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26 February 2007

The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries concluded on 23 February its second session, having examined issues relating to mercenaries or mercenary-related activities and human rights.

During its week-long session, the Working Group addressed, among other things, the emerging trends regarding mercenaries or mercenary-related activities and the effects of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market and their impact on the enjoyment of human rights.

The group expressed concerns on the effects of the increasing phenomenon of the recruitment of nationals from countries in many regions by subsidiaries of transnational private military and security companies with legal personality in another country, and providing services in countries experiencing violent conflict.

It expressed concern also on the phenomenon of conflicts involving private companies that provide security to installations and facilities of extractive industries and the effects on local communities and the enjoyment of land rights and a clean environment.

The Working Group commended the Governments of Honduras and Ecuador for taking steps to accede to the International Convention against the Use, Recruitment, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, and expressed satisfaction that Peru has signed the instrument of accession. Peru will soon deposit its instrument of accession to the United Nations Secretary-General and become the 29th state party to this Convention. In thanking Governments that facilitated visits by the Working Group, it encourages other States to respond positively to its requests to visit.

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 was established in 2005 by the Commission on Human Rights. Its mandate was broadened to also monitor the impact of the activities of private military and security companies on the enjoyment of all human rights. Moreover, it has been requested to prepare a draft international basic principles that encourage respect for human rights on the part of those companies in their activities.

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities, and headed by its Chairperson-Rapporteur, Mr. José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain). The other Working Group experts are: Ms. Najat al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Ms. Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia), Mr. Alexander Nikitin (Russian Federation) and Ms. Shaista Shameem (Fiji).


For use of the information media; not an official record