International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers

Fifty-eight private security companies (PCSs) have already signed the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, committing to adhere to numerous international human rights principles and support the rule of law while also protecting the interests of their clients.

Although signing the code is the “first step in the process towards full compliance,” signatories are expected to implement several specific measures, including:

(1) establish and/or demonstrate internal processes to meet the requirements of the Code’s principles and the standards derived from the Code; and (2) once the governance and oversight mechanism is established, become certified by and submit to ongoing independent Auditing and verification by that mechanism.

Private security companies, contracted by governments and non-governmental organization, have recently been criticized for alleged wrongdoing and sometimes even faced criminal charges (i.e., Blackwater incident in Iraq). The Code provides guidance on how to ensure that fundamental human rights are protected in conflict situations, as well as general guidance on transparency and accountability.

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