Increased mercenary forces cause ‘pervasive’ human rights abuses – Global issues

Presenting its new report arrive Dong Nhan Quyen Association 51st session, Working group on the use of mercenaries say that this is due to the peculiarities of the culprits and how they work.

They also note that the proliferation of mercenaries, contractors operating as mercenaries and private security firms in conflict, post-conflict and peacetime contexts has increased the number of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

“Significant gaps in accountability, access to justice and remedies for victims of violations perpetrated by such parties are pervasive.” speak Sorcha MacLeod, Chair-Reporter of the Working Group, who presented the report to the Council.

‘The victim-centered approach’

Experts explain that, in the context in which they operate, the impact of their actions is of great concern.

Experts emphasize, people in vulnerable situations, women, children, migrants and refugees, people with disabilities, LGBTI + people, the elderly, minorities, human rights defenders and journalists, are being particularly negatively impacted.

“With this bleak situation, A holistic and victim-centered approach is required to ensure victims access to justice and effective redress,” said Ms. MacLeod.

Investigate and punish offenders

The report highlights the lack of accountability and the shared challenges that victims face in accessing justice and effective remedies to repair the damage left by mercenaries.

It draws particular attention to the secrecy and obscurity surrounding the activities of mercenaries, military contractors hired to kill people, and private security firms; their complex corporate and corporate structures, issues related to jurisdiction; and gaps in national and international regulation.

States have an obligation under international human rights law to prevent, investigate and punish violations human rights and international humanitarian law, and provide effective remedies and reparations to victims of mercenaries, mercenary stakeholders, and military companies and private security,” the experts said.

They concluded by urging States to adopt national legislation to “regulate the activities of these agents, punish perpetrators, and provide remedies to victims part of these implementation efforts”.


Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council based in Geneva to check and report back about a particular human rights topic or a country situation. The positions are honorary and professionals are not paid for their work.

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts, with balanced geographical representation, elected by the Human Rights Council for a once-renewable three-year term.

Ms. MacLeod was appointed Chair-Reporter in November 2021.

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