Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Press Conference by Working Group on Mercenaries

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York  November 1, 2011

Faiza Patel, Chair of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, told correspondents today about the Working Group’s visits to Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Iraq.

During a press conference at Headquarters, Ms. Patel explained that the Working Group, which consists of five independent experts, covered the activities of mercenaries, as well as those of private military and security companies. Yesterday, she had presented the Working Group’s report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural). She said the Working Group had visited Equatorial Guinea and South Africa in 2010 and Iraq in 2011. (See Press Release GA/SHC/4023.)

Equatorial Guinea had been the site of a coup by mercenaries in 2004, many of whom had come from South Africa, she said, which had led to prosecutions in Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Government of Equatorial Guinea had also alleged an attempted coup in 2009. The Working Group had been unable to verify those claims, but found that that there were credible reports that those arrested had been tortured and were denied fundamental due process rights in their trials. Four convicted persons were summarily executed one day after the Working Group left.

Please read the entire press release here

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Mercenaries, United Nations | , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond WikiLeaks: The Privatization of War

by: Jose L. Gomez del Prado, UN Working Group on Mercenaries, t r u t h o u t | Report

The United Nation Human Rights Council, under the Universal Periodic Review, started in Geneva on November 5, 2010 to review the human rights record of the United States. The following is an edited version of the presentation given by Jose L. Gomez del Prado in Geneva on November 3, 2010 at a parallel meeting at the UN Palais des Nations on that occasion.

Private military and security companies (PMSC) are the modern reincarnation of a long lineage of private providers of physical force: corsairs, privateers and mercenaries. Mercenaries, which had practically disappeared during the 19th and 20th centuries, reappeared in the 1960s during the decolonization period, operating mainly in Africa and Asia. Under the United Nations, a convention was adopted which outlaws and criminalizes their activities. Additionally, Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions also contains a definition of mercenary.

These non-state entities of the 21st century operate in extremely blurred situations, where the frontiers are difficult to separate. The new security industry of private companies moves large quantities of weapons and military equipment. It provides services for military operations, recruiting former military as civilians to carry out passive or defensive security.

However, these individuals cannot be considered civilians, given that they often carry and use weapons, interrogate prisoners, load bombs, drive military trucks and fulfill other essential military functions. Those who are armed can easily switch from a passive-defensive to an active-offensive role and can commit human rights violations and even destabilize governments. They cannot be considered soldiers or supporting militias under international humanitarian law, either, since they are not part of the army or in the armed forces chain of command, and often belong to a large number of different nationalities.

PMSC personnel cannot usually be considered to be mercenaries, for the definition of mercenaries as stipulated in the international conventions dealing with this issue does not generally apply to the personnel of PMSCs, which are legally operating in foreign countries under contracts of legally registered companies.

Please read the entire Report here

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment