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Shock Monitor is created to document and study the evolution of Private War and its worldwide impact on human rights. Through the documentation, systematisation and analysis of incidents involving PMSCs and private contractors, it studies not only the development of the industry but also the incidents and related legal cases, perpetrator accountability and remedy for the victims.

The project, coordinated by NOVACT, is based on the cooperation of international and local researchers as well as Human Rights Organizations and experts gathering information on violations committed by PMSCs in their communities. It aims to form a network of International Research Institutes, Civil Society Organizations, experts and local researchers that, interested in the phenomenon of the privatisation of war and security, want to obtain and share information about this issue.

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The thematic scope of the Shock Monitor interactive database encompasses active private military and security companies, clientele, and reported incidents of human rights incidents during the 21st century. Although the process of military and security privatization has begun far before the year 2000, we consider the private sector military and security industry to have radically evolved and acquired its contemporary quantitative and qualitative dimensions in the events following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. As a NOVACT-powered tool, Shock Monitor follows this methodology in light of previous research published by the organization.

Our material scope includes reputable reports on private military and security actors, their clientele, and any alleged actions or testimonies on the impact of PMSCs or their personnel on third party individuals, or local populations. Shock Monitor was created to observe and document PMSC activity and provide reports on impacts on human rights from all around the world, without limitation to any specific geographical context.

The documentation and research process is based on collecting factual data of PMSCs and their impact through different sources of published data such as testimonies from people and communities affected by PMSCs’ operations, official investigations by governmental or international bodies, judicial decisions, news agencies, reports from human rights organizations and oversight bodies, amongst others.

Human rights’ incidents are individually verified by the Shock Monitor administrative team, given there is 1) a minimum of three different informational sources on a given impact; 2) one of the sources of the impact is an official investigation carried out by a governmental or
international body; 3) there is an subsequent judicial process regarding the incident.

The data collection process is developed through the NOVACT field offices; local civil society organizations; human rights activists; academics and researchers; and other research institutions. This collaborative research tool is organized around Shock Monitor Academics.