Global Policy Forum

UN and PMSCs Respond to GPF Report

In July 2012, GPF released an investigative report (executive summary) examining the use of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) by the UN.

The report reveals how the UN has dramatically increased its use of PMSCs in recent years, hiring them for a wide array of “security services” and giving them considerable influence over its security policies. It also reveals that the UN has no process to vet the companies and that UN leadership has been closing its eyes to company misconduct for more than twenty years. GPF believes that these companies drive a UN policy of “bunkerization” in field missions, cutting the organization off from the people it is supposed to serve. In the end, the companies not only discredit the UN and harm its work, they also are likely to result in more insecurity.

The report received wide media coverage, with more than 100 articles in several languages as well as a number  of television and radio broadcasts. Articles appeared in InterPress Service, Xinhua News Agency, the BBC, the Huffington Post, MediaGlobal and CorpWatch among many other outlets.

In the afternoon of the launch on July 10, the Spokesperson for the Secretary General sent an email to all UN correspondents , explaining the organization’s response to issues the report had raised. This is a rare step, taken only when the SG’s office thinks the matter requires special attention.

Subsequently, two of the companies the report had singled out as especially egregious issued statements seeking to “correct” the record. DynCorp and G4S’ responses are available on our website.

UN Under Secretary General Gregory Starr, the head of the Department for Safety and Security, wrote to GPF to explain his policies. We have made his letter as well as our response public. GPF urges the UN to launch a broad-ranging inquiry into the costs, governance implications, policy impact and reputational issues posed by PMSCs.


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