UN welcomes Armenia commitment to combat mercenaries and private security companies News
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UN welcomes Armenia commitment to combat mercenaries and private security companies

UN experts Monday welcomed Armenia’s commitment to combat the use of mercenaries and private security companies. The Armenian government made the commitment during an eight-day visit by UN experts to the country. UN experts aimed to investigate legal frameworks in Armenia after the ratification of the International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries during the visit.

Armenia’s government invited UN experts into the country for the eight-day visit. During the visit, the UN working group gathered information on the laws and procedures criminalizing mercenary activities. They also focused on the activities of private security companies and their impact on human rights.

Following the visit, the UN experts said, “Armenia stands out in its efforts to integrate the 1989 UN Convention on Mercenaries in its domestic legislation, specifically in Article 147 of the Criminal Code which provides for a definition of mercenarism in compliance with international law.” The experts applauded Armenia’s willingness to invite the UN into their country and said the move “demonstrates its commitment to human rights.” The UN experts strongly recommended the establishment of an independent oversight mechanism to monitor and oversee the private security sector.

During the working group’s mission, Armenian news sources reported that Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Vahe Gevorgyan said that mercenarism and threats stemming from it have a regional character. As evidence of that, Gevorgyan pointed to the widespread use of mercenaries by  Azerbaijan during the war unleashed against the people of  Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. He said it is necessary to rely on international bodies, such as the UN, to resolve such conflict.

The UN experts also recognized Armenia for initiating cyber security reform. The experts urged the government to “ensure that laws regulating the role of the private security in cyber operations [are] human-rights compliant.”

The UN experts are set to release a full report detailing their findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2023.