Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Earlier today, the United Nations "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" issued three country reports calling for greater regulation of mercenaries and private military and security companies by both host and contributor countries to ensure respect for human rights and accountability for any abuses committed.
The Working Group was formed to examine the situation in three specific countries, Iraq, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea, each of which presents a different aspect of the problem. Iraq has been a major theatre of operations by private military and security companies; South Africa is a major source of people with extensive military skills and experience unwilling or unable to find jobs since the end of apartheid in 1994; and Equatorial Guinea was the scene of a 2004 coup attempt involving mercenaries. Issues of immunity, lack of accountability and links between mercenaries and private military and security companies are key concerns.
The Working Group was established in 2005 and reports to the Human Rights Council. More information and the reports may be found here.