U.N. mulls use of private security groups

July 26, 2013 at 1:13 PM   |   Comments

UNITED NATIONS, July 26 (UPI) -- The United Nations is assessing private military and security companies and their commitment to international norms, an envoy said from New York.

The United Nations announced a panel discussion on the use of mercenaries and private security companies is scheduled next week at the U.N. headquarters.

Group director Anton Katz said the United Nations has an opportunity to influence the standards and behavior of the private security industry in a way that puts it in line with international human rights laws.

Katz said the working group would assess a draft measure which would provide an overview of U.N. policies on mercenaries and private contractors.

"The United Nations should serve as a model for world governments and other organizations in its use of private military and security companies," he said in a statement Friday. "Without proper standards and oversight, the outsourcing of security functions by the United Nations to private companies could have a negative effect on the effectiveness and image of the United Nations in the field."

A working group on mercenaries during meetings in 2011 found "considerable" evidence that Liberian mercenaries were involved in the post-election conflict in neighboring Ivory Coast. Foreign fighters in Libya were reportedly used by the former regime of Moammar Gadhafi to repress peaceful demonstrations against the government during the 2011 civil war.

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