SHOC seminar: The Contemporary Challenges of the use of Private Military and Security Companies at Sea

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In November 2022, the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries presented report A/77/268 to the UN General Assembly examining violations of human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by private military and security companies (PMSC) in the maritime context. In this SHOC Seminar, Dr Sorcha MacLeod will present the report and highlight some of the challenges presented by the use of PMSC at sea. 

In recent years private military and security companies (PMSC) have increasingly been deployed at sea as a direct response to the challenge of piracy in multiple geographical regions, and often in conjunction with public security actors. The isolated nature of the marine environment and non-existent or weak regulatory frameworks create a situation where the lack of monitoring and oversight enable human rights abuses of seafarers perpetrated by private security personnel to flourish. Similarly, labour rights of private security personnel themselves are also at substantial risk. Nevertheless, accountability for violations is absent. The proliferation and weak regulation and management of weapons at sea are also of concern.


Dr Sorcha MacLeod is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Private Governance (CEPRI) at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. She is also an independent human rights expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council under its Special Procedures to the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries. She specialises in the intersecting public/private human rights regulation and governance of business actors, particularly in the security and military sectors. Her research concentrates on the evolution and effectiveness of international and national human rights regulation of private military and security companies (PMSC) and mercenaries, particularly around marginalized groups, including women, children, migrants, older persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQI+ persons.


Please register no later than the 16 June 2023 at 10:00 using this registration form