Corporate Social Responsibility and Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
Most mining companies have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) along with Human Rights (HR) embedded in a policy identified in their capability statement and on their website. CSR is often referred to as 'Corporate Responsibility,’ ‘Corporate Accountability’ or ‘Corporate Citizenship. Human rights are relevant to the operation of a business in many facets of the business (economic, social and environmental). While primarily the responsibility for enforcement of international human rights lies with national governments, there is a growing acceptance that corporations also have a role to play. As corporate business grows across the globe, in doing so they have become more involved in delivering services previously provided by governments and so to has their responsibility. Being a good corporate citizen includes respecting the human rights of those who come into contact with the corporation in some way (employee, contractor, supplier, client, customer, and the community).
In 2005, the UN Secretary-General appointed a Special Representative on Business and Human Rights which its main tasks is to “identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and accountability for transnational corporations with regard to human rights. A range of laws require corporations to comply with human rights standards.
‘Jangilis’ (illegal miners) apprehended in Tanzania
Let’s look at one aspect of CSR and that is of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) or sometimes termed as the ‘Voluntary Principles’ (VP’s) and what it means for the mining industry operating in hostile environments. The VPSHR states;
“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, to carry weapons and to consider the defensive use of force.”
It is critical to formally define and assess the security requirements before implementation (Security Risk Assessment – SRA). The findings of the SRA should facilitate this process and build a business case for engaging the Private Security Contractor (PSC). The SRA should identify how the PSC will work to mitigate some of the risks identified.
The definition and assessment of these requirements begin to build the Service Level Agreement (SLA) that will serve as the basis of the contract agreement between the PSC and Company.
Private security is big business and not all have the experience and business acumen. Conducting thorough due diligence assessments of potential PSC partners is crucial to a company’s CSR and HR.
Adherence to the VPs should be a central consideration in selecting a PSC. The VPs should be written into the official contract and SLA between a company and its PSC.
PSC's 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 (UOF) and firearms.
PSC's should act in a lawful manner. They should exercise restraint and caution in a manner consistent with applicable international guidelines regarding the local UOF, including the UN Principles on the UOF 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 governments.
PSC’s should have policies regarding appropriate conduct and UOF (e.g. Rules of Engagement ROE). Practice under these policies should be capable of being monitored, investigated and prosecuted where appropriate by local law enforcement authorities. All allegations of human rights abuses by PSC's should be recorded and where credible allegations exist, should be properly investigated. Companies should actively monitor the status of investigations and press for their proper resolution.
Consistent with their function, PSC should provide preventative and defensive services only and should not engage in activities exclusively the responsibility of state military or law enforcement. Companies should designate the services, technology and equipment for defensive use only.
PSC should; Use force only when strictly necessary and to an extent proportional to the threat; and not violate the rights of individuals while exercising their HR's as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Where force is used, the PSC should investigate and report the incident to the Company. Where force is used, medical aid should be provided to injured persons, including alleged offenders.
Simon Grieves is the Proprietor of Ares Concepts, a former Police Veteran, Instructor in Use of Force, Counter Terrorism Operator and Instructor. Simon now practices in the private industry consulting to the mining and resources industries, NGO’s and enterprise venturing into politically unstable and hostile environments, himself operating in the worlds hot spots and as such Simon is able to make informed opinion based on personal observation and experience.
Ares Concepts enshrines the VPSHR in delivery of its training programs. Our Security Contractors are required to observe the VP’s when deployed on operations for our clients.
Ares Concepts can be contacted through Kangari Consulting Ltd for a free, no obligation discussion about meeting your needs.