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EXPERT GROUP ON MERCENARIES DEBATES USE OF PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES BY THE UNITED NATIONS

EXPERT GROUP ON MERCENARIES DEBATES USE OF PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES BY THE UNITED NATIONS
26 July 2013

NEW YORK (26 July 2013) – The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries will discuss the use of private military and security companies in United Nations peace and humanitarian operations in the field.

The panel discussion will take place on 31 July 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, as part of a special year-long study on the use of private military and security companies by United Nations bodies worldwide, which the expert group will present to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. 

“As a large consumer of security services, the UN has the opportunity to positively influence the standards and behaviour of the industry to comply with international human rights norms and support the implementation of the UN Charter,” said Anton Katz, who currently heads the expert group charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the activities of companies providing security and consultancy services on the international market.

“The UN should serve as a model for world Governments and other organizations in its use of private military and security companies,” the expert stressed. “Without proper standards and oversight, the outsourcing of security functions by the UN to private companies could have a negative effect on the effectiveness and image of the UN in the field.”

The five-strong expert body, which has drafted a possible international convention on private military and security companies, has already provided an overview of the United Nations’ policy regarding the use of private military and security companies in a previous report* to the United Nations General Assembly in 2010.

The event will feature two panels, focusing on the use of armed security services by the United Nations and the use of private military and security companies in peace operations. Details of the event, including the panellists, are available at:  http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Mercenaries/WG/flyerNYevent31July2013.pdf.

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

The Working Group will hold a press conference at 13:30 on 1 August 2013 at briefing room S-237, the UN Headquarters.  

(*) Check the full report to the UN General Assembly: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/AnnualReports.aspx 

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: Mr. Anton Katz (Chair-Rapporteur, South Africa), Ms. Faiza Patel (Pakistan), Ms. Patricia Arias (Chile), Ms. El¿bieta Karska (Poland) and Mr. Gabor Rona (United States/Hungary). Learn more, log on to:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/WGMercenariesIndex.aspx

Read the Working Group’s draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G10/151/55/PDF/G1015155.pdf?OpenElement

For more information and media requests please contact:
In New York: Nenad Vasiæ (+1 212 963 5998 / vasic@un.org)
In Geneva: Natacha Foucard (+41 22 917 9458 / nfoucard@ohchr.org) or Junko Tadaki (+41 22 917 9298 / jtadaki@ohchr.org) or write to mercenaries@ohchr.org

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

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR13/201E