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Date: Sun, 23 Mar 97 00:42:25 CST
From: rich%pencil@cmsa.Berkeley.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: UN Report on Mercenaries & Human Rights

/** disarm.armstra: 391.0 **/
** Topic: UN report on use of mercenaries **
** Written 8:38 AM Mar 21, 1997 by disenber@cdi.org in cdp:disarm.armstra **
From: David Isenberg <disenber@cdi.org>

Report on mercenaries presented to human rights commission

United Nations press release HR/CN/764, 14 March 1997

As I previously mentioned the UN recently released the "Report on the question of the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, submitted by Mr. Enrique Ballesteros, Special Rapporteur pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/5 and Commission decision 1996/113"

This report E/CN.4/1997/24, dated 20 February, was recently presented to the Human Rights Commission (see below). I have a draft copy of the report but as of this morning it is not yet online. I assume it will be sometime in the hopefully not too far distant future. Keep checking the UN web site at http://www.un.org

David Isenberg

GENEVA, 13 March (UN Information Service) -- Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur Enrique Bernales Ballesteros called this afternoon for national and international steps to curb the use of mercenaries.

Presenting a report to the Commission as it debated the exercise of the right to self-determination, Mr. Bernales Ballesteros said new legislation should make the "recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries" illegal, as such activities violated human rights, sovereignty and the self-determination of peoples. He added that hundreds of European and African mercenaries were being used by the Zairian government against fighters led by Laurent Kabila in the east of the country, and called for "urgent steps" to remove mercenaries from the region.

Also taking the floor to address the question of self-determination were the representatives of Iraq and Portugal, as well as the following non-governmental organizations: the International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples, the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization and the Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation.

The Commission also continued to hear reports on Israel's occupation of Arab territories, with the representative of Bangladesh expressing concern over Israeli measures which threatened to "pull the Middle East back into a spiral of uncertainty and chaos".

The representatives of Morocco, Azerbaijan, Syria and Armenia exercised their right of reply.

Report on Use of Mercenaries

As it continued to consider the exercise of the right to self-determination, the Commission took up a report from its Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries, Enrique Bernales Ballesteros (document E/CN.4/1997/24). The report was prepared according to Commission resolutions 1995/5 and 1196/113. These resolutions, among other things, reaffirmed that the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries should be considered of grave concern and urged all States to prevent mercenaries from using any part of their territory to destabilize any sovereign States. States which had yet to accede to or ratify the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing, and Training of Mercenaries were urged to take early action to do so.

The Special Rapporteur concludes in the document that mercenary activities are a form of violence used in the last 40 years to hamper the exercise the right to self-determination of peoples and to violate human rights. Mercenary activity has been increasing and has been observed in serious criminal activity, including terrorist attacks and drug and arms trafficking.

The stability of constitutionally established governments and international peace and security, along with the enjoyment of human rights and the self-determination of peoples, are seriously impaired by mercenary activities, continues the report. Mercenary activity and careers should be banned and existing international provisions relating to mercenaries to ensure that these criminal acts are discontinued.

The Special Rapporteur recounts that a visit to South Africa gave him an opportunity to ascertain that mercenary activity linked to apartheid no longer exists. However, mercenary activities in Africa are increasingly taking the form of security companies which provide military training and security services in return for money and mining and energy concessions.

Drawing attention to the connection between terrorism and mercenary activities, the Special Rapporteur calls on the Commission to reaffirm its condemnation of these activities and suggest to all States to incorporate practical measures in their national legislation to prohibit the use of their territory for the recruitment, training, assembly, transit, financing and use of mercenaries.

Presenting his report, Special Rapporteur ENRIQUE BERNALES BALLESTEROS said the use of mercenaries in various parts of the world was a persistent problem. Such activity should be prohibited in international and national law, with existing loopholes closed.

During his visit to South Africa, he had met with the chairman of Executive Outcomes, a legally registered company which illustrated the new form of mercenary activity described in his report, said the Special Rapporteur. This company reflected a new model of company selling security services on international markets.

Mr. BERNALES BALLESTEROS said there were hundreds of European and African mercenaries being used by the Zairean government in the east of the country to fight the Democratic Alliance of Laurent Kabila. The violence unleashed in eastern Zaire was a very serious test for peace, and urgent steps should be taken to remove these mercenaries from the region.