Private Military Companies and Human Security: Privatising Protection

When people in the world’s conflict zones need protecting, it is the United Nations which is most frequently charged with ‘doing something’. Often short of soldiers, it should be given another option, to call on professional military companies to provide human security – for a fee.

The World Today Updated 26 October 2020 Published 1 August 2001 5 minute READ

David Shearer

The redeployment of mercenaries in this blighted nation would be an act of genuinely ethical foreign policy,’ noted Times correspondent, Sam Kiley after witnessing Sierra Leonean women and children being killed and their limbs being hacked off in January 1999.

This view shared by a growing and diverse group of aid workers, journalists, human rights advocates and even the higher echelons of the British and US armed forces – those closest to the world’s frontlines. Although seldom aired publicly, they wonder what there is to lose by using military companies to shield innocent civilians when there is no other choice.

The protection of civilians in war torn countries from violence, rape and looting, irrespective of the borders within which they live, was a key part of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s millennium address last year. His vision of ‘human security’ will be welcomed by those people suffering in the world’s most brutal conflicts.

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