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Private Security Companies: An NGO perspective PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Private Security Companies: An NGO perspective. Geoffrey Dennis CARE International UK. Structure of presentation:. Private Security Company (PSC) roles in providing security PSC attempts to get involved in humanitarian action & reconstruction

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Private Security Companies: An NGO perspective

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Private Security Companies:An NGO perspective

Geoffrey Dennis

CARE International UK

Structure of presentation:

  • Private Security Company (PSC) roles in providing security

  • PSC attempts to get involved in humanitarian action & reconstruction

  • PSCs in the context of wider trends impacting on NGO operations & objectives

  • Conclusions

PSC roles in providing security for aid operations

Aid based on community


& humanitarian principles


Aid based on deterrence

CARE Safety & Security Policy &acceptance-based operations

  • CARE Global Security Unit

    • Country Security Assessments

    • Programme Security Assessments

    • Staff training

    • Evaluations

  • CARE Country Office Security Strategies & Capacities

  • Joint approaches with other agencies

PSC attempts to get involved in humanitarian action & reconstruction

  • “Private security companies are out to raid the humanitarian space. We want a part of your market.”

  • Quote from PSC industry employee, August 2006

Deterrence-based aid operationsCharacteristics

  • Different identity and relationship to beneficiaries & local populations

  • Affinity with aggressive ‘force posture’ of contested military intervention (even if weaponry is low visibility)

  • Likely to be perceived as, or become, a party to the fighting

  • Blurs the line between security & aid work

  • Frequently driven by short-term donor agenda, not long-term sustainability or local needs/ownership

Why are deterrence-based aid operations problematic?

  • Fosters climate of distance, enmity & fear between aid provider & local populations

  • Undermines scope for access negotiated on the basis of humanitarian principles and community acceptance

  • Undermines aid effectiveness – as deterrence is associated with top-down imposition, not local participation & ownership

  • Difficulty of returning to longer-term & civilian-led aid efforts in post-conflict phase

PSCs in the context of wider conflict/security trends

  • Civil conflict – high levels of IHL violations

  • Protracted conflict – cycles of violence, war economies etc

  • Increased levels of deliberate political targeting of aid workers

  • …Are PSCs the answer?


  • PSC bubble emerged in Iraq & Afghanistan – search for new markets

  • Need to critically assess wider implications of PSC beyond ‘quick fix’ gap-filling role

    • Providing security: ‘Last resort’ option – requires legal regulation at national & international levels

    • Aid delivery: Not a tenable option – Erodes humanitarian space & potential for sustainable, civilian-led reconstruction

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