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UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries highlights the human rights impacts of the relationship between PMSCs and the extractive sector

Author: UN Human Rights Council (Geneva) , Published on: 9 September 2019

"Relationship between private military and security companies and the extractive industry from a human rights perspective. 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", 29 July 2019

In the present report, 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...focuses on the relationship between private military and security companies and the extractive industry from a human rights perspective. The extractive industry in fact constitutes an important client base for such companies, and has been associated with allegations of serious human rights abuses and violations for many years.

The Working Group sets out key considerations with respect to the context of the extractive industry in which private military and security companies operate. It examines their role alongside other security providers in complex and often opaque mixed security arrangements...

The Working Group then examines the most commonly reported human rights abuses and violations committed and facilitated by private military and security companies mandated by extractive clients. It analyses the factors relating to the lack of accountability and effective remedies for victims for such abuses and violations...

The Working Group is concerned at the lack of a clear, precise and legally defined role for each security actor operating in the extractive industry...The Working Group calls for transparency in security arrangements for extractive operations, given that the current opacity around them obstructs the identification of perpetrators and thus undermines efforts to achieve accountability and effective remedies for victims. The Working Group concludes the report with recommendations to assist States, the extractive industry, private military and security companies and other stakeholders to strengthen human rights protections in the delivery of security in the extractive sector. 

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