Our glorious wars are increasingly privatised

Governments know this and embrace it. As our “brave boys” come home from war zones, mercenaries replace them. Accountability? What’s that?

With U.S. and Western military forces planning to gradually withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be an increasing demand for private military contractors to provide security in both politically-troubled countries.

As a result, the number of military contractors is set to reach 5,500 in Iraq alone, according to a U.N. Working Group on Mercenaries, prompting demands for a specific international instrument to regulate their activities.

The members of the Working Group have stressed the importance of establishing international guidelines and legislation when dealing with Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs).

Three of the five members of the Working Group on Mercenaries held a press conference Friday to discuss new legislation and the need for an international instrument to regulate PMSCs.

The Working Group has already submitted legislation on the subject, to the General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights Council. The issue is settling on a set of regulations that countries will agree on in a timely manner.

Established in July 2005, the Working Group keeps track of mercenaries and mercenary-related activities. Its mandate is to make suggestions to protect human rights in the face of such activities.

José Luis Gómez del Prado, chair of the Working Group, spoke of necessary change, and participation of member states.