Featuring the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of people to self-determination
Presented by: the Security Sector Governance Programme
The Republic of South Africa has arguably been in the forefront in addressing the unprecedented growth of private military and security companies (PMSCs) and the challenges posed by the use of mercenaries. In 1998, The South African Government promulgated the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, No. 15 of 1998. In 2007, the Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Regulation of Certain Activities in Areas of Armed Conflict Act, No, 27 of 2006 was assented to by the former President of the Republic. This Act is not yet in force despite the fact that it was assented to almost four years ago. There are concerns on whether this Act will see the light of day and if so how effective it will be.
At the International level, in 2005 the United Nations established the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of people to self-determination (Working Group). Among other things, the mandate of the Working Group is to examine the situation regarding the operations of PMSCs and monitor and study their effects on the enjoyment of human rights. Most importantly, the Working Group has for the past few years been working on a possible draft international instrument on PMSCs. This international instrument will complement national efforts, which seek to regulate, monitor and oversee PMSCs, such as the South African legislation.
In accordance with its mandate, the UN Working Group is visiting the Republic of South Africa from 10 to 19 November 2010. During this time, the Working Group will examine the situation regarding the operations of PMSCs (including the recruitment of South Africans by PMSCs) and monitor and study their effects on the enjoyment of human rights. Most importantly, the Working Group will in particular focus on the content and possible impact of the Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Regulation of Certain Activities in Areas of Armed Conflict Act No. 27 of 2006 and enquire about steps to ensure its entry into force.
The aim of the ISS seminar featuring the Working Group is to discuss the current policy and legislative efforts in South Africa to address the phenomenon of PMSCs. The seminar will also present a forum for debate on stronger regulation, oversight and monitoring of PMSCs at national and international levels.
Mr Sabelo Gumedze, Senior Researcher, Institute for Security Studies
Mr Alexander Nikitin, Chairperson-Rapporteur, UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries
Mr JosàƒÂ© Luis Gomez del Prado, Member, UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries
Please note that discussions occur under ISS Rules. Participants are free to use the information presented, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed without his/her express permission.
Block C, Brooklyn Court
361 Veale Street
(Parking in Brooklyn Mall and ABSA Court)
Tel: 012 346 9500
Fax: 012 460 0998