58 Firms Sign Historic International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Brenda Bowser Soder
bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460

58 Firms Sign Historic International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers

Code's Success Depends on Credible Implementation and Accountability

GENEVA - Fifty-eight private security companies today signed an historic
International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, an
agreement to uphold human rights respecting principles and to establish
an inclusive oversight mechanism to verify that these principles are
implemented. Human Rights First has participated in the Code drafting
process for more than a year and said today's signing has the potential
to improve the industry's human rights impacts.

"This Code is a strong document and an important step in building an
effective scheme for improving this industry's human rights
performance," said Human Rights First's Devon Chaffee, who spoke at
today's signing ceremony in Geneva. "But its true value will depend
on how it's enforced. Companies signing the Code have committed to
establishing a mechanism for robust oversight and
governance. The Code's credibility will rest upon the ability of that
mechanism to hold signatory companies to account."

Today's ceremony was attended by companies' CEOs from around the
world including Ignacio Balderas of Triple Canopy, Gen G J Binns of
Aegis Defence Services Ltd., and Matthew R. Kaye of EOD Technology,
Inc. Also in attendance were high level officials from the various
governments that have been instrumental in the Code process, including
Swiss Secretary of State Peter Maurer, U.K. Ambassador John Duncan and
U.S. Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State Harold Koh. Ten American
companies are among the documents initial signers, including industry
leaders such as DynCorp, Triple Canopy, and Xe Services (formerly
Blackwater).

Among its provisions, the International Code of Conduct for Private
Security Providers lays out concrete requirements governing rules for
the use of force, vetting and training personnel, and incident
reporting. It also outlines a clear industry commitment to future
verification, field auditing, a complaint process, and to a time-tabled
roadmap to establish an inclusive governance and oversight mechanism. 
We look forward to working with the participating governments and
companies to ensure that the oversight mechanism is effective in
identifying and addressing negative human rights impacts in the field.

Human Rights First has released a number of reports documenting
serious private security contractor abuses including excessive use of
force and cruel treatment of detainees. These are documented in State of Affairs: Three Years After Nisoor Square
which outlines a number of steps the U.S. government should take to
increase contractor accountability abroad. Its work to assist in
crafting the International Code of Conduct for Private Security
Providers reflects the organization's ongoing commitment to ensuring
that private companies uphold human rights. Along those lines, Human
Rights First has played a leading role in similar multi-stakeholder
efforts to raise the human rights performances of various industries
including in apparel and footwear manufacturing, the Internet and
communications sector, and security in the extractive sector.

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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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