Report of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries

Arma 3 - Operation Silent Shelter
October 6, 2021

This is the published report of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries as a means of violating Human Rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self determination. This follows the call from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for submissions on Gender and Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) in 2019.

A/74/244 - E - A/74/244 -Desktop (

The Working Group concludes that male domination of the industry, past major abuses of gender-based discrimination and sexual and gender-based violence, and the absence of human rights-compliant legal and regulatory frameworks should compel States, private military and security companies, clients and other stakeholders to push forward a gender-transformative agenda within the industry.

During the research and consultation phase, it became increasingly evident that there is little public information on the gender dimensions of the private military and security industry for the following reasons:

(1) private military and security companies tend to maintain a level of secrecy around their operations, for security and/or commercial reasons, with limited access to internal policies and procedures.

(2) gathering information about alleged abuses by private military and security companies is very challenging, as is documenting acts of sexual and gender-based violence generally.

(3) few organizations are monitoring the human rights compliance of those companies.

(4) in the broader context of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which apply to private military and security companies, there has until very recently been little focus on gender issues (A/HRC/17/31, annex). The low levels of information around and lack of attention to this issue rendered impossible the provision of a complete picture of gendered aspects and impacts of the private military and security industry, and confirmed the urgent need for further research and action on this topic.

See also Draft Resolution - 1st October 2021: A/HRC/48/L.12 - E - A/HRC/48/L.12 -Desktop (

And UN Report, 'Impact of the use of private military and security services in humanitarian action' - 2nd July 2021: A/HRC/48/51 - E - A/HRC/48/51 -Desktop (

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