New Report: The EU and the Corporate Impunity Nexus

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe test Shock Monitor’s research contributes to the new report: THE EU AND THE CORPORATE IMPUNITY NEXUS. Building the UN Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights Today, more than 100...
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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.

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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

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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

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…

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...

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
KEY POINTS about the International Seminar on “Human Rights and New Forms of Mercenarism”

KEY POINTS about the International Seminar on “Human Rights and New Forms of Mercenarism”

CurrentAffairs Get InvolvedFollow usSubscribe The international seminar on “Human Rights and New Forms of Mercenarism: Violations, Limits and Opportunities of the International Legal System” took place on 21 April, at the Palau Macaya in Barcelona, with the aim of exposing, analysing and operationalizing the causes and impacts of private sector military and security companies on human rights. The discussions, round tables and lectures were themed around various aspects of the private military and security sector. The participating actors included experts from academia, military officers, and representatives of civil society organizations with institutional and political officials. The seminar also incorporated discussions that focused on the consequences and potential impacts on a wide variety of human rights issues, as well as analyzing the operational mechanisms of private sector military and security companies, including the corresponding role of states governments and the validity of the international legal system in regulating and governing this industry. Human Security, PSMC and Violations of Human Rights The seminar platform was focused both on the detection of limits and the presentation of new initiatives that could impose governance instruments by regulators over the private military and security sector. Private Security and Military Companies (PMSCs) are widely considered a new form of mercenarism that, according to Professor of Public International Law at the Universitat de Barcelona and Academic Director at CEI International Affairs Dr. Helena Torroja, does not fit into the current definition of “mercenary”. Through her work as director of the report, “Violations of Human Rights by the New Forms of Mercenarism and Public International Law”, Dr. Torroja introduced the main topics of the seminar: the protection of the human right to “security” and, therefore, the national obligation of states to guarantee this protection to all their citizens. Dr. Torroja also outlined the fact that ultimately, citizens of a given jurisdiction suffer the consequences of the PMSC activity, pointing out that the current mechanisms of self-regulation or pre-existing political agreements are not sufficient. Instead, according to Dr. Torroja, the privatization of certain sectors has major implications, indicating the necessity of proper governance. Next, Dr. Mario Laborie Iglesias, a colonel in the Spanish Army and political adviser in various institutions within the European Union spoke about the numerous international contexts in which private sector military and security companies operate. He summarized the “Western” perspective of security within the global system, in which human security contains a responsibility to protect. According to Dr. Laborie Iglesias, this responsibility is not being applied effectively or evenly throughout the globe and concluded that there are formidable obstacles presented to a state actor in their effort to implement this responsibility. The former member of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, José Luis Gómez de Prado, underlined the fact that PMSCs violate a long list of International Human Rights and relayed examples of torture, executions and violations of the right to health. According to Gómez del Prado, contrary to the traditional definition… read more
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