IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsIPI Holds Policy Forum on Regulating Private Security Companies

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

IPI Holds Policy Forum on Regulating Private Security Companies

Private military and security companies (PMSCs) play an increasingly visible role in conflict and postconflict situations. Properly regulated, they may offer efficient and responsive means of delivering security in insecure environments. But well-publicized abuses suggest that an adequate regulatory framework is urgently needed.

On Tuesday, July 28, 2009, IPI hosted a lunchtime policy forum to highlight current efforts inside and outside the United Nations to develop a more effective system of international regulation, oversight, and accountability.

Read the transcript of this event

To begin, Ambassador Peter Maurer of Switzerland explained the initiative led by his government and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which in September 2008 produced the Montreux Document. This document, currently endorsed by thirty-one states, including the US, UK, China, Iraq and Afghanistan, affirms states’ existing legal obligations and sets out good practice for states dealing with PMSCs.

Ambassador Maurer also noted the significant support that has recently emerged amongst states, civil society, and the industry itself to prepare an international code of conduct for the industry.

Next to address the audience of almost 100 assembled diplomats, civil society experts, and industry representatives was Shaista Shameem, chairperson-rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Mercenaries.

Ms. Shameem provided an overview of a draft of the international convention on the regulation and oversight of PMSCs that the working group is currently preparing, on request from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

IPI hosted a small closed-door workshop with nonstate experts for the working group the next day to provide feedback and input on the current draft.
 
The third panelist was James Cockayne, discussing IPI’s new book, Beyond Market Forces: Regulating the Global Security Industry (IPI: New York, 2009). This book analyzes existing shortcomings in industry, national-level and international regulation of PMSCs, and draws lessons from the regulation of other global industries. It includes thirty case studies of standards implementation and enforcement efforts in the global extractive, financial, chemical, toy, sports, veterinary, garment and apparel, and other industries.

Mr. Cockayne stressed that any regulatory effort at the international level should complement and facilitate state-based regulation. But he closed with a call to seize a “window of opportunity” for improved regulation that now presented itself, with an emerging alignment of interests among key states, industry actors, and affected groups.
 
The panelists’ remarks and responses to questions were enthusiastically received by the large audience. The audience’s wide-ranging questions touched on issues such as the legitimacy of contractor involvement in interrogations and provision of security to expeditionary military forces; the role of PMSCs in supporting UN operations; the effectiveness of self-regulation; and the need to improve opportunities for affected communities to hold PMSCs accountable.

The Global Observatory

Overlooked Among 50 Million Displaced Worldwide, Women and Girls Lose Out
Women affected by forced displacement still struggle to access the most basic services, but some initiatives offer useful lessons for the UN and NGO communities.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

September 30, 2014
Vike-Freiberga: Rethinking the United Nations
In a speech delivered at IPI on September 30th, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga gave a sobering historical analysis of the gains and setbacks made by the international system over the past century and, focusing on the UN, she called for a rethinking of the organization’s structure and approach to peace.

View More