UNITED NATIONS EXPERTS VISIT LIBYA TO PROBE USE OF MERCENARIES DURING RECENT CONFLICT
18 May 2012
The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries will undertake a visit to Libya from 21 to 25 May 2012 to assess allegations of the use of mercenaries in the recent conflict, and the measures taken by the Government to address this phenomenon in its aftermath. This fact-finding mission will be the first ever to the country by independent experts designated by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“In addition to the question of mercenaries, we intent to obtain direct and first-hand information on the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market, the type of activities they undertake in Libya and their effect on the enjoyment of human rights,” said Ms. Faiza Patel, who currently heads the expert panel.
The Working Group, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, also aims to hold a fruitful dialogue with the authorities and other relevant partners on the regulation of such companies in Libya, with special regard to permits, licensing, vetting and accountability for human rights violations.
The Group’s delegation, comprised by Ms. Patel and Mr. Gabor Rona,* will hold meetings with government officials, representatives of civil society, and private military and security companies to examine issues relating to mercenaries and these private companies, and the way their activities may affect the enjoyment of human rights.
At the end of its four-day mission, the independent experts will hold a press conference to share its preliminary findings. Further details to follow.
In a report presented to the United Nations General Assembly in November 2011, the Working Group warned that the growing activities of private military and security companies in the world raise numerous human rights challenges, and called for international regulation. Check the Working Group’s report to the United Nations General Assembly:
(*) Watch an interview on the mission with Mr. Gabor Rona: http://youtu.be/s1QTM1bDmnI
The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination was established in 2005 by the then Commission on Human Rights. It is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Faiza Patel (Chair-Rapporteur, Pakistan), Ms. Patricia Arias (Chile), Ms. El¿bieta Karska (Poland) and Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa) and Mr. Gabor Rona (United States/Hungary). Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/mercenaries/index.htm
Check the Working Group’s draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/mercenaries/docs/A.HRC.15.25.pdf
UN Human Rights, country page – Libya: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/LYIndex.aspx
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Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
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For use of the information media; not an official record