GENEVA (25 February 2010) - Representatives of some 25 from African States will meet on 3 and 4 March in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries* to discuss the presence and activities of mercenaries and private military and security companies (PMSCs) on the continent.
“This regional consultation in Africa is of particular importance given that the region is becoming a key market for the security industry”, said Shaista Shameem, who currently heads the Working Group. "However, PMSCs have remained largely unregulated, insufficiently monitored and rarely held accountable for the international crimes and human rights abuses they have committed.”
This meeting is the fourth of a series of five regional consultations which will end with the consultation with the Western European and Others Group in Geneva in April 2010. “This mandate was created in 1987 in a context in which the right of peoples to self-determination in Africa was often threatened by mercenary activities”, said Ms. Shameem.
State representatives will exchange good practices and lessons learned on the monitoring and regulation of the activities of private military and security companies and in particular on the adoption of a possible draft convention regulating their activities.
The Working Group said it “welcomes this opportunity to build on national experience in the continent to discuss general guidelines and principles for national and international regulation and oversight of the activities of private companies with the aim of encouraging the protection of human rights.”
The UN 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.
(*) The Working Group is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Shaista Shameem (Chairperson-Rapporteur, Fiji), Ms. Najat al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Ms. Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia), Mr. José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain), and Mr. Alexander Nikitin (Russian Federation).