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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

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Private Security Companies:An NGO perspective

Geoffrey Dennis

CARE International UK

structure of presentation
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
PSC roles in providing security for aid operations

Aid based on community

acceptance/ownership

& humanitarian principles

vs.

Aid based on deterrence

care safety security policy acceptance based operations
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
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 operations characteristics
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
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
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?
conclusions
Conclusions
  • 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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