Humanitarian action and private security companies: Opening the debate

Aid agencies are among a number of actors – governments and corporations being notable other examples – that are, increasingly, using private security companies in conflict situations. Whereas there has been considerable debate about the relationship between aid agencies and the military with regard to security management, little attention has been given to the increasing connections with the commercial sector in the form of private security companies. This report aims to open that debate.

 It represents a preliminary attempt to assess the use of private security companies by aid agencies and to raise a number of the key issues. At this stage, definitive conclusions and recommendation would be premature on what is a relatively new issue. The aim of the report is merely to open the debate.