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 and was serviced by Mr. Enrique Bernales Ballesteros (Peru) from 1987 to 2004 and Ms. Shaista Shameem (Fiji). In March 2008, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate of the Working Group for a period of three years.
In September 2014, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate of the Working Group for a period of three years.
In paragraphs 17, 18, 19 and 20 of resolution 33/4 of 2016, the Human Rights Council:
17. Requests the Working Group to continue the work already carried out by previous mandate holders on the strengthening of the international legal framework for the prevention and sanction of the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries, taking into account the proposal for a new legal definition of the term “mercenary” drafted by the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination in his report submitted to the Commission on Human Rights at its sixtieth session, 3 and also the evolving phenomenon of mercenaries and its related forms;
18. Reiterates its requests to the Office of the High Commissioner to, as a matter of priority, publicize the adverse effects of the activities of mercenaries and private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and other military and security-related services on the international market on the right of peoples to self-determination and, when requested and where necessary, render advisory services to States that are affected by those activities;
19. Requests the Working Group to continue to monitor mercenaries and mercenary-related activities in all their forms and manifestations, and private military and security companies, in different parts of the world, including instances of protection provided by Governments to individuals involved in mercenary activities, and to continue to update the database of individuals convicted of mercenary activities;
20. Also requests the Working Group to continue to study and identify sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends with regard to mercenaries and mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights, particularly on the right of peoples to self-determination.
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