Private Security

DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance leads the Learning Lab’s research on the incorporation of human rights considerations into government procurement of private security services. More specifically, this work is carried out by DCAF’s Business and Security Division.

Reports and Resources

Guidance Tool for Contracting Private Military and Security Services

DCAF has released a guidance tool entitled “A Contract Guidance Tool for Private Military and Security Services: Promoting Accountability and Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law” (Contract Guidance Tool).

The Contract Guidance Tool draws on leading international norms and standards to reflect the principles of responsible procurement and contracting practices and provides clear and practical guidelines for national contracting officers or procurement specialists. By translating knowledge and research into a practical and easy-to-use format, the Contract Guidance Tool provides implementation support for those individuals drafting, implementing, and monitoring contracts with PMSCs.

The Contract Guidance Tool is composed of two distinct sections:

  1. Part 1 covers the bidding and selection process and is complemented by a checklist that users can consult when undertaking a bidding and selection process of potential PSMC contractors.
  2. Part 2 offers guidance on the drafting of the contract itself. It includes an explanatory note and a model contract that reflects internationally recognized good practices, which can be adapted by the client as appropriate to context and needs.

The guidance tool is available here.

Overview Report on Human Rights and Procurement of Private Security

DCAF released a report entitled “Putting Private Security Regulation into Practice: Sharing Good Practices on Procurement and Contracting 2015-2016” in Spring 2016. This report is an overview of the procurement practices of four international organizations (OSCE, EU, and NATO) and three States (Switzerland, United States, and Australia). It provides background information and highlights good practices in relation to human rights at each stage of the procurement process.

The report is available here.

Private Security Governance and National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights articulate the obligations of States to protect human rights and the responsibilities of businesses to respect human rights. This duty to protect applies with regard to all business entities, including private security providers (PSPs). States thus have an obligation to implement regulatory and legislative measures to ensure PSPs respect human rights.

This supplement provides in-depth information on the private security sector actors involved in the process of developing a National Action Plan (NAP) on business and human rights. This includes states and other human rights stakeholders, such as national human rights institutions and civil society organisations as well as PSPs themselves. The supplement provides information on how to evaluate the human rights risks and impacts of ongoing and potential private security operations and services. It also provides insight and guidance on the analysis of existing legal frameworks and policy responses for the development of new laws, policies, and practices that respond specifically to the human rights risks related to the private security industry.

The supplement is available here.

Private Security Hub Leading Organisation

DCAF Business and Security Division

Around the world, the private sector strongly influences prospects for peace, security and socio-economic development. In the security sphere, the role of business can be particularly influential in contexts of fragile states and weak national governance. However, security sector reform processes and efforts to promote responsible business conduct are rarely aligned. As an impartial actor, DCAF seeks to bridge this gap through developing innovative multi-stakeholder solutions to security challenges. DCAF’s Business and Security Division helps the international community to develop relevant norms, standards and good practices on business and security, and support national stakeholders in implementing them, contributing to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

All of DCAF’s publications and tools regarding responsible business conduct are available on its Business and Security Hub.