ICJ and IBAHRI call for accountability for mercenary predatory recruitment and serious human rights abuses

by | Sep 22, 2023 | Advocacy, News

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) called the Human Rights Council’s attention to the serious abuses amounting to crimes under international law linked to mercenary activities in the Sahel region of Africa, including allegations of unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, and enforced disappearances. Read the full statement below.

Oral Statement of the ICJ and the IBAHRI on the recruitment and activities of mercenaries and private military and security companies

“Mr President,

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) deplore the practices of predatory recruitment of people usually in vulnerable situations, such as detainees, and the harsh and risky conditions of service they endure as described in the report of the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries (A/HRC/54/29).

The report describes opaque and deceitful contract terms, and orders to take direct part in hostilities in foreign countries without their prior consent. These practices sometimes amount to forced labour and debt bondage, in addition to human trafficking.

We remind the States with jurisdiction over persons and practices of their obligation to protect the human rights of persons in such vulnerable situations. ICJ and IBAHRI especially calls this Council’s attention to the serious abuses amounting to crimes under international law linked to mercenary activities in the Sahel region of Africa, including allegations of unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, and enforced disappearances.

We are deeply concerned at repeated allegations that some of these serious human rights abuses are committed by the so-called Wagner Group and call States concerned to promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate these allegations and bring the perpetrators to justice.

ICJ and IBAHRI support the Working Group’s recommendations for renewal of the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on an international regulatory framework on private military and security companies and call all States to constructively participate in its work (para. 42 g).

Thank you.”

For more information, contact:

Carlos Lopez Hurtado, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser, e: carlos.lopez@icj.org

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