About the mandate
The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination was established in July 2005 pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution
2005/2. It succeeded the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries, which had been in existence since 1987. The Working Group is composed of five
independent experts, of balanced geographical representation.
Since 2005, the Human Rights Council has renewed the mandate of the Working Group several times, most recently in 2019 for a period of three years through resolution
42/9. The General Assembly also regularly adopts resolutions on the use of mercenaries that touch on the activities of the Working Group, most recently through resolution
74/138 in 2019.
about the Working Group and its
methods of work
About the members
The Working Group is composed of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation, who are elected by the Human Rights Council for a period of three years, which can be renewed once for an additional three years. Ms. Jelena Aparac (Croatia) was appointed to the position of Chair-Rapporteur in November 2020.
Learn more about the Chair-Rapporteur and the other members of the Working Group
Mercenarism and private military and security companies (2018)
This document provides an overview of the work carried out 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.
Latest thematic reports
The human rights impacts of mercenaries, mercenary-related actors and private military and security companies engaging in cyberactivities:
This Report, submitted to the UN General Assembly , examines the provision of military and security products and services in cyberspace by mercenaries, mercenary-related actors and private military and security companies and its human rights impacts. The present thematic study aims towards exploring the manifestations and activities of actors who benefit from developing, maintaining and operating cybercapabilities, which might be used in the conduct of hostilities, in conflict and in non-conflict settings. It assesses the impacts that this may have on human rights, including the right of peoples to self-determination, as well as examines the issue of regulating the provision of military and security products and services in cyberspace.
View document: A/76/151
Impact of the use of private military and security services in humanitarian action:
This report submitted to the Human Rights Council 48th session examines the increasing role that private military and security companies play in the humanitarian sphere, Working Group sheds light on the extent and nature of private military and security companies’ role in humanitarian action and on the diversity of services offered, including in the contexts of armed conflict, and natural and man-made humanitarian emergencies. The report highlights the impacts of commercialization of humanitarian aid on the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality and operational independence. It addresses the fundamental lack of transparency around, and oversight over, the operations of these private military and security companies, noting the lack of accountability and further stressing that significant regulatory gaps remain.
Evolving forms, trends and manifestations of mercenaries and mercenary-related activities: This report, submitted at the General Assembly's 75th session in 2020, examines the evolution of the use of mercenaries and related actors in the light of the changes in contemporary armed conflicts, and the challenges this creates for the implementation of relevant legal frameworks pertaining to mercenaries.
View report page | View document
Private military and security services in immigration and border management: This report, submitted at the Human Rights Council's 45th session in 2020, highlights how the increased use of private military and security services in immigration and border management impacts the protection of the human rights of migrants.
View report page | View document
Latest country visits
Country visit to Switzerland (13-17 May 2019)