The Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, companies
in the extractive and energy sectors ("Companies"), and non-governmental
organizations, all with an interest in human rights and corporate social
responsibility, have engaged in a dialogue on security and human rights.
The participants recognize the importance of the promotion and protection
of human rights throughout the world and the constructive role business
and civil society -- including non-governmental organizations, labor/trade
unions, and local communities -- can play in advancing these goals.
Through this dialogue, the participants have developed the following
set of voluntary principles to guide Companies in maintaining the safety
and security of their operations within an operating framework that
ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Mindful of
these goals, the participants agree to the importance of continuing
this dialogue and keeping under review these principles to ensure their
continuing relevance and efficacy.
Acknowledging that security is a fundamental need, shared by
individuals, communities, businesses, and governments alike, and acknowledging
the difficult security issues faced by Companies operating globally,
we recognize that security and respect for human rights can and should
Understanding that governments have the primary responsibility
to promote and protect human rights and that all parties to a conflict
are obliged to observe applicable international humanitarian law, we
recognize that we share the common goal of promoting respect for human
rights, particularly those set forth in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, and international humanitarian law;
Emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the integrity of
company personnel and property, Companies recognize a commitment to
act in a manner consistent with the laws of the countries within which
they are present, to be mindful of the highest applicable international
standards, and to promote the observance of applicable international
law enforcement principles (e.g., the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms
by Law Enforcement Officials), particularly with regard to the use of
Taking note of the effect that Companies' activities may have
on local communities, we recognize the value of engaging with civil
society and host and home governments to contribute to the welfare of
the local community while mitigating any potential for conflict where
Understanding that useful, credible information is a vital
component of security and human rights, we recognize the importance
of sharing and understanding our respective experiences regarding, inter
alia, best security practices and procedures, country human rights
situations, and public and private security, subject to confidentiality
Acknowledging that home governments and multilateral institutions
may, on occasion, assist host governments with security sector reform,
developing institutional capacities and strengthening the rule of law,
we recognize the important role Companies and civil society can play
in supporting these efforts;
We hereby express our support for the following voluntary principles
regarding security and human rights in the extractive sector, which
fall into three categories, risk assessment, relations with public security,
and relations with private security:
The ability to assess accurately risks present in a Company's operating
environment is critical to the security of personnel, local communities
and assets; the success of the Company's short and long-term operations;
and to the promotion and protection of human rights. In some circumstances,
this is relatively simple; in others, it is important to obtain extensive
background information from different sources; monitoring and adapting
to changing, complex political, economic, law enforcement, military
and social situations; and maintaining productive relations with local
communities and government officials.
The quality of complicated risk assessments is largely dependent on
the assembling of regularly updated, credible information from a broad
range of perspectives -- local and national governments, security firms,
other companies, home governments, multilateral institutions, and civil
society knowledgeable about local conditions. This information may be
most effective when shared to the fullest extent possible (bearing in
mind confidentiality considerations) between Companies, concerned civil
society, and governments.
Bearing in mind these general principles, we recognize that accurate,
effective risk assessments should consider the following factors:
- Identification of security risks. Security risks can result
from political, economic, civil or social factors. Moreover, certain
personnel and assets may be at greater risk than others. Identification
of security risks allows a Company to take measures to minimize risk
and to assess whether Company actions may heighten risk.
- Potential for violence. Depending on the environment, violence
can be widespread or limited to particular regions, and it can develop
with little or no warning. Civil society, home and host government
representatives, and other sources should be consulted to identify
risks presented by the potential for violence. Risk assessments should
examine patterns of violence in areas of Company operations for educational,
predictive, and preventative purposes.
- Human rights records. Risk assessments should consider the
available human rights records of public security forces, paramilitaries,
local and national law enforcement, as well as the reputation of private
security. Awareness of past abuses and allegations can help Companies
to avoid recurrences as well as to promote accountability. Also, identification
of the capability of the above entities to respond to situations of
violence in a lawful manner (i.e., consistent with applicable international
standards) allows Companies to develop appropriate measures in operating
- Rule of law. Risk assessments should consider the local prosecuting
authority and judiciary's capacity to hold accountable those responsible
for human rights abuses and for those responsible for violations of
international humanitarian law in a manner that respects the rights
of the accused.
- Conflict analysis. Identification of and understanding the
root causes and nature of local conflicts, as well as the level of
adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law standards
by key actors, can be instructive for the development of strategies
for managing relations between the Company, local communities, Company
employees and their unions, and host governments. Risk assessments
should also consider the potential for future conflicts.
- Equipment transfers. Where Companies provide equipment (including
lethal and non-lethal equipment) to public or private security, they
should consider the risk of such transfers, any relevant export licensing
requirements, and the feasibility of measures to mitigate foreseeable
negative consequences, including adequate controls to prevent misappropriation
or diversion of equipment which may lead to human rights abuses. In
making risk assessments, companies should consider any relevant past
incidents involving previous equipment transfers.
INTERACTIONS BETWEEN COMPANIES AND PUBLIC SECURITY
Although governments have the primary role of maintaining law and
order, security and respect for human rights, Companies have an interest
in ensuring that actions taken by governments, particularly the actions
of public security providers, are consistent with the protection and
promotion of human rights. In cases where there is a need to supplement
security provided by host governments, Companies may be required or
expected to contribute to, or otherwise reimburse, the costs of protecting
Company facilities and personnel borne by public security. While public
security is expected to act in a manner consistent with local and national
laws as well as with human rights standards and international humanitarian
law, within this context abuses may nevertheless occur.
In an effort to reduce the risk of such abuses and to promote respect
for human rights generally, we have identified the following voluntary
principles to guide relationships between Companies and public security
regarding security provided to Companies:
Deployment and Conduct
- Companies should consult regularly with host governments and local
communities about the impact of their security arrangements on those
- Companies should communicate their policies regarding ethical conduct
and human rights to public security providers, and express their desire
that security be provided in a manner consistent with those policies
by personnel with adequate and effective training.
- Companies should encourage host governments to permit making security
arrangements transparent and accessible to the public, subject to
any overriding safety and security concerns.
Consultation and Advice
- The primary role of public security should be to maintain the rule
of law, including safeguarding human rights and deterring acts that
threaten Company personnel and facilities. The type and number of
public security forces deployed should be competent, appropriate and
proportional to the threat.
- Equipment imports and exports should comply with all applicable
law and regulations. Companies that provide equipment to public security
should take all appropriate and lawful measures to mitigate any foreseeable
negative consequences, including human rights abuses and violations
of international humanitarian law.
- Companies should use their influence to promote the following principles
with public security: (a) individuals credibly implicated in human
rights abuses should not provide security services for Companies;
(b) force should be used only when strictly necessary and to an extent
proportional to the threat; and (c) the rights of individuals should
not be violated while exercising the right to exercise freedom of
association and peaceful assembly, the right to engage in collective
bargaining, or other related rights of Company employees as recognized
by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration
on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
- In cases where physical force is used by public security, such incidents
should be reported to the appropriate authorities and to the Company.
Where force is used, medical aid should be provided to injured persons,
including to offenders.
Responses to Human Rights Abuses
- Companies should hold structured meetings with public security
on a regular basis to discuss security, human rights and related work-place
safety issues. Companies should also consult regularly with other
Companies, host and home governments, and civil society to discuss
security and human rights. Where Companies operating in the same region
have common concerns, they should consider collectively raising those
concerns with the host and home governments.
- In their consultations with host governments, Companies should take
all appropriate measures to promote observance of applicable international
law enforcement principles, particularly those reflected in the UN
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles
on the Use of Force and Firearms.
- Companies should support efforts by governments, civil society and
multilateral institutions to provide human rights training and education
for public security as well as their efforts to strengthen state institutions
to ensure accountability and respect for human rights.
INTERACTIONS BETWEEN COMPANIES AND PRIVATE SECURITY
- Companies should record and report any credible allegations of
human rights abuses by public security in their areas of operation
to appropriate host government authorities. Where appropriate, Companies
should urge investigation and that action be taken to prevent any
- Companies should actively monitor the status of investigations and
press for their proper resolution.
- Companies should, to the extent reasonable, monitor the use of equipment
provided by the Company and to investigate properly situations in
which such equipment is used in an inappropriate manner.
- Every effort should be made to ensure that information used as the
basis for allegations of human rights abuses is credible and based
on reliable evidence. The security and safety of sources should be
protected. Additional or more accurate information that may alter
previous allegations should be made available as appropriate to concerned
Where host governments are unable or unwilling to provide adequate
security to protect a Company's personnel or assets, it may be necessary
to engage private security providers as a complement to public security.
In this context, private security may have to coordinate with state
forces, (law enforcement, in particular) to carry weapons and to consider
the defensive local use of force. Given the risks associated with such
activities, we recognize the following voluntary principles to guide
private security conduct:
To minimize the risk that private security exceed their authority as providers
of security, and to promote respect for human rights generally, we have
developed the following additional voluntary principles and guidelines:
- Private security should observe the policies of the contracting
Company regarding ethical conduct and human rights; the law and professional
standards of the country in which they operate; emerging best practices
developed by industry, civil society, and governments; and promote
the observance of international humanitarian law.
- Private security should maintain high levels of technical and professional
proficiency, particularly with regard to the local use of force and
- Private security should act in a lawful manner. They should exercise
restraint and caution in a manner consistent with applicable international
guidelines regarding the local use of force, including the UN Principles
on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and
the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, as well as with
emerging best practices developed by Companies, civil society, and
- Private security should have policies regarding appropriate conduct
and the local use of force (e.g., rules of engagement). Practice under
these policies should be capable of being monitored by Companies or,
where appropriate, by independent third parties. Such monitoring should
encompass detailed investigations into allegations of abusive or unlawful
acts; the availability of disciplinary measures sufficient to prevent
and deter; and procedures for reporting allegations to relevant local
law enforcement authorities when appropriate.
- All allegations of human rights abuses by private security should
be recorded. Credible allegations should be properly investigated.
In those cases where allegations against private security providers
are forwarded to the relevant law enforcement authorities, Companies
should actively monitor the status of investigations and press for
their proper resolution.
- Consistent with their function, private security should provide
only preventative and defensive services and should not engage in
activities exclusively the responsibility of state military or law
enforcement authorities. Companies should designate services, technology
and equipment capable of offensive and defensive purposes as being
for defensive use only.
- Private security should (a) not employ individuals credibly implicated
in human rights abuses to provide security services; (b) use force
only when strictly necessary and to an extent proportional to the
threat; and (c) not violate the rights of individuals while exercising
the right to exercise freedom of association and peaceful assembly,
to engage in collective bargaining, or other related rights of Company
employees as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
- In cases where physical force is used, private security should properly
investigate and report the incident to the Company. Private security
should refer the matter to local authorities and/or take disciplinary
action where appropriate. Where force is used, medical aid should
be provided to injured persons, including to offenders.
- Private security should maintain the confidentiality of information
obtained as a result of its position as security provider, except
where to do so would jeopardize the principles contained herein.
- Where appropriate, Companies should include the principles outlined
above as contractual provisions in agreements with private security
providers and ensure that private security personnel are adequately
trained to respect the rights of employees and the local community.
To the extent practicable, agreements between Companies and private
security should require investigation of unlawful or abusive behavior
and appropriate disciplinary action. Agreements should also permit
termination of the relationship by Companies where there is credible
evidence of unlawful or abusive behavior by private security personnel.
- Companies should consult and monitor private security providers
to ensure they fulfil their obligation to provide security in a manner
consistent with the principles outlined above. Where appropriate,
Companies should seek to employ private security providers that are
representative of the local population.
- Companies should review the background of private security they
intend to employ, particularly with regard to the use of excessive
force. Such reviews should include an assessment of previous services
provided to the host government and whether these services raise concern
about the private security firm's dual role as a private security
provider and government contractor.
- Companies should consult with other Companies, home country officials,
host country officials, and civil society regarding experiences with
private security. Where appropriate and lawful, Companies should facilitate
the exchange of information about unlawful activity and abuses committed
by private security providers.