Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights are a set of guidelines created to address the protection of human rights and promote corporate social responsibility.  The Principles were established in 2000 by the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway, companies in the extractive and energy sectors, and non-governmental organizations.  As their name suggests, the Principles are not legally binding but are intended to serve as a set of guidelines for companies to develop practices and maintain operations in a way that ensures respect for human rights.

 

Goal: The goal of the principles is to […] guide Companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 

Relevant Clauses [1]

 

Risk Assessment

                […] accurate, effective risk assessments should consider the following factors:

·         Potential for violence […]should examine patterns of violence in areas of Company operations for educational, predictive, and preventative purposes.

·         Human rights records.  Risk assessments should consider the available human rights record of public security forces, paramilitaries, local and national law enforcement, as well as the reputation of private security.  Awareness of past abuses and allegations can help Companies avoid recurrences as well as to promote accountability […]

·         Conflict analysis […] as well as the level of adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law standards […]

·         Equipment transfers. When Companies provide equipment […] they should consider the risk of such transfers […] and the feasibility of measures to mitigate foreseeable negative consequences, including adequate controls to prevent misappropriation or diversion of equipment which may lead to human rights abuses […]

 

Interactions Between Companies and Public Security

 […] Companies have an interest in ensuring that actions taken by governments […] are consistent with the protection and promotion of human rights.

 

     Security Arrangements

·         Companies should consult regularly with host governments and local communities about the impact of their security arrangements on those communities.

·         Companies should communicate their policies regarding ethical contact and human rights to public security providers, and express their desire that security be provided in a manner consistent with those policies by personnel with adequate and effective training.

 

Deployment and Conduct

·         The primary role of public security should be to maintain the rule of law, including safeguarding human rights […]

·         Companies should use their influence to promote the following principles with public security:

a)      individuals credibly implicated in human rights abuses should not provide security services for companies;

b)      force should only be used when strictly necessary and to an extent proportional to the threat

c)       the rights of individuals should not be violated while exercising the right to exercise freedom of association and peaceful assembly, the right to engage in collective bargaining, other related rights of Company employees […]

 

Responses to Human Rights Abuses

·         Companies should record and report any credible allegations of human rights abuses by public security in their areas of operation to appropriate host government authorities […]

·         Every effort should be made to ensure that information used as the basis for allegations of human rights abuses is credible and based on reliable evidence […]

 

Interactions Between Companies and Private Security

1.       Private Security should observe the policies of the contracting Company regarding ethical conduct and human rights, the law and professional standards of the country in which they operate; […] and the observance of international humanitarian law.

3.    Private Security should act in a lawful manner.  They should exercise restraint and caution in a manner consistent with applicable international guidelines regarding the use of force […]

5.    All allegations of human rights abuses by private security should be recorded.  Credible allegations should be properly investigated […]

6.    Consistent with their function, private security should provide only preventative and defensive services and should not engage in activities exclusively the responsibility of state military or law enforcement authorities […]

7.    Private security should

a) not employ individuals credibly implicated in human rights abuses to provide security services;

b) use force only when strictly necessary and to an extent proportional to the threat;

c) not violate the rights of individuals while exercising the right to exercise freedom of association and peaceful assembly, to engage in collective bargaining, or other related rights of Company employees […]

 



[1]Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. (2000). The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from Voluntary Pirnciples on Security and Human Rights: http://www.voluntaryprinciples.org/what-are-the-voluntary-principles/

Comments are closed.