The Privatization of Humanitarian action: implications and challenges of the involvement of PMSCs in the Humanitarian field

After the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions in 2003, observers both inside and outside the humanitarian aid community, started noticing an increasing interest of the private military and security sector in entering the humanitarian sphere.

Read More

Spanish Southern Border: Human Rights Violations by Private Companies

A context of structural and symbolic violence. Institutional racism focused on the control, surveillance, detention and expulsion of the people in movement

Read More

Participation at the Seminar: COMPANIES, CONFLICTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe test ShockMonitor Research Team will participate at the seminar: COMPANIES, CONFLICTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS Tuesday, 29th May 2018 10-14 am ICIP (Institut Català Internacional per la Pau) – C. Tapineria, 10, 1a...
Read More

The Privatization of Humanitarian action: implications and challenges of the involvement of PMSCs in the Humanitarian field

After the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions in 2003, observers both inside and outside the humanitarian aid community, started noticing an increasing interest of the private military and security sector in entering the humanitarian sphere.

Read More

Participation at the Seminar: COMPANIES, CONFLICTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe ShockMonitor Research Team will participate at the seminar: COMPANIES, CONFLICTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS Tuesday, 29th May 2018 10-14 am ICIP (Institut Català Internacional per la Pau) – C. Tapineria, 10, 1a planta, 08002...

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

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… read more
Spanish Southern Border: Human Rights Violations by Private Companies

Spanish Southern Border: Human Rights Violations by Private Companies

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe Maria Soler Besumbes During the last weeks, SHOCK MONITOR has actively contributed to gather information for two major events organized in Barcelona. On one side, the official launch of the report “Human Rights at the Spanish Southern Border” (2017 – 2018). On the other, the 45th Session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on the violation of Human Rights of migrant and refugee people. These two civil society initiatives aimed to raise public awareness on the Human Rights implications of European’s Union current migration policies and, they have also highlighted the increasing role that private companies – among them, private military and security companies (PMSC) – have in the securitization of border control policies and in the violation of migrant’s rights related to the implementation of this racist and criminalizing politics. In the current context of reinforcement of European Union’s policies on security, surveillance and border control, Spain has been the main pioneer in the construction of walls, by building its fences in Ceuta (1995) and Melilla (1998) along with other elements that conform the border devices, as well as an increasing militarization of the land and maritime borders. The borders of Ceuta and Melilla have become a field experiment for the most cruel and inhuman policies of migration control at European level. In the Southern Spanish border the legal system applies rarely and on an arbitrary manner, and human rights are systematically violated with total impunity. Over the years, we have witnessed a growing fortification and armouring of Spanish borders, especially since 2005, during the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, when the military devices deployed in the fences preventing the arrival of migrants caused several unprecedented injuries and deaths. To the injuries caused by the fences, we should also add the police violence, the brutality and misconduct and the so called “hot returns”. ALL THESE OCCURS IN A CONTEXT OF STRUCTURAL AND SYMBOLIC VIOLENCE AND INSTITUTIONAL RACISM, FOCUSED ON THE CONTROL, SURVEILLANCE, DETENTION AND EXPULSION OF THE PEOPLE IN MOVEMENT To the physical control measures, we should add the technological ones, mostly under the supervision of the Spanish Military police. These technologies include the “early movement detectors”; “flood and road lights”; “mobile cameras with optical and sound sensors”; “alarm lights and sirens”; or “the water pressure system with pepper spray”. In addition to these control systems, we should add anti-climb meshes that cover the outside of the fence and control towers placed at regular intervals. Theses fencing devices cause injuries in many people when trying to climb it or as a result of falls. Both the organizations working in the Moroccan area and those working in Ceuta and Melilla mention that after an attempt to jump many people suffer severe, such as deep cuts, fractures, serious muscular injuries. Likewise, many people also end up injured as a result of the attacks of the Moroccan and Spanish military and police forces. At the same time, the… read more
Is there a control over the Private Military & Security Companies?

Is there a control over the Private Military & Security Companies?

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe Limitations of the non-binding mechanisms to prevent human rights violations by the private military and security industry On the 16th and 17th of February, the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) and the Direcció General de Cooperació de la Generalitat de Catalunya organized the international seminar “Business and Human Rights: Comparing Experiences” which incorporated the participation of national and international organizations, political representatives, academia, private companies, trade unions and civil society organizations. These kind of meetings highlight the necessity of considered actions related to to the sector and serve to consolidate, at the same time, the interest of Catalan public institutions in defining a unique model of outward action, rooted in peace promotion, human rights and sustainable human development. All of these objectives have a presence since 2014 in the catalan law, more specifically in the Llei del Parlament de Catalunya 16/2014, de 4 de desembre, d’Acció Exterior i de Relacions amb la Unió Europea. HUMAN RIGHTS AND BUSINESS The definition of this model comes in a key moment: five years after the Human Rights Council approved the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, just 13 countries have developed “National Action Plans” to apply this principles. All of them, however, are criticized by their notable weaknesses, the majority of which exclude proper binding mechanisms; a general absence of consultative processes with civil society and affected societies in particular during their elaboration and implementation; as well as the lack of concretion in the monitoring systems. With the aim of establishing and implementing a legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational companies in the field of human rights, in 2014, the UN Human Rights Council approved the creation of an “intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights,” which will present the first draft of a proposed international treaty by the end of 2017. At the same time, significant work is underway in the creation of effective international instruments that ensure respect of human rights by private companies, against a corporative sector that has developed a Global Corporate Law, protected by contracts and inversions. These rules and principles established by the private sector are based in multiple contracts of exploitation, bilateral commercial treaties, inversion protection deals, adjustment policies and conditioned loans, among others. The legal asymmetry between the protection of human rights and the transnational companies’ inversions means, in practice, the defencelessness of the victims. In the case of human rights violations, those affected by the activities of these companies lack effective mechanisms to hold them accountable for their actions, prevented access to courts with specific jurisdiction and the inability to demand full reparation. In parallel, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the codes of conduct are non-binding legal formulas designed to evade judicial control, marketing strategies without real consequences within the company, beyond simple statements of “business ethics.” BUSINESS AND ARMED CONFLICTS The Institut Internacional per l’Acció… read more
Novact