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International Standards

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Annual Reports
Issues in focus
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Working Group's independent website with additional documents and information

(The opinions expressed on this external website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States)
Latest news:

“Mercenaries still pose a serious threat to human rights,” warns UN expert body (8 April 2011)

Statement delivered on behalf of all Special Procedures mandate holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council at the Fifteenth Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (25 February 2011)

Libya: “Stop the massacre” - UN experts (22 February 2011)

UN experts say that South Africa should pursue efforts to strengthen regulatory framework for private military and security companies (19 November 2010)

UN experts to discuss the regulation of private military and security companies in South Africa (9 November 2010)

2010 - General Assembly report and annex "Elements of a proposed draft convention on private military and security companies"

UN Independent Experts express serious concern at the execution of four men in Equatorial Guinea (27 August 2010)
[Spanish version]

UN experts visit Equatorial Guinea to discuss the menace posed by the activities of mercenaries (12 August 2010)
[Spanish version]

Mercenaries: UN expert panel pushes for stronger regulation of private military and security companies (23 July 2010)

2010- Human Rights Council main report and annex ' Draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) for consideration and action by the Human Rights Council'
[Arabic - English - French - Russian - Spanish]

Human Rights Council 2010- Regional consultation for Western European and Others Group on the activities of mercenaries and private military and security companies: regulation and monitoring (14 April 2010)

Mission to Afghanistan: April 2009

Mission to the United States of America: July 2009

Regional consultation for Africa: Mars 2010

New report on regional consultation for Asia and the Pacific

‘Guns for hire’ and press release
30 April 2010

Presentation made by UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries to: Western European and Others Group Regional Consultation and Meetings
held with other 4 Regional Groups of UN Human Rights Council

Mercenaries: UN experts final go at new international Convention draft
9 April 2010

UN and Africa to discuss mercenaries and private military and security companies
25 February 2010

Mercenaries: UN experts say that the Nissour Square killings in Iraq should not remain unpunished
7 January 2010

Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries following its regional consultations with the Asia Group in Thailand

Mercenaries: UN experts focus on new international Convention

"UN human rights experts encouraged by US Government efforts to increase oversight and accountability over private security contractors but
concerned by gaps in access to effective remedy for victims of human rights violations".
3 August 2009

UN experts visit the United States to discuss the use of private military and security contractors
17 July 2009


The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination was established in July 2005 pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/2. It succeeded the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries, which had been in existence since 1987 and was serviced by Mr. Enrique Bernales Ballesteros (Peru) from 1987 to 2004 and Ms. Shaista Shameem (Fiji).  In March 2008, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate of the Working Group for a period of three years.

In paragraph 2 of resolution 7/21, the Human Rights Council requested the Working Group:

(a) To elaborate and present concrete proposals on possible complementary and new standards aimed at filling existing gaps, as well as general guidelines or basic principles encouraging the further protection of human rights, in particular the right of peoples to self-determination, while facing current and emergent threats posed by mercenaries or mercenary-related activities;

(b) To seek opinions and contributions from Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on questions relating to its mandate;

(c) To monitor mercenaries and mercenary-related activities in all their forms and manifestations in different parts of the world;

(d) To study and identify sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends regarding mercenaries or mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights, particularly on the right of peoples to self-determination;

(e) To monitor and study the effects on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly the right of peoples to self-determination, of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market, and to prepare a draft of international basic principles that encourage respect for human rights by those companies in their activities.

The Working Group is composed of:

Ms. Faiza Patel (Pakistan) Chair-Rapporteur
Ms. Patricia Arias (Chile)
Mr. José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain)
Ms. Elżbieta Karska (Poland)
Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa)

Previous mandate holders have included:

Ms. Najat Al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) 2005 - 2011
Ms. Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia) 2005 - 2011
Mr. Alexander Nikitin (Russian Federation) 2005 - 2011
Ms. Shaista Shameem (Fiji) 2005 - 2010

Mr. José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain) Chairperson-Rapporteur
Ms. Faizal Patel (Pakistan)
Ms. Najat Al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)
Ms. Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia)
Mr. Alexander Nikitin (Russian Federation)

Contact person
E-mail address
Ms. Catherine Phuong

Mailing address:

Working Group on the use of mercenaries
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006

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