UN experts explore mercenary activity in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

The two-day regional consultation is being carried out by the UN 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, which reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.The gathering brings together government representatives, experts, academics specialized on private military and security companies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as a representative from a private military and security company. Experts hope to gain “a regional perspective about the current practices related to mercenaries and private military and security companies registered, operating or recruiting personnel in the region,” according to a news release issued ahead of the visit. They will also share information on steps countries in the region have taken to introduce legislation and/or other measures to regulate and monitor the activities of such companies on the global market. Discussions will focus on, among other things, general guidelines, norms and basic principles for the regulation and oversight of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the global market to encourage the further protection of human rights. The Group is composed of five independent experts, serving in their personal capacities. They are Alexander Nikitin (Russia), Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia), José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain), Shaista Shameem (Fiji) and Najat Al-Hajjaji (Libya). It will present its recommendations and conclusions at a future session of the Human Rights Council. 17 October 2008A group of United Nations experts have gathered in Moscow today to begin discussions on current practices in the Eastern European and Central Asian regions relating to the use of mercenaries and private military and security companies, as well as measures for the regulation and oversight of such entities.

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