For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brenda Bowser Soder
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460

Karzai Decree Prompts Renewed Call for Accountability and Oversight

WASHINGTON - President Hamid Karzai issued a presidential decree today ordering
private security companies in Afghanistan to disband within four
months.  This decree comes on the heels of serious allegations of
corruption and reports of rampant abuse by private security contractors
in Afghanistan.  Human Rights First notes that the announcement
underscores a need for greater accountability and oversight of private
security contractors in Afghanistan and elsewhere. 

Human Rights First's Melina Milazzo today issued the following statement:
Karzai’s call for a decree comes as the United States increasingly
relies on private contractors to perform security functions in active
war zones.  Private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan now
total more than 28,000 and nearly all of them are armed.  With this
increased reliance on contractors have come increased incidents of
serious criminal violations. Despite Congress’ elevated scrutiny and
oversight over contractors, accountability gaps persist.  America’s
reputation and its national security interests are at stake when U.S.
contractors who commit serious criminal violations go scot-free."


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"It is imperative that a comprehensive system of accountability and
oversight are in place for private contractors fielded abroad.  U.S.
contractors must be held responsible by a robust and adequately
resourced judicial system when they commit crimes, and additional,
credible, oversight must be in exercised in the field.  Failing to do so
creates a culture of impunity that threatens the safety of civilians,
U.S. troops and contractors themselves, as well as gravely undermines
U.S. military missions."


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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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