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Mercenaries: Iraq, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea, three key reports by UN expert panel

GENEVA (14 September 2011) – The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries released three country mission reports on Iraq, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea, focusing on a wide range of issues such as immunity, lack of accountability, and links between mercenaries and private military and security companies.

“The reports provide insights into the experiences of three countries which have been particularly affected by the activities of mercenaries, private military and security companies, or a combination of both,” said the new Chair-Rapporteur of the UN expert panel, Ms. Faiza Patel, who presented them to the UN Human Rights Council.

Iraq
“Providing security to its people is a fundamental responsibility of the State,” Ms. Patel said. “Outsourcing security creates risks for human rights and the Government of Iraq must remain vigilant and devote the necessary resources to ensure that private military and security companies – whether international or Iraqi – are stringently regulated and that they respect the human rights of the Iraqi people.” The report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/18session/A.HRC.18.32.Add.4_en.pdf 

South Africa
“South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to adopt legislation which required Cabinet-level approval for the export of military and security services,” noted the Working Group’s Chair-Rapporteur. “This is a critical first step, but it remains to be implemented and must be accompanied by more direct means for ensuring redress for any human rights violations.” The report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/18session/A-HRC-18-32-Add3_en.pdf 

Equatorial Guinea
“All mercenaries should be held accountable for their actions,” Ms. Patel stressed. “Anyone accused of involvement in a mercenary-related incident should be tried by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and in compliance with international human rights standards, and treated in accordance with such standards.” The report:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/18session/A-HRC-18-32-Add2_en.pdf

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 then Commission on Human Rights. It is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Faiza Patel (Chair-Rapporteur, Pakistan), Ms. Patricia Arias (Chile), Mr. José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain), Ms. Elżbieta Karska (Poland) and Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa).

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

International Convention against the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/mercenaries.htm

The Working Group’s draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/mercenaries/docs/A.HRC.15.25.pdf

For more information and media requests, please contact Catherine Phuong (Tel: +41 22 917 9271 / email: cphuong@ohchr.org) or write to mercenaries@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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