Shock Monitor: State of the Art

Shock Monitor’s tool embodies the principle mission of the campaign, which is to observe and document military and security activity by third party actors and to promote research and reporting on impacts to humanitarian and international law around the world, without limitation to any specific geographical context. The data published within the online database and mapping tool is collected, developed and verified through the Shock Monitor technical and research team.

Read More

The Neglected Victims: PMSC, Sexual Abuse and Physical Violence Against Girls and Women

There is a significant lack of specialized literature on the involvement of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in sexual abuses and sexual violence against women and girls.

Read More

PMSC’s and Extractive Industries in Southern Africa: A good business for everyone?

Private Security has flourished in Africa due to complex infrastructure ventures and the presence of natural resources. The private military and security sector has been growing alongside demand in Africa due to the expansion of security dynamics in services offered.

Read More

The Neglected Victims: PMSC, Sexual Abuse and Physical Violence Against Girls and Women

There is a significant lack of specialized literature on the involvement of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in sexual abuses and sexual violence against women and girls.

Read More

Shock Monitor: State of the Art

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe J. Andrew Carter, Jr. The Market for Force In the current postmodern political climate, military and security services have evolved and specialized to an impressive degree. Arguably, state governments have relinquished their monopoly of force through the increased provision of contracts to specialized private contractors to provide support or carry out complex services on behalf of or in addition to current military or security engagements. Public sector governments and private citizens are motivated to utilize these specialized services due to the supposed benefits of outsourcing military and security services. In particular, the private sector promises innovation, efficiency, expertise and exclusivity. The benefit of incorporating private actors into public and private military and security network has given rise to an array of affluent, connected and powerful multinational corporations, which have then generated influence on a broad spectrum of security policy worldwide. While in some jurisdictions, the utility of private military and security services is legally ambiguous, its cost effectiveness and contractual nature provides its clientele- both public and private actors- with invaluable protection, decreased accountability and highly specialized services. The fine line is not easily distinguished between public and private actors in the security industry. Private citizens and former public security personnel have the ability to engage in these services formerly reserved for state and national police and military actors through employment with private firms. The personnel within the sector are able to engage in activities within specialized, privately registered corporations or consultancies, which market collaborative or supplemental security services to both private citizens and public governments in a manner that they are outside the scope of conventional security networks. These private actors engage in services such as combat support, armed guarding, protection or detention of persons, assets or objects, as well as the maintenance and strategic functionality of arms, surveillance or security systems. Shock Monitor In 2017, Shock Monitor launched an interactive tool on its webpage intending to track and pinpoint firms operating in various jurisdictions within the international system to increase transparency of the sector. The tool embodies the principle mission of the campaign, which is to observe and document military and security activity by third party actors and to promote research and reporting on impacts to humanitarian and international law around the world, without limitation to any specific geographical context. The data published within the online database and mapping tool is collected, developed and verified through the Shock Monitor technical and research team. Shock Monitor was created under the direction of the International Institute for Nonviolent Action (NOVACT), headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, which provides a physical space and common field office for Shock Monitor. Despite the institutional ties of the organization, Shock Monitor operates independently and benefits from the broad range of human rights activism established through the NOVACT platform. Shock Monitor is not limited to an online research tool, and also encompasses local civil society organizations, human rights activists, academic researchers, and other…

The Neglected Victims: PMSC, Sexual Abuse and Physical Violence Against Girls and Women

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe Leticia Barrios Trullols and Cristina Hernández Lázaro   There is a significant lack of specialized literature on the involvement of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in sexual abuses and sexual violence against women and girls. Despite a growing number of authors focused in the analysis of the gender dimension of PMSCs and the specific underrepresentation of women within the sector, the partaking of PMSC employees in violations of women’s rights is currently a subject insufficiently documented and studied in academia. The partaking of PMSC in Women’s Rights Violations is insufficiently documented After some years of experience observing and compiling impacts to Human Rights committed by PMSCs all over the world, Shock Monitor wants to raise awareness about the vitality of the issue and promote more attention to this very specific phenomenon. Due to its characteristics, sexual abuse, sexual violence and all attacks against the physical integrity of women remains under-reported­— victims are afraid of being re-victimized, socially exposed and openly questioned, leaving sexual abuse a subject to be preserved in the private sphere and therefore, societies do not always demand its accurate reporting and prosecution. In some countries, victims are even accused of teasing or vilifying the alleged abuser and even incarcerated for their claims which are considered libel and defamation. Multinational PMSCs are playing an increasingly crucial role in a wide array of security scenarios, not only in conflict zones in affected countries. Violations and Human Rights abuses are increasing dramatically in correspondence to the geographical and sectorial expansion of those companies in diverse sectors on behalf of diverse contracting actors. VIOLATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES ARE INCREASING IN CORRESPONDENCE TO PMSC EXPANSION Having said, the reliability and subjectivity of data on PMSCs and women remains challenging and prone to speculative controversy, provoking notions that a larger role and increased effort should be taken on by civil society organizations in creating databases containing disaggregated data, with variables on gender, age and even race of victims of human rights abuses. Only with an accurate documentation of cases, organizations working in the protection and promotion of Human Rights can rightfully qualify to lobby for the creation of effective structures and legal frameworks to make PMSCs accountable for their actions, abuses and violations. REGULATORY MEASURES TO INCREASE PMSC ACCOUNTABILITY REMAINS DIFFIDENT Besides some outstanding advances, the current scenario around the implementation of new regulatory measures to increase PMSC accountability over their actions and activities remains diffident, and even more uncertain regarding specific notions of sexual abuse or sexual violence. These notions are also acknowledged by academic researchers in existing literature. Eichler, for instance, mentions that “existing regulatory regimes covering PMSCs have serious limitations in regards to gender-based violence and discrimination, and the privatization of security allows for a de-politicization of gender equality issues”. Diverse authors and organizations, such as Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) have pointed out the lack of accountability of PMSCs and…

PMSC’s and Extractive Industries in Southern Africa: A good business for everyone?

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe Carlos Díaz Bodoque After the propagation of international private military and security companies (PMSCs) in Iraq and Afghanistan entrusted to carry military and security functions on the ground in the early 2000s, a large number of local private security forces owned by domestic nationals emerged within the market and capitalized on the demand for specialized military, security, logistical, tactical and operational services. After acknowledging the demand for localized expertise, domestic firms were able to compete with multinational PMSCs for contracts in the region. Arguably, this caused a large number of PMSCs and security personnel to look to other markets, especially in Africa to maintain their regional presence and to exploit the developing private security industry on the continent. Private security has flourished throughout Africa due to complex infrastructure ventures and the presence of valuable natural resources, especially along the Western coast in resource-rich mines and fields. The private security sector in Africa has experienced unprecedented growth over the last decade, causing instability to a region rich in natural resources and developing infrastructure. PRIVATE SECURITY HAS FLOURISHED IN AFRICA DUE TO COMPLEX INFRASTRUCTURE VENTURES AND THE PRESENCE OF NATURAL RESOURCES The private military and security sector has been growing alongside demand in Africa due to the expansion of security dynamics in services offered. For example, many PMSCs with African operations specialize in securing ships and convoys in the Indian Ocean and protecting from piracy, looking after international aid workers and civil society personnel on the ground, or protecting their assets – land, workforce and facilities – where extractives industries work, among other tasks. To put in perspective, AFRICOM, the African unified combatant commands of the United States Armed Forces, employs and contracts dozens of PMSCs across the continent. Some of the multinational PMSCs with ongoing operations and contracts in Africa are Frontier Services Group (Southern Somalia), Dyncorp (Democratic Republic of Congo), ArmorGroup (Nigeria & Sudan), G4S (continent-wide), etc., and are hired by a wide variety of public and private ventures, institutions, corporations and governments. Extractive companies constitute one of the largest contract providers to PMSCs in Africa and require large and complex security networks to safeguard their activities and protect assets from regional threats including criminal piracy, trafficking cartels, guerilla forces and expropriation efforts by corrupt government regimes. For example, many PMSCs involved in extractive industries are contracted to protect the project infrastructure and active personnel, as well as to ensure the secure transportation of the goods and products to distribution and mining sites. Having said, the high value and limited supply of precious resources results in hazardous conditions for communities located next to the mines or facilities, which are often left to face the consequences of increased security presence outside the scope of national law. In some cases, PMSCs with operations in Africa have become a direct beneficiary of political protections which often accompany contracts, achieving success through recognization within the state dimension. For example, Angolan…
Novact