Updated Toolkit “Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments” Now Available
Recently the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced an updated, second version of their Toolkit, Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments. Human Analytics posted on the first version, which was released a year ago. In a press release, DCAF and ICRC describe the Toolkit as a “guidance document structured around real-life security and human rights challenges faced by companies operating in complex environments.” It identifies operational challenges and provides good practices and recommendations to address them, as well as practical tools, such as checklists and case studies. Based on extensive desk- and field-research and interviews, the Toolkit can be of use to both field and headquarter personnel and is user-friendly. Users need not necessarily read through the entire Toolkit, but rather can click on a particular challenge they face, whereupon they will be linked to the page with recommended good practices to address that challenge.
In addition to chapter updates on working with host governments and public security forces, readers of this blog may be particularly interested in a new third chapter, Working with private security forces. That chapter identifies ten distinct challenges that companies may face when working with private security forces, namely in the areas of risk and impact assessment, labor standards, local procurement, vetting, training, relationship between public and private security, security equipment and use of force, oversight and accountability, and human rights abuses.
Each of these challenges is further elaborated. To take one example, under the heading “bids and contracts” additional challenges include that “companies may find it difficult to properly assess quality and cost considerations when selecting private security providers;” “human rights responsibilities and potential liabilities of both the company and the PSP [private security provider] may not be clear;” and “in the absence of implementation guidance, PSPs may not fully perform according to international standards, despite their inclusion in contracts.” Good practices to address each challenge are detailed. For example in the case of the latter, they include recommendations such as developing policies, procedures, and guidelines defining the roles and responsibilities of PSPs; ensuring the PSPs understand the performance objectives detailed in the contract related to respect for national and international laws; complementing training provided by the PSPs to its personnel as needed; conducting regular performance evaluations and meeting with the PSP’s management to review findings; and developing options to address non-conformance of the PSP with contract requirements. Each good practice is described in greater detail, with references and links to key relevant provisions in guidance documents provided. Many of these guidance documents will be well-known to security providers, such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, ANSI/ASIS PSC.1, the Montreux Document, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Others may be a bit less familiar to private security providers, but nevertheless contain invaluable guidance. All of these documents are available in full under the General Guidance section of the website housing the Toolkit.
The Toolkit is embedded in a larger Security and Human Rights Knowledge Hub. Among other things, the Hub collects policy frameworks, guidance documents, case studies, and tools that support companies addressing the challenges of operating in complex environments. In particular, the Hub supports companies seeking to implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, to which DCAF and ICRC are official observers. However, the Hub is also meant to be a resource to other companies, beyond the extractives industry, which work in complex environments, as well as the public and private stakeholders with whom they engage. The Knowledge and Toolkit are living products to be updated regularly. Users are encouraged to comment and contribute information and materials to both.