Alarming rise in mercenary activities

The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries warned Tuesday of an alarming resurgence of the use of mercenaries in armed conflict –“often in new and novel ways”. The expert panel also noted in a report* to the UN General Assembly that the growing activities of private military and security companies raise numerous human rights challenges, and called for international regulation.

The UN independent expert noted that these companies continue to undertake an ever-larger range of activities in an increasing number of countries around the world. It is difficult to gauge the extent of the private military and security industry worldwide, with estimates varying from $20 billion to $100 billion per year.

However, Ms. Patel recalled that spending on contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to exceed $206 billion in 2011, according to the August 2011 report by the US Commission on Wartime Contracting. Also, in 2010, the number of contractor employees hired by the US Departments of Defense and State and USAID exceeded 260,000, in contrast with the 9,200 contractors hired by the US military during the first Gulf War.

“This is the tip of the iceberg, because private military and security companies also operate in a variety of other situations ranging from drug eradication programs in Colombia to post-conflict reconstruction programs, she said. “And it is not just governments who take advantage of their services, but also NGOs, private companies and the United Nations.”


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One Response to Alarming rise in mercenary activities

  1. Pingback: Blackwater Watch » Blog Archive » Alarming rise in mercenary activities « Understanding Empire

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