Thursday, November 8, 2007

UN group warns of mercs in Afghanistan - media uninterested

Yesterday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights presented a report on private security companies - "Report of the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries" (see pdf here). The report noted "a significant increase in the number of private security companies operating in conflict-ridden areas, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq," according to their press release. Further, the authors warn that "States that employ these services may be responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed by the personnel of such companies."

Readers may find this excerpt of the report edifying:

A delegation of the Working Group, composed of the Chairperson-Rapporteur and one member, visited Peru from 29 January to 2 February 2007. It received information indicating that hundreds of Peruvians had been recruited and trained in Peru by private security companies to work in Iraq and Afghanistan as security guards. The recruiting companies operating in Peru worked for companies based abroad and with contracts obtained from the Government of the United States of America. The Working Group was informed of contractual irregularities, poor working conditions, partial or non-payment of salaries, neglect of basic needs and that over 1,000 Peruvians allegedly remained in Iraq. It also received allegations that private security groups or police officers engaged in private security work were involved in actions to intimidate persons in the Cajamarca region.
Meanwhile, an electronic search of all major Canadian newspapers finds no mention of the report anywhere.

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