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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Regional Workshop on the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 12-13 October 2011.

Global Efforts

Global Standards and Codes of Conduct

Governments, NGOs, and industry groups have worked to develop national and international standards for private security companies and codes of conduct for their operations. These multi-stakeholder efforts reflect the global scope of the military and security services industry and the need for transnational coordination in regulatory efforts. As the documents listed below reveal, most of these initiatives do not create binding obligations for private military and security companies or their clients, but instead attempt to establish common principles by which companies, their personnel, and consumers of private security services should operate.

More information can be found on the individual pages for each standard or code. 

Key Global Standards and Codes of Conduct

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

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Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and  Human Rights—an initiative by governments, NGOs, and  companies—provides guidance to extractives companies on  maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an  operating framework that ensures respect for human rights and  fundamental freedoms. The Voluntary Principles (VPs) are the only  human rights guidelines designed specifically for oil, gas, and mining companies.

ISO 18788:2015 - Management system for private security operations -- Requirements with guidance for use

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ISO 18788:2015 provides a framework for monitoring and reviewing private security companies aimed at improving their operations and incorporating respect for international law and human rights.  Submitted for approval in 2012 and published by ISO in 2015, this standard provides the principles and requirements for a security operations management system.  It provides a business and risk management framework for organizations conducting or contracting security operations and related activities and functions while demonstrating professional conduct, accountability to international law and human rights, and consistency with voluntary commitments. 

Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations - Requirements with Guidance

Author: ASIS International
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This Standard provides auditable criteria for quality assurance of Private Security Company (PSC) operations and services, consistent with pertinent legal and human rights obligations and good practices recognized in the Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. The development of this Standard was facilitated by the U.S. Department of Defense through a consensus-based process. The DOD was required by Congress through Section 833 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 to begin using business and operational standards in contracting and management of PSCs, with the intent of raising the overall standard of performance of these companies. This Standard fulfills that mandate. It has also been recognized by the American National Standards Institute and are achieving international recognition.

International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers

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International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) articulates a set of standards for private security companies to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law. This Code requires signatory companies to comply with these obligations regardless of the national laws and the legal situation in the countries concerned. The Code was finalized in October 2010 and first signed by private security companies in November 2010.

Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict

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The Montreux Document describes international humanitarian law and human rights law as it applies to the activities of private military and security companies during armed conflict. It also contains a compilation of good practices designed to assist states in implementing their obligations under international law through national measures. The Montreux Document was the result of a joint initiative between Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

Sarajevo Code of Conduct for Private Security Companies

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The Sarajevo Code of Conduct contains a set of basic standards of professionalism and service delivery for PMSCs. It covers a wide range of areas, including the selection and recruitment of workers, vocational training, health and safety at work, non-discrimination, and relations with clients, the police and other security companies. The Code was developed with support from SEESAC, Saferworld and the Centre for Security Studies (Bosnia), stakeholders from the Bosnian Government, client groups and international organizations.