Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Security: Cracking down on mercenaries

UN - The United Nations group of independent experts on the use of mercenaries says it will present a proposal for a possible international convention to regulate activities of private military and security firms during its five-day meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York this week.

The UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries will brief permanent missions at the UN, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academics on the content and scope of its proposal aimed at closing the legal gap covering such activities at the international level.

The Working Group has, since its creation in 2005, been monitoring the impact on human rights of the activities of mercenaries and private military and security companies (PMSC), and in particular their lack of accountability.

The independent experts, who serve in their personal capacities, are calling for more stringent regulations, oversight and monitoring of mercenaries and PMSC at both national and international levels.

The panel will report on the progress achieved in the elaboration of a possible draft legal instrument which will be considered by the Human Rights Council on 14 September. The Working Group will also make presentations to the General Assembly in September.

During the Group’s session this week, the experts will also prepare their missions to Equatorial Guinea, due to take place next month, and to South Africa later this year, as well as review recent allegations regarding the activities of mercenaries and PMSCs and their impact on human rights.

Shaista Shameem (Fiji), who is ending her term as chairperson/rapporteur of the Group on 31 July, will be attending the meeting for the last time. She will be replaced by Faiza Patel (Pakistan). Other members are Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia), José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain), Alexander Nikitin (Russia) and Najat al-Hajjaji (Libya).