ISOA Applauds the Signing of a Landmark Code of Conduct

Trade Association Endorses a Voluntary Code to Address Responsible Oversight and Accountability of Private Security Companies

Washington, DC – The International Stability Operations Association (“ISOA”), a trade association that promotes high operational and ethical standards among its membership including more than twenty private security firms, today strongly endorsed the first-ever International Code of Conduct to ensure better transparency and accountability within the stability operations industry. The code was signed earlier today in Geneva, Switzerland, by more than fifty private security companies, including many ISOA Member companies. Among the speakers at the event were Swiss State Secretary Peter Maurer, Triple Canopy CEO Ingacio Balderas, G4S Director of Public Affairs Michael Clarke, Legal Advisor to the U.S. Department of State Harold Honju Koh, and Devon Chaffee of Human Rights First.

In particular, this voluntary Code of Conduct highlights private security contractors’ commitment to respecting human rights and the rule of law in conflict zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. For example, it offers guidelines for the rules for the use of force and requires standards for recruitment, vetting, training, management of weapons, and internal control mechanisms. It also requires companies to ensure their employees “take all necessary steps to avoid the use of force” and explicitly bans mistreatment of detainees, forced labor, and sexual exploitation.

“ISOA welcomes this code of conduct,” said ISOA President Doug Brooks. “Members of our organization have worked for more than two years on the Code along with other industry, government, civil society representatives to craft a comprehensive, substantive agreement that provides for accountability and oversight for private security companies working in conflict, post conflict and disaster relief operations. We are already working with our partners on the critical next step – the development of an international accountability mechanism that will ensure credibility and transparency in the process. Non-compliance with this code endangers not only our missions but also human life, and it is my strong belief that ISOA members will take this code to heart.”