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Mercenaries: UN expert panel pushes for stronger regulation of private military and security companies

GENEVA (23 July 2010) – The UN Working Group* on the Use of Mercenaries will push forward its proposal for a possible international convention on the regulation of activities of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) during its 10th session meeting at UN headquarters in New York, from 26-30 July 2010.

The group of independent experts will brief Permanent Missions at the UN, non governmental organizations and academics on the content and scope of its proposal aimed at closing the legal gap covering such activities at the international level.

Since its creation in 2005, the Working Group has been monitoring the impact on human rights of the activities of mercenaries and PMSCs, and in particular their lack of accountability. They are advocating for more stringent regulations, oversight and monitoring 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 at its 15th session on 14 September 2010. The Working Group will also report to the General Assembly at its 65th session.

During the upcoming session, the five experts will also prepare their missions to Equatorial Guinea due to take place from 16 to 20 August 2010 and South Africa later this year, as well as review recent allegations regarding the activities of mercenaries and PMSCs and their impact on human rights.

Ms. Shaista Shameem, who is ending her term as former Chairperson/Rapporteur and member of the Working Group on 31 July, will be attending the Working Group’ session for the last time. She is being replaced by Ms. Faiza Patel, from Pakistan, who will be taking up her functions as of 1st August 2010.

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

Learn more about the Working Group on the use of mercenaries: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/mercenaries/index.htm

For further information and media queries, please contact Julie Tétard (+41 794444332 / e-mail: jtetard@ohchr.org or mercenaries@ohchr.org)