As a global industry operating in complex environments, private security companies and their stakeholders have had to identify means to address pressing human rights challenges and fill the governance gaps left by home and host states unwilling or unable to regulate the industry. Accountability for the Security Sector in Risk Environments (ASSURE) seeks to foster rights respecting corporate behavior through strategic engagement with industry leaders and key stakeholders in government, civil society, and academia.
ASSURE’s objectives are to develop trainings to improve companies’ ability to adhere to social standards and uphold human rights in their operations; to identify best practices in multi-stakeholder regulation and develop guidance for implementing elements of effective voluntary standards; and to conduct and disseminate policy and business relevant research to improve companies’ human rights compliance.
Driven by the principles of partnership, inclusivity, and transparency, ASSURE uses its position within an academic institution to serve as a neutral convening ground for frank and productive dialogues between stakeholders with the goals of raising awareness, educating key decision-makers and change agents, and identifying practical solutions to challenges faced by the industry.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Montreux Document on pertinent international legal obligations and good practices for States related to operations of private military and security companies during armed conflict. Drafted with multi-stakeholder input and currently supported by 46 states and the European Union, the Montreux Document recalls existing international humanitarian and human rights law obligations of states with regards to the activities of private military and security companies, and elaborates good practices to assist states in meeting those obligations. The report, Montreux Five Years On, highlights the significant and ongoing challenges that participating states face in meeting their legal obligations and implementing the good practices. The report provides recommendations to states, including the need to ensure better oversight of and accountability for private military and security companies and their personnel and to improve victims’ ability to access justice.
The report is being released in advance of a conference, Montreux +5, hosted by the Swiss Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from December 11-13 in Montreux. At the conference, findings will be presented of supporting states’ implementation efforts, and examples of good practices will be shared based on information states provided in response to a questionnaire circulated by the Swiss and ICRC. Montreux Five Years On, drafted by a global team of academics, human rights activists, and experts on the private military and security industry, provides a critical counterpoint and identifies where there are gaps in states’ efforts to meet their Montreux Document commitments.
A copy of the report can be found here and a video recording of the Shadow Report release conference can be seen here.