Open-ended intergovernmental working group to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework, without prejudging the nature thereof, relating to the activities of private military and security companies

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On 28 September 2017, the Human Rights Council in its resolution 36/11 [EnglishFrançaisEspañolالعربية中文русский] decided to establish a new open-ended intergovernmental working group, for a period of three years, with a mandate to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework, without prejudging the nature thereof, to protect human rights and ensure accountability for violations and abuses relating to the activities of private military and security companies, to be informed by the discussion document on elements for an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, as prepared by the Chair-Rapporteur, and further inputs from Member States and other stakeholders.

The Human Rights Council also acknowledged the importance of providing the working group with the expertise and expert advice necessary to fulfil its mandate, and decided that the working group shall invite experts and all relevant stakeholders to participate in its work. The Council invited the contributions of Governments, relevant special procedure mandate holders and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies, regional groups, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the industry and other stakeholders with relevant expertise, including the Co-Chairs of the Montreux Document Forum and the International Code of Conduct Association.

The first session of the intergovernmental working group, which was initially scheduled to take place from 28 May to 1 June 2018, will have to be postponed to a later date, which remains to be determined.

Background: Open-ended intergovernmental working group to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies (2010-2017)

At its 15th session, on 1 October 2010, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 15/26 [EnglishFrançaisEspañolالعربية中文русский] by which it decided “to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework, including, inter alia, the option of elaborating a legally binding instrument on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, including their accountability, taking into consideration the principles, main elements and draft text as proposed by 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.”

At the conclusion of two sessions, in May 2011 and August 2012 respectively, the open-ended intergovernmental working group submitted a report with recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its 22nd session.

On 22 March 2013, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 22/33 [EnglishFrançaisEspañolالعربية中文русский] by which it decided to "extend the mandate of the open-ended intergovernmental working group for a further period of two years in order for it to undertake and fulfil the mandate as outlined in paragraph 77 of its report".

The third session of the intergovernmental working group was held from 21 to 25 July 2014 (please see the summary report).

On 26 March 2015, the Human Rights Council decided, in its resolution 28/7 [EnglishFrançaisEspañolالعربية中文русский] , to extend the mandate of the open-ended intergovernmental working group for a further period of two and a half years in order for it to undertake and fulfil its mandate, as contained in resolution 22/33.

Following its fourth session, which was held from 27 April to 1 May 2015, the open-ended intergovernmental working group presented its recommendations to the Council at its thirtieth session (please see the report A/HRC/30/47).

The fifth session of the intergovernmental working was held from 12 to 16 December 2016 (please see the summary report).

The  sixth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group was held from 22 to 24 May 2017 (please see the report A/HRC/36/36).

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