as of May 2012).

The VPs were developed in response to reports of human rights abuses allegedly committed by security providers contracted by the extractive industry.  The principles apply to interactions with both public and private security forces.  They are voluntary, but several companies, both participants and non-participants, have incorporated the VPs into their management systems and agreements with contractors.

The VPs include provisions on:

    • regular consultations between companies and host governments & local communities;
    • issues of proportionality and use of force;
    • improved company engagement for protection of human rights by their security contractors;
    • monitoring of progress of investigations into alleged abuses;
    • inclusion of appropriate provisions in contracts;
    • review of the background of private security that companies intend to employ.

 

Questions have been raised about lack of transparency, mainly because of the confidential nature of the dialogue on which the VPs are based.  There has also been concerns about the actual implementation of the principles and the participation criteria.  In 2009, the plenary adopted amended formal participation criteria and indicated a common understanding of the future direction of the VPs.  The changes include minimum requirements for participation, a dispute resolution process to raise concerns about the performance of a participant, clear accountability mechanisms, and some public reporting on implementation, or support of implementation, of the VPs.

The VPs plenary also welcomed greater focus on local implementation through “in-country processes” - multi-stakeholder forums to support implementation and integration of the VPs at a country level.  Countries mentioned with respect to such processes include Colombia, Indonesia and Nigeria.  At the moment, only the Colombia case study is publicly available.

A selection of key reports on the VPs is accessible below.

For further reports & articles, see the Resource Centre’s general section on the Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights

Official website and principles

Voluntary Principles homepage

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

[Español] Principios Voluntarios de Seguridad y Derechos Humanos

[Français] Principes volontaires sur la sécurité et les droits de l’homme

Reports and commentaries

[Español]

[Français]

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

Story
4 May 2020
+ Español - Hide

El 3 de mayo de 2020, un grupo de exmilitares venezolanos, bajo el entrenamiento y dirección de la compañía de seguridad estadounidense Silvercorp USA, incursionó por vía marítima en las costas de Macuto, estado La Guaira, Venezuela. Su propósito era...

See full story

Story
9 March 2020
+ Español - Hide

Desde el año 2017, el Gobierno peruano favorece acuerdos de seguridad entre policía y mineras, desprotegiendo a comunidades en zonas estratégicas de explotación minera como el valle de Apurímac. Adicionalmente, las multinacionales desprestigian a...

See full story

Article
8 March 2020
+ Español - Hide

Author: Sputnik

“ONGs de Perú critican convenios de mineras con la Policía porque van contra indígenas” – 4 de marzo de 2020...

Read more

Story
4 July 2019

Tanzania: RAID report claims Acacia's grievance mechanism "disempowers victims"; includes company's response & RAID's rejoinder

In a recent letter to Acacia's Board, RAID claims that rather than providing relief and compensation, the company's grievance process disempowers victims and subjects them to a humiliating process. It permits the company to act as investigator, judge...

See full story

Article
1 July 2015

PMSC Bulletin Issue number 7 – 1 Jul 2015

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

PMSC Bulletin Issue number 7 – 1 Jul 2015: Private Military & Security Companies and their impacts on human rights: Recent developments...

Read more

Story
18 March 2015

Annual Plenary on Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights (17-18 Mar)

See full story

Article
13 March 2015

Control Risks highlights need to revisit Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights in light of new geopolitical realities

Author: William Daly of Control Risks, Forbes (USA)

'In Hostile Environments, A New Weapon: Ethics', 3 Mar 2015...

Read more

Article
30 September 2014

Blog assesses use of human rights indicators in monitoring operations of private security companies

Author: Irene Pietropaoli, co-Director Measuring Business & Human Rights and PhD candidate at the Law school of Middlesex University, London

Private security companies (PSCs) often operate in areas of conflict or weak governance...[G]overnments and industry representatives, sometimes with civil society’s participation, have developed several guidelines and codes of conduct that seek PSCs c...

Read more

Article
16 April 2013

Oxfam leaves Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights multi-stakeholder initiative

Author: Oxfam America

Oxfam America has announced that it will be leaving the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights...“Our decision stems in large part from our frustration at the lack of meaningful progress in independent assurance, despite more than ten years...

Read more

Article
25 January 2013

Security for oil & gas projects can’t ignore human rights

Author: Christine Bader (Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University), Al Jazeera Opinion

Security measures focused solely on 'lock and key' principles won't prevent further crises...The Voluntary Principles [on Security and Human Rights] spell out how companies should conduct risk assessments and interact with both public and private...

Read more