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The privatization of war – UN expert group on mercenaries debates its impact on human rights Thursday 21 July 2016 – Conference Room 3 – UN Headquarters, New York

NEW YORK (15 July 2016) – The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries will gather a group of top international experts to discuss how privatization of war affects human rights, particularly how private military and security companies (PMSCs) impact on the right to self-determination.

The panel discussion, which is open to the media, will take place on Thursday 21 July 2016, at Conference Room 3, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

“The concept of self-determination is evolving, and we need to understand how the impact on human rights is evolving as well,” said Patricia Arias, who currently heads the expert group. “Looking into how private actors in warfare affect the right to self-determination has always been in our mandate.”

“We aim especially to see what this impact means for accountability for human rights violations and remedy for victims. Regulation of the PMSC sector is key to ensuring accountability and we will examine all the options for this,” she said.

For more information on the event and the full list of participants, log on to: http://ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/EventJuly2016.aspx

The panel discussions will be also broadcasted live at the UN web TV: http://webtv.un.org.      

The Working Group will present its latest report on its global study of national PMSC legislation at the September 2016 session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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. Patricia Arias (Chair-Rapporteur, Chile), Ms. Elżbieta Karska (Poland), Mr. Saeed Mokbil (Yemen), Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa) and Mr. Gabor Rona (United States/Hungary). Learn more, visit:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/WGMercenariesIndex.aspx

The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For more information and media requests please contact:
In New York: Nenad Vasic (+1 212 963 5998 / vasic@un.org)
In Geneva: Alisa Clarke (+41 22 917 9633 / aclarke@ohchr.org) or Jolene Tautakitaki (+41 22 917 9363 / jtautakitaki@ohchr.org) or write to mercenaries@ohchr.org

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

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