ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

WORKING GROUP ON MERCENARIES AND INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON AN EQUITABLE INTERNATIONAL ORDER ADDRESS THE COUNCIL

Council Concludes Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
10 September 2013

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a clustered interactive dialogue with the Working Group on the use of mercenaries and the Independent Expert on a democratic and equitable international order.  Earlier this afternoon, the Council concluded its interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict.

Anton Katz, Chairperson-Rapporteur of 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, said the Working Group was of the view that regulating non-state actors such as private security providers required a multi-dimensional approach.  Given the absence of a legally binding international instrument, there was little guidance on how to effectively address the phenomenon of the privatization of security, which had resulted in divergent regulatory approaches at the national level, creating regulatory gaps which by nature may be a potential source of human rights violations.  Mr. Katz referred to his visits to Somalia and Honduras.

Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said research indicated that decision-making institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council itself, were far from democratic, representative or participatory.  Reforms were necessary to ensure the equitable participation of all in global decision making.  There was no single model of democracy, and no one should pretend that one particular manifestation of democracy should be exported to countries that functioned differently.  There was room for improvement everywhere.  Women, half the world’s population, were frequently marginalized.  Indigenous groups had often been disenfranchised by colonial legacies.  Changes in the status quo were difficult but chiefly because of lack of transparency and accountability in political processes.

In the clustered interactive dialogue that followed, speakers said that the current lack of a legally binding international regulatory framework to curb unaccountable action by private military and security companies, coupled with State weakness in monitoring and enforcing regulation, further illustrated the need for the international community to discharge its duty to provide victims with a mechanism for redress.  One speaker regretted the lack of conceptual clarity in the mandate of the Working Group and hoped this longstanding issue would be addressed in the future work of the Council. 

On a democratic and equitable international order, it was noted that establishing such an order was the wish of people around the world.  One speaker noted that the right to self-determination was an important component of the establishment of a democratic international order, while another noted that the automaticity established by the Independent Expert between self-determination and democracy was a subjective link. 

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Gabon on behalf of the African Group, Cuba, South Africa, Russia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Switzerland, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Syria, China, European Union, Palestine, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Belarus, Romania, India, Serbia, Bolivia, Djibouti and Venezuela. 

Movement contre le racisme et pour l’amitie entre les peoples, Centre Europe Tiers Monde, African Technology Development Link, Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, International Commission of Jurists, Servas International and United Schools International also spoke.

Honduras spoke as a concerned country. 

Earlier this afternoon, in the interactive dialogue with Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, speakers noted that the methods that were used to recruit children and the guarantee of the right to education should be among the priority targets of any measures taken to reduce this entrenched problem.  Prevention of recruitment and the sexual exploitation of children in armed conflict should form the focus of measures taken, another speaker said.  Extreme concern was expressed that schools and universities were being used as part of the battle field in armed conflict, putting children at risk and denying them the full enjoyment of their rights and to protection under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In concluding remarks, Ms. Zerrougui emphasized that tailored strategies were needed to face each specific situation.  There was a need to devise specific strategies combining political pressure and peace mediation processes to deal with specific situations in which armed groups used child soldiers.  Greater accountability must be an important part of those strategies.  Recent trials, especially the Lubanga case, had had an important deterrent effect on other warlords.  Reintegration and rehabilitation of former child soldiers were major challenges.  The international community had to address the root cause of voluntarily enlistment in armed groups, especially extreme poverty.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were the International Committee of the Red Cross, Colombia, Indonesia, Sudan and Greece.  World Organization Against Torture, World Environment and Resources Council, Save the Children International, International Organisation for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination, Human Rights Now, Union of Arab Jurists, Liberation and Society Studies Centre also took the floor.

The Human Rights Council will resume its work on Wednesday, 11 September at 10 a.m. to hold a panel discussion on the human rights of children of parents sentenced to the death penalty.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

International Committee of the Red Cross addressed three topics with respect to the issue of children in armed conflict: the special vulnerability of unlawfully recruited children; access to education; and the importance of a strong normative framework.  The methods that were used to recruit children and the guarantee of the right to education should be among the priority targets of any measures taken to reduce this entrenched problem.

Colombia said it had made progress in this field and it was grateful that this had been recognised by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  Colombia had direct experience of the scourge of child exploitation and harm within conflict.  Prevention of recruitment and the sexual exploitation of children in armed conflict should form the focus of measures taken.  Colombia had been able, in concert with the United Nations Children's Fund, to take action in this respect in more than 140 areas in the country.

Indonesia said that as a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol, it was committed to tackling the problem of child soldiers.  Recognizing the important role of education, steps should be taken to protect the right to education in conflict zones.  Although progress had been made, Indonesia would like further information on action plans and the global initiative to halt the use of children in war by 2016.
Sudan thanked the Special Representative for her report as well as the cooperation of her Office.  Sudan reiterated its full commitment to further the protection of children in general and especially during armed conflicts.  Sudan had set up child rights units in various national institutions, as well as a National Council for Children.  Finally, Sudan expressed its concern about abductions of children by armed groups in southern parts of the country.

Greece supported the Special Representative’s appeal to all States to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.  According to the Greek Constitution, enlistment in the armed forces was mandatory but young people could do so only after they became 18 years old.  In addition, the law punished with at least 10 years of imprisonment whoever in an international or national armed conflict enlisted children who had not attained the age of 15.

World Organization Against Torture said that the situation in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had plunged children into a situation of extreme vulnerability.  Sexual violence against young girls was committed by members of armed groups as well as civilians.  Even if the perpetrators of these violations were apprehended, impunity was widespread. 

World Environment and Resources Council said that children were very susceptible to the advice and persuasion of their parents and elders.  Those who were in the frontline of the Taliban movement had used religion to indoctrinate children.  There was a need to acknowledge that the political and strategic ambitions of certain nation States had allowed groups to multiply who played with children’s lives.

Save the Children International, speaking as a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, was extremely concerned that schools and universities were being used as part of the battle field in armed conflict, putting children at risk and denying them the full enjoyment of their rights and to protection under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination, in a joint statement, said that reports from the Special Representative’s office persistently underlined that conflicts not only led to basic violations of children’s human rights but also deprived them of their basic socio-economic rights.  The current situation of Iraqi children required the attention of the international community.

Human Rights Now expressed its grave concern over the plight of children in Syria.  Military intervention, however, was not the solution as was shown by the war in Iraq 10 years ago.  An independent investigation of crimes committed in Syria had to be undertaken without delay, including the use of chemical weapons.  The lasting effects of war on children in Iraq also deserved inquiry.

Union of Arab Jurists, in a joint statement with Geneva International Centre for Justice, said that they were concerned about the fate of children in Syria.  A solution had to be found to end the conflict but one that did not involve military intervention.  At the same time, the ongoing suffering of the children of Iraq, where health and education systems lay in pieces, should not be forgotten. 

Liberation said the conflict in the north-east of India was one of the oldest unresolved armed conflicts in the world and children were the foremost of its victims.  Despite ratifying the Optional Protocol on children in armed conflict in 2005, the Indian Government remained in an embarrassing state of denial about the use of children in the conflict in the north-east.

Society Studies Centre said that progress had been made in Sudan to protect the rights of the child, but there were problems in southern parts of the country, where rebel armed groups were responsible for abductions and forced recruitment of children.  Society Studies Centre called on all parties concerned to abstain from recruiting children and to participate in the peace negotiations.

Concluding Remarks by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict

LEILA ZERROUGUI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict, emphasized that tailored strategies were needed to face each specific situation.  Concerned Member States could facilitate the implementation of the campaign to end recruitment and use of children, notably by easing the access to their territories.  There was a need to devise specific strategies combining political pressure and peace mediation processes to deal with specific situations in which armed groups used child soldiers.  Greater accountability must be an important part of those strategies.  Recent trials, especially the Lubanga case, had had an important deterrent effect on other warlords.  Sustainable and longer term institutional responses at the national level were needed, especially in conflict or post-conflict situations.  Regarding attacks on schools and hospitals, it was of utmost importance to implement the existing legal norms.  The conflict in Syria highlighted the complexity of the task and of the Special Representative’s mandate, in particular with regard to refugee children.  In other contexts, the international community had to better support key actors and provide children with greater access to education.  Reintegration and rehabilitation of former child soldiers were major challenges.  Children often joined armed groups as it was their only option to survive.  The international community had to address the root cause of voluntarily enlistment in armed groups, especially extreme poverty.

Documentation

The Council has before it the annual report of 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 (A/HRC/24/45), which presents an overview of the Working Group’s activities in the period under review and findings of the Working Group’s ongoing survey of national laws and regulations relating to private military and/or security companies (PMSCs); an addendum to the report of the Working Group concerning its mission to Honduras (18–22 February 2013) (A/HRC/24/45/Add.1); and an addendum to the report of the Working Group concerning its mission to Somalia (8 to 14 December 2012) (A/HRC/24/45/Add.2).

The Council has before it the report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas (A/HRC/24/38), which summarizes activities undertaken from August 2012 to June 2013, and addresses the spectrum of issues inherent in the mandate.  The Independent Expert understands the mandate as universal, aiming at the convergence of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights into a coherent synthesis necessary for the process of achieving an international order that is more democratic and equitable.

Presentation of Reports by the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries and the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

ANTON KATZ, Chairperson of 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, presenting the report, said that the Working Group was of the view that regulating non-state actors such as private security providers required a multi-dimensional approach.  There was a need for international norms and standards, effective national regulation enforcement and industry-led efforts to improve compliance with human rights standards.  A binding international instrument was one of the keys to the challenge of regulating this fast-developing phenomena, as international law in its current form did not prohibit the outsourcing of State functions involving the use of force to private military and security companies or clearly spell out the minimum content of States’ due diligence obligations to ensure that non-state actors hired for security purposes respected international humanitarian and human rights law.  On national standards, the Working Group had embarked on a study of legislative approaches to the activities of security actors to assess the effectiveness of such legislation in protecting human rights and promoting accountability for violations.  Independent research was being conducted on the existence and differences of national legislation on a region-by-region basis.  Given the absence of a legally binding international instrument, there was little guidance on how to effectively address the phenomenon of the privatization of security, which had resulted in divergent regulatory approaches at the national level, creating regulatory gaps which by nature may be a potential source of human rights violation.  Without effective oversight and control, the activities of private military and security companies could in some cases seriously undermine the rule of law and the effective functioning of a democratic State institution responsible for ensuring public safety, in accordance with international human rights standards and national laws.  There was thus a critical need to establish minimum international standards for States to regulate the activities of private security personnel, particularly those engaged in cross border activities in pursuing the realization of this fundamental right. 

Concerning a visit to Somalia, one of the principal human rights concerns brought to the Working Group’s attention was that as rebuilding efforts in Somalia got underway, there may be an influx of foreign security companies without sufficient regulation and control by the Government.  It was recommended that the Government ensure that any licensing regime it established included ongoing monitoring, and that sufficient resources were allocated to allow the system to function.  Somalia was one of the three States in which the United Nations had hired private security companies, which employed armed guards.  The United Nations must consider applying the principles contained in the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy when hiring private security contractors to ensure that it lived up to its own normative standards and its obligations under international law. 

Regarding a visit to Honduras, private security companies were still powerful entities operating beyond the State’s control and the Government faced significant legal, structural and institutional challenges in exercising effective oversight over private security companies.  The Working Group urged the Government of Honduras to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the existing law regulations to ensure that all private security service providers were licensed and registered by the Ministry of Security and that their activities were properly monitored.  The Working Group was of the firm view that each and every human being had the right to security and freedom from all forms of violence, whether by State officials or private actors. 

ALFRED DE ZAYAS, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, summarized by way of a progress report activities undertaken from August 2012 to June 2013.  As Human Rights Council resolutions 18/6 and 21/9 indicated, the goal of the resolutions was the convergence of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights into a coherent synthesis that advanced a democratic and equitable international order.  This task was vast in scope.  Research however indicated that decision-making institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council itself, were far from democratic, representative or participatory.  Transnational corporations exerted increasing influence on global decision-making, and only worked in the search for profit.  Reforms were necessary to ensure the equitable participation of all in global decision making.

In a democracy it was the people who were sovereign, but democracy had an old evolutionary history and had been adjusted to the needs of many different societies and cultures.  There was no single model of democracy, and no one should pretend that one particular manifestation of democracy should be exported to countries that functioned differently, where the political process corresponded to other traditions.  Democracy was not the end product, but the means to the end, which was the enjoyment of human rights by all.  The manipulation of public opinion both by governments and corporate media, and the manufacturing of consent undermined the essence of democracy.  The harassment, imprisonment and killing of human rights defenders, including journalists, in many countries shocked the conscience.  But also certain aspects of the war on terrorism and the abuse of anti-terrorist legislation had significantly eroded human rights and fundamental freedoms.  There was room for improvement everywhere.  Women, half the world’s population, were frequently marginalized.  Indigenous groups had often been disenfranchised by colonial legacies.  Changes in the status quo were difficult but chiefly because of lack of transparency and accountability in political processes.

There were examples of good practice such as the General Assembly Arms Trade Treaty and the open-ended working groups of the Human Rights Council.  United Nations reform was under discussion and a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly had been proposed.  Pragmatic recommendations included: a Declaration of the Right to Peace to be adopted by the General Assembly; an Human Rights Council workshop on self-determination and participation; studies undertaken on how, for example, a World Parliamentary Assembly might enhance participation; the granting of consultative status to non-governmental organizations, and the referral of human rights legal questions to the International Court of Justice.
 
Statement by the Concerned Country

Honduras thanked the Working Group on the use of mercenaries for its follow-up visit in the country and for its comprehensive report.  Honduras said that a specific unit had been established to supervise the activities of private security companies.  The programme for human rights education was redesigned accordingly and a national action plan for human rights was adopted.  The victims of mercenaries were usually denied any compensation.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission together with the relevant Ministries had prepared a draft law providing reparations to victims of mercenaries.  The draft law had been submitted to all stakeholders and was currently ready to be submitted to Parliament.

Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries and the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

Gabon, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that there was no single model of democracy that was exportable to all countries.  The African Group was aware of the crucial role played by international organizations, in particular the United Nations, in the creation of a democratic international order.  International organizations helped States to manage together important international issues, especially in connection to social and economic issues.  Africa had seen important democratic evolutions recently; more than 40 elections had taken place during the last three years.  The African Group emphasized that the advent of an international democratic order needed a better representation of southern countries within international institutions.

Cuba expressed its concern about the continued enrolment of mercenaries and the activities of private security companies.  New instruments were needed to ensure that human rights were sufficiently protected in these contexts.  Cuba called on all countries to cooperate with the Working Group.  Regarding Mr. de Zayas’ report, Cuba underlined that the mandate was designed to focus on democracy at the international level and reiterated its support to the Independent Expert’s mandate.

South Africa said that the current lack of a legally binding international regulatory framework to curb unaccountable action by private military and security companies, coupled with State weakness in monitoring and enforcing regulation, further illustrated the need for the international community to discharge its duty to provide victims with a mechanism for redress.  In view of existing gaps, the Working Group was encouraged to consider a study on accessibility and effectiveness of accountability and redress mechanisms in national laws.

Russia noted the importance of the study being conducted by the Working Group to study legislation in the sphere of regulating activities of private military security companies.  The first conclusions received appeared to be very interesting indeed.  Russia agreed with the majority of the conclusions and recommendations.  In Syria, according to many witnesses, there were many terrorist groups committing crimes inside the country, receiving financing and arms from abroad.  In such groups, there was a predominance of mercenaries.  The Working Group was called upon to carefully study the situation in Syria. 

Morocco said that it opposed recommendations 57 b and c, by Mr. de Zayas on the matter of the reintroduction of the question of self-determination under agenda items 3 and 4 of the Council.  These recommendations were outside the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  To take a right and place it on a pedestal to the detriment of others would introduce a hierarchy which would contribute to the weakening of the Council.  The automaticity established between self-determination and democracy was a subjective link.  Democracy contained domestic law concepts, whereas the right to self-determination was an international law principle which was broader in scope. 

Ethiopia agreed with the Independent Expert that the international democratic order depended on self-determination and that there was no single model of democracy.  Ethiopia was the second country to ratify the African Charter on Democracy and Good Governance and this was an example of good practice.  The adding of a further layer of obligations as a condition of entry to the World Trade Organization would also be a step in the right direction. 

Ecuador welcomed the work of the Working Group on mercenaries on private military and security companies.  There had to be legally binding instruments to control private military and security companies and Ecuador wished to see them applied widely.  As for the work of the Independent Expert, a fair global international order could not be achieved when some powers wielded more might than others.  However, Ecuador welcomed the recognition that democracy could be various in its nature.

Switzerland said a draft law on the activity of private military and security companies was under consideration in the Swiss Parliament.  Meanwhile, the code of conduct for private security companies was being widely adopted.  This mechanism would take the shape of an association to be formed next week in Geneva that would commit its members to respect human rights and human rights laws.

Algeria took note of the report of the Working Group on mercenaries.  A legal framework was needed to regulate the activities of private military and security companies and Algeria called for the renewal of the mandate of the Working Group.  Regarding the report of Mr. de Zayas, Algeria noted that the right to self-determination was an important component of the establishment of a democratic international order.

Egypt noted with deep concern the increase in the use of mercenaries in armed conflicts, often in ways that resulted in grave human rights violations.  Egypt called on all States to cooperate among each other to make sure that mercenaries were held accountable.  International norms covering private military companies were needed, including an international convention that would regulate the activities of mercenaries in accordance with international human rights standards.  Egypt welcomed the findings of the report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order and his recommendations, especially with regard to the revitalization of the General Assembly and the reform of the Security Council.

Indonesia took note of the progress of the survey on national laws and regulations relating to private military and security companies and encouraged the Working Group to further its consultations and survey to all regions in the world with the involvement of all stakeholders.  Indonesia said that the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order should be given an adequate space to implement his mandate and encouraged him to further his consultations with relevant stakeholders, in particular States.

Syria welcomed efforts made by South Africa in the regulation of private military and security companies.  It also appreciated recommendations made, including insistence on the importance of establishing a legally binding instrument and regulatory framework.  Countries that placed obstacles in the way of such initiatives should cease to put up boundaries and cooperate.  There was use of mercenaries in Syria.  The Government had in the past published lists of names of killers in Syria, but these had remained unpunished.  Syria had taken the initiative to invite the Working Group to visit Syria to see first hand what was being perpetrated by these criminals. 

China said that it endorsed further discussions on the elaboration of a regulatory framework with regards to private military and security companies.  On the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, establishing such an order was the wish of all people around the world.  Countries should endeavour to set up a fair economic order.  Diversity in the world should be respected and safeguarded.  China hoped that the Independent Expert would continue his work according to the mandate, so as to make appropriate recommendations and contribute to a more democratic and equitable international order.

European Union continued to regret the lack of conceptual clarity in the mandate of the Working Group and hoped this longstanding issue would be addressed in the future work of the Council.  Mercenaries as defined under international humanitarian law and their activities could not be put on the same footing as the activities of private military and security companies.  Could the Working Group elaborate on available options that could contribute to an improvement of national regulatory efforts to prevent and remedy human rights violations in the private military and security companies sector?

Palestine said in response to the report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order that the Security Council would lose all its credibility if it continued to absolve Israel for its unilateral and illegal treatment of Palestinians.  International democracy could only be built through cooperation with international bodies and observance of international law and Israel had failed this test.
 
United Kingdom, while welcoming the report of the Working Party, regretted the conflation of mercenaries with legitimate private security companies.  The report usefully analysed approaches to regulation but the United Kingdom was disappointed that the code of conduct to be formed in Geneva this month was not taken into account.  The United Kingdom questioned the value added of the mandate of the Independent Expert on equitable international order which it said could be covered by other mandate holders.

Pakistan agreed with the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order that a democratic and equitable international order depended on the sovereign equality of States and rights of peoples to self-determination.  Pakistan supported his assertion that international law was universal and thus termed unilateral measures, drone strikes and electronic surveillance as violations of human rights.  Pakistan supported the recommendation of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries that a comprehensive, legally binding international regulatory framework was the best way to ensure adequate protection of human rights.

Belarus said that the practice of unilateral coercive measures should be put to an end, as it was not in line with internationally agreed norms.  Sanction policies were used by some countries to promote their own political and economic interests.  These unilateral measures were illegal and unacceptable.  Belarus considered that human rights mechanisms could and should take a principled position condemning and rejecting unilateral coercive measures.

Romania regretted that the report of Mr. de Zayas did not use the work of the Council in the area of democracy, such as resolution 19/36 and the thematic study of the Office of the High Commissioner on democracy and the rule of law.  There was no single model of democracy, but all democracies shared similarities.  Romania said that representative democracy and direct democracy were complementary.  The resolution at the basis of the mandate did not enjoy the support of Romania, because this mandate went well beyond the Council’s mandate.

India said that the United Nations must evolve and adapt itself to a rapidly changing international environment.  Democratic deficit in the governance of the Bretton Woods institutions needed to be addressed to enhance their legitimacy, transparency, accountability and the ownership of the decision-making process.  The Independent Expert had a wide and important mandate and he should make recommendations on how to make the international order more equitable and democratic.

Serbia, addressing recommendations contained in the report by the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, expressed reservations regarding the use of the term minorities in the context of the right to self-determination.  Minorities, under international law, did not have a right to self-determination in terms of statehoodness.  This was an important detail and Serbia asked that this issue be taken into account in the context of eventual follow-up to the report. 

Bolivia agreed with the Working Group on the use of mercenaries on the need to have an international legally binding instrument to regulate these activities, so that rules could be developed on the use of force and firearms, selection training, equipment, and the conduct of staff of private military and security companies.  They could see that there was a lack of oversight of private military and security companies’ activities, jeopardizing the rule of law.  Bolivia had suffered the consequences of the use of mercenaries.  The Working Group was urged to continue with the study requested by the Human Rights Council.

Djibouti welcomed the recommendations of the Working Group and agreed that a binding legal instrument of international scope was indispensable to promote and protect human rights.  States were encouraged to contribute to the study underway.  On the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Djibouti supported the important recommendations made by the Independent Expert.  It encouraged States to promote reforms underway at the international level, and to promote and protect human rights at a national level to ensure the principles of democracy.

Venezuela noted that a democratic order was a fundamental part of human rights and one of those rights was therefore the right to self-determination and sovereignty.  Turning to the work of the Working Group, Venezuela agreed that the conduct of mercenaries and private military and security companies had to be regulated under international law.  Meanwhile, Venezuela had frequently made extradition requests to the United States for self-confessed terrorists living there, but nothing had happened.

Movement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre peuples said the right to self-determination suffered from a number of obstacles in every corner of the world.  Even though the people of the United Nations said they wanted peace and equity, the arms industry was the biggest in the world.  Well-established democracies and members of the Security Council were at the same time the biggest arms manufacturers.

Contre Europe Tiers Monde said the Independent Expert had highlighted the democratic deficit in the United Nations Security Council and this was obvious to all.  Governments had to respond to peoples and not special interests; did States and peoples have a chance to participate in world-important decisions on such subjects as war and peace or global warming, or on Syria?

African Technology Development Link said that the global communications revolution made the world a smaller place.  The ideology of globalization had, instead of bringing people closer, created resentments as economic disparities had visibly deepened.  The negative results of globalization were evident in developing countries.  Equality amongst nations required a just and fair distribution of the wealth and resources of the planet.

Commission to Study the Organization of Peace said that the current situation in Afghanistan was an example of the kind of devastation that mercenary activities could cause.  For decades, Pakistan had sought to influence Afghanistan and had left no stone unturned to ensure that regimes in Kabul were not inimical to its interests.  No lasting solution representing the interests of all Afghans would be possible as long as the Taliban would continue to enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan.

International Commission of Jurists welcomed the Working Group’s efforts to assess national legal frameworks and identify good practices.  The Commission concurred with the conclusion that a legally binding international regulatory instrument was needed to help ensure that private military companies respected human rights and were held accountable for any abuses of human rights.  The Commission also agreed that States whose laws allowed private military companies to use firearms without an adequate legal framework contributed to the human rights abuses that frequently occurred.

Servas International said that it was a non-governmental organization that served tolerance and mutual understanding in more than 100 countries around the world.  Its youth programmes empowered children forming the next generation.  There were too many armed conflicts in the world.  It expressed its sympathy with all who strived for peace in regions that faced violence.  There would be no peace without respect for human rights.

United Schools International said that true equality among nations was only possible if every nation faithfully adhered to the principles of democracy.  There should be no obstacles placed in the way of people freely expressing their opinions.  A fair and equitable international order could only exist if all nations adopted political systems that guaranteed pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness. 


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC13/098E