Report on the use of private security companies by the United Nations
Working Group on the use of mercenaries
To the 69rd session of the General Assembly in 2014
Twice a year, the Working Group on the use of mercenaries issues calls for inputs to inform thematic studies to be presented at the Human Rights Council in its September session and at the General Assembly in October.
In this report, the Working Group on the use of mercenaries examines the use by the United Nations of private security companies, in light of the vast and complex challenges which outsourcing security to private military and security companies (PMSCs) poses to the United Nations and to local populations. While the United Nations contracts companies solely for security services, these same companies are also known to provide military services in other circumstances.
The report is the outcome of a yearlong study, which aimed at examining how the United Nations contracts private military and security companies and for what services. It reviews the efforts undertaken by the United Nations to mitigate risks relating to the recruitment of private security providers, in particular the recently adopted policy and guidelines on the use of on private armed guards.
The report considers the limitations of these policy tools and makes suggestions on ways and means to ensure an efficient selection and vetting process when employing private security companies. It also examines ways that will ensure that private military and security companies are held accountable for possible human rights violations in the event that these occur.
On 31 July 2013 and 5 March 2014 respectively, the Working Group on the use of mercenaries convened two expert panel events, one in New York and one in Geneva, on the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) by the United Nations worldwide. The outcomes of these panel events have been taken into consideration for the drafting of the report.
Panel event on the use of PMSCs by the United Nations (31 July 2013, New York)
Panel event on the use of PMSCs by the United Nations (5 March 2014, Geneva)