Private security forces and human rights

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative involving governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promotes implementation of a set of Principles that guide oil, gas, and mining companies on providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights. 

The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICoC) is a multi-stakeholder initiative convened by the Swiss government. It aims to set private security industry principles and standards based on international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as to improve accountability of the industry by establishing an external independent oversight mechanism. The Articles of Association seek to establish this mechanism which will include certification, auditing, monitoring and reporting. By signing the ICoC, signatory companies publicly commit to operate in accordance with the Code. Signatory Companies are expected to seek to become members of the Association, which will start its functioning by the middle of 2013.

Our services to companies include:

  1. Human rights risk assessment (identification of security risks, potential for violence, country human rights records, the rule of law and conflict analysis)
  2. Human rights screening of private security forces
  3. Steps to promote the observance of best practices relevant to human rights and security
  4. Developing company systems for monitoring, reporting and investigating allegations of human rights abuses
  5. Independent auditing of human rights compliance
  6. Interactions between companies and public security
  7. Security arrangements
  8. Deployment and conduct
  9. Consultation and advice with stakeholders
  10. Operational guidance, risk reduction and reputational enhancement
  11. Research, training and capacity development

Our services to governments include:

  1. When seeking to become a government participant in the VPSHR and other international frameworks, a government is expected to draft and implement an action plan and we can assist in drafting such action plans
  2. Assisting in achieving human rights, development and conflict-related policy objectives
  3. Human rights screening of public and private security forces
  4. Monitoring and auditing human rights compliance
  5. Improving collaboration and problem solving with companies and civil society
  6. Promoting an understanding and implementation of the VPSHR and other international frameworks with companies and civil society headquartered or operating within national territory, as well as with other governments
  7. Conducting outreach with other governments to encourage them to join the VPSHR and other international frameworks
  8. Working with stakeholders – including within their own government, other countries, companies and civil society – on the ground to assist them in their VPSHR and other international frameworks' implementation. Activities can include, but are not limited to, playing a coordinating role with interested parties, providing information (such as at missions), working jointly on human rights training and engaging with involved parties
  9. Engaging with stakeholders at the international level to coordinate efforts, encourage the implementation of the VPSHR and other international frameworks, share best practices and promote discussionand learning through case studies
  10. Reporting annually on activities to support the VPSHR and other international frameworks' implementation
  11. Formally participating in the governance of the VPSHR and other international frameworks' (attendance of the Annual Plenary Meeting and, as appropriate, other sanctioned extraordinary and in-country meetings)
  12. Communicate publicly on efforts to implement or assist in the implementation of the VPSHR and other international frameworks
  13. Research, training and capacity development

Our services to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs):

  1. Enhance the sharing of information and participate?in dialogues regarding challenges in VPSHR and other international frameworks' implementation
  2. Engage in mutual learning and joint problem solving with a group that?is well versed in security and human rights issues
  3. Create joint approaches and partnerships to address the challenges of security and human rights at the international, national and project level
  4. Jointly promote human rights in order to provide lasting positive impact?on security and human rights issues
  5. Develop publicly available tools that will help define best practice for security and human rights
  6. Contributing to global, national and local forums to ensure that NGOs learn from others and share their views and perspectives to help shape the future of the VPSHR and other international frameworks
  7. Raising awareness of significant issues that need to be addressed related to human rights and security concerns and helping company and government  successfully implement the VPSHR and other international frameworks
  8. Monitoring of human rights compliance (Corporate Human Rights Impact Assessments)
  9. Aiding implementation by helping companies to develop policies, procedures and training that help support respect for human rights, while maintaining security of workers and assets
  10. Engaging directly with community groups using the VPSHR and other international frameworks as a framework to help improve understanding of human rights,? as well as increase awareness of the proactive role that communities can play in ensuring their own security and respect of their human rights
  11. Interacting with government actors, including public security forces and representatives of national and local government, to increase awareness of the VPSHR and other international frameworks and their value for the country
  12. Reporting annually on activities to support VPSHR and other international frameworks implementation
  13. Formally participating in the governance of the VPSHR and other international frameworks
  14. Research, training and capacity development