Global Policy Forum

Private Security Contractors and the UN - May 19, 2010

On 19th May 2010, GPF hosted a lunchtime discussion on Private Security Contractors and their involvement with the United Nations.  The discussion hosted three distinguished speakers: James Cockayne (Senior Fellow and Director of New York Office, Center on Global Counter Terrorism Cooperation), Scott Horton (New York Attorney and Expert in Military and International Law), and Jeremy Scahill (Investigative journalist and Puffin Writing Fellow of the Nation Institute).

In January 2010, the UN announced it would hire a British private security firm to protect its staff in Afghanistan. This contradicted past statements made by UN officials that condemned PSCs and argued against their use.  As the UN's relationship with PSCs changes, some crucial questions need answering: how many private security contractors does the UN hire? What does the UN hire PSCs for? What means are being used to monitor them?  And more generally, can the UN be used as a vehicle to make PSCs accountable for their actions?

The Draft International Convention on the Regulation, Oversight and Monitoring Of Private Military and Security Companies has been circulating since 2009, with a UN working group prepared to announce the results of its consultations in September 2010. But even if the UN is able to ratify a convention, does it have the capacity to enforce it?

You can listen to the event as a six-part podcast.  Either go through our website or download them at iTunes by following these simple steps:

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6. You can then select which parts you would like to download and listen to

Here are some photos from the event:

alice powell associate at gpf introduces the speakers

Alice Powell, the GPF organiser of the event, introduces the speakers

james cockayne center on global counterterrorism cooperation

James Cockayne, our first speaker

jeremy scahill journalist and author

Jeremy Scahill, our third speaker

scott horton attornee in new york and contributor to harpers magazine

Scott Horton, our second speaker

diplomats academics journalists and ngos were all present

Members of the audience included diplomats, academics,NGOs and journalists

group shot

head of security undp

Head of UNDP Security

cora weiss hague appeal for peace

Cora Weiss, Co-organiser of the event

dr. rebecca e. johnson acronym institute for disarmament policy

Dr. Rebecca E. Johnson, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Policy

emmanuel bichet first secretary of permanent mission of switzerland

Emmanuel Bichet, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland

doug hostetter menonite central committee

Doug Hostetter, Menonite Central Commitee


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