Security issues & conflict zones - an introduction

Below are select introductory materials on business and security issues.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the security issues & conflict zones section of our site.

Key international standards

Geneva conventions (1949)



Hague conventions (1899-1910)

UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials


Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials

Declaration on the Rules of international humanitarian law governing the conduct of hostilities in non-international armed conflicts

Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law

Key reports & guidance

Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights


Red Flags: Liability risks for companies operating in high-risk zones, Intl. Alert & Fafo Institute, 23 May 2008

The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, Swiss Initiative, in Cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, on Private Military and Security Companies, 17 September 2008


The Business of Peace: The private sector as a partner in conflict prevention and resolution, Jane Nelson/ Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum [now International Business Leaders Forum], International Alert, Council on Economic Priorities, 2000



Conflict-Sensitive Business Practice: Guidance for Extractive Industries, International Alert, March 2005


Local Business, Local Peace: The Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector, International Alert, 24 July 2006

Concerns, company responses & non-responses

The Resource Centre invites companies to respond to allegations of misconduct.  Below are examples of allegations and company responses regarding security issues and conflict zones.  We also indicate when a company has not responded.

Global: War on Want report alleges Anglo American "profits from abuse, murders", Aug 2007. Response from Anglo American.

Global: Amnesty Intl. calls on French banks to strengthen policies on anti-personnel mines & cluster munitions, Jan 2008. Response from Crédit Agricole, Natixis (joint venture Caisse d'Epargne & Groupe Banque Populaire), BNP Paribas. No response from Société Générale.

Burma: Social investors ask whether Toyota can maintain its investments in Burma "without supporting the military regime and its egregious abuses of human rights", Mar 2008. No response received from Toyota.

Colombia: Colombia Journal alleges continued paramilitary presence around Drummond mine & says the mine's social programmes do not offset its negative social and health impacts, Nov 2006. No response from Drummond.

Dem. Rep. of Congo: DanWatch report alleges mobile phones linked to metal mining abuses, August 2008. Responses from LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Umicore. No response received from LG Chem.

Iraq, Afghanistan: "Private Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunity", Human Rights First, Jan 2008.  Responses by Aegis, Blackwater, Crescent Security, KBR, Triple Canopy.  No response received from Custer Battles, Zapata Engineering.

Morocco/ Western Sahara: Western Sahara Watch says new reconnaissance contract with Moroccan state oil company increases risk of further armed conflict, Dec 2005 – Jan 2006. No response from Island Oil & Gas.

Mozambique: Security guards at Mafambisse sugar plantation, owned by Tongaat Hulett, accused of killing striking worker, Aug 2007. Response from Tongaat Hulett.

West Papua/ Indonesia: NY Times front-page report raises concerns about payments to Indonesian military, environmental impacts of Grasberg mine, Jan 2006. Response from Freeport-McMoRan.

Lawsuits regarding security issues & conflict zones

Lawsuits against companies over security issues & conflict zones (includes Blackwater re Iraq, BP re Colombia, Chevron re Nigeria, Chiquita re Colombia, Coca-Cola re Colombia, Drummond re Colombia, DynCorp lawsuit re Colombia & Ecuador, ExxonMobil re Aceh, Occidental re Colombia, Rio Tinto re Papua New Guinea, Shell re Nigeria, Talisman re Sudan)

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Related stories and components

25 September 2008

Largest Danish bank to clean up investments

Author: DanWatch

Danske Bank, today launched new ethical measures including a blacklist of 13 ‘negative companies’ and promises of a stronger commitment to Social Responsible Investment (SRI) and active ownership-engagement. Shares in the 13 companies on the Danske...

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24 January 2008

[PDF] Antipersonnel landmines and cluster bombs - Amnesty International denounces the investment policies of France’s leading banking institutions

Author: Amnesty International France

Amnesty International France (AIF) today publishes the results of its exchanges with France’s largest banking groups; these results reveal the absence of a public policy of non-investment in companies linked to the trade in antipersonnel landmines...

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14 November 2007

[DOC] Letter to Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho from Trillium Asset Management & Domini Social Investments regarding Toyota group investments in Burma

Author: Susan Baker Martin, Trillium Asset Management & Adam Kanzer, Domini Social Investments

We are writing to Toyota Motor Corporation because Toyota’s business ties to the military regime in Burma present a notable material risk to the reputation of the Toyota brand and long-term shareholder value... Toyota Motor Corporation’s trading...

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3 August 2007

Top UK firm 'profits from abuse, murders'

Author: War on Want

[Anglo American] is profiting from a pattern of global abuse and brutality against poor people, including the murder of opponents who say the firm’s mining operations threaten their livelihoods. In a new report War on Want cites the killing of...

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17 July 2007

Mozambique: One Dead in Strike At Sugar Plantation

Author: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique

One person died and three others were injured...when violent clashes broke the Mafambisse sugar plantation, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, after about 4,000 seasonal workers went on strike…The workers...accused the head of the...

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4 January 2007

[DOC] ABB statement regarding Sudan, 4 Jan 2007

Author: ABB

In view of a number of political, legislative and economic factors ABB has decided to suspend its business activities in Sudan for the time being. We have been monitoring political and economic developments for some time. We will resume business once...

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13 December 2006

[DOC] Regarding the involvement of Island Oil & Gas in occupied Western Sahara

Author: Western Sahara Watch

[We invited Island Oil & Gas to provide a public response - they declined to do so]...

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2 October 2006

Drummond Generates Profits and Misery in Colombia

Author: Garry Leech, Colombia Journal Online

In March 2001, a right-wing paramilitary death squad…[killed] the president and vice-president of the local chapter of the Colombian union Sintramienergetica, which represents the [Drummond’s] mine’s workers…In 2002, a suit was filed in U.S. Federal...

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20 April 2006

Detention centres meet NGO demands [Australia]

Author: Brotherhood of St Laurence [Australia]

Five non-government organisations (NGOs) have announced their success today in encouraging British-owned [GSL Australia (part of GSL)], which runs Australia’s immigration detention centres, to implement significant changes to ensure they operate under...

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27 December 2005

The Cost of Gold - The Hidden Payroll - Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste [Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg mine in West Papua]

Author: Jane Perlez & Raymond Bonner, New York Times

Company records obtained by The [New York] Times show that from 1998 through 2004, Freeport gave military and police generals, colonels, majors and captains, and military units, nearly $20 million...Freeport said in a written response to The Times that...

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