The United Nations and private security companies: responsibility in conflict

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Martin, Steven
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The international community is undergoing a transformation in the way that security is managed. Once solely under the realm of the public sector, increasingly the private sector, by way of private security companies, is emerging to have an increasing influence and impact within the international community. It is a centre-stage phenomenon with the potential for major implications. The growth of the private security industry though has not been equally matched with an international response. This has left a gap in which many critical issues are emerging. The United Nations stands in a critical position to take a leadership role in addressing not only specific issues that have emerged and require due attention, but on a wider scale to understand the transformation of humanitarian and postconflict environments. This research addresses emerging trends, and evaluates responses and inherent limitations concerning the proliferation of private security within the international community. It sheds light upon the private security industry itself and how its growth is being facilitated by an increasing array of clients, including, although hushed, within the UN system. It explores this relationship and opens up the need for a multi-dimensional approach, which can no longer be ignored.The myths and realities concerning the private security industry have begun to be exposed. This research harnesses the momentum thus far to assist in pushing the discourse through fuller debate and underscoring the need for action.
Second semester University: University of Deusto, Bilbao.
mercenary troops, peacekeeping forces, private security, United Nations