Accountability for the Security Sector in Risk Environments (ASSURE)

The significant increase in the number of private military and security contractors operating around the world in recent years has created an array of new challenges for ensuring respect for human rights and accountability for rights abuses – among them accusations of rights violations, associated with, but not limited to, the use of force; difficulties in effectively identifying and prosecuting rights violators and ensuring victims access to remedy; and broader issues relating to the democratic oversight and control of private force provision across national jurisdictions. As a global industry operating in complex environments, private security companies and their stakeholders have had to identify means to fill the governance gaps left by home and host states unwilling or unable to adequately regulate the industry. ASSURE seeks to foster rights respecting corporate behavior through strategic engagement with industry leaders and key stakeholders in government, civil society, and academia to identify and implement human rights best practices.

ASSURE’s four primary objectives are to develop trainings to improve companies’ ability to adhere to business standards and uphold human rights in their operations; to identify best practices in multi-stakeholder regulation and develop guidance for effective implementation of elements of voluntary standards, such as due diligence and grievance mechanisms;  to conduct and disseminate policy and business relevant research to improve companies’ human rights compliance; and to raise awareness of the public and educate key decision-makers and change agents to promote practical solutions to pressing problems.

ASSURE draws on the unique strength of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law as an academic institution to serve as a neutral convening ground for frank and productive dialogues between stakeholders to identify and promote innovative and practical solutions to the human rights challenges faced by the private security industry.

ASSURE will be sharing in this newsletter and on our website (http://ihrib.org/site/jupgrade/blog/assure/) updates about our ongoing activities and research, as well as upcoming events and important developments within the security industry.

About the Author
John Richardson is the Co-Director of the Initiative for Human Rights in Business at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law.

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