Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) are a set of non-binding principles created to assist extractive companies to balance security concerns with human rights.  The VPs were launched in 2000 and are a tripartite multi-stakeholder initiative.  Participants include 7 states, 11 NGOs, 21 companies and 5 organizations with observer status (as of May 2012).

The VPs were developed in response to reports of human rights abuses allegedly committed by security providers contracted by the extractive industry.  The principles apply to interactions with both public and private security forces.  They are voluntary, but several companies, both participants and non-participants, have incorporated the VPs into their management systems and agreements with contractors.

The VPs include provisions on:

    • regular consultations between companies and host governments & local communities;
    • issues of proportionality and use of force;
    • improved company engagement for protection of human rights by their security contractors;
    • monitoring of progress of investigations into alleged abuses;
    • inclusion of appropriate provisions in contracts;
    • review of the background of private security that companies intend to employ.

 

Questions have been raised about lack of transparency, mainly because of the confidential nature of the dialogue on which the VPs are based.  There has also been concerns about the actual implementation of the principles and the participation criteria.  In 2009, the plenary adopted amended formal participation criteria and indicated a common understanding of the future direction of the VPs.  The changes include minimum requirements for participation, a dispute resolution process to raise concerns about the performance of a participant, clear accountability mechanisms, and some public reporting on implementation, or support of implementation, of the VPs.

The VPs plenary also welcomed greater focus on local implementation through “in-country processes” - multi-stakeholder forums to support implementation and integration of the VPs at a country level.  Countries mentioned with respect to such processes include Colombia, Indonesia and Nigeria.  At the moment, only the Colombia case study is publicly available.

A selection of key reports on the VPs is accessible below.

For further reports & articles, see the Resource Centre’s general section on the Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights

Official website and principles

Voluntary Principles homepage

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

[Español] Principios Voluntarios de Seguridad y Derechos Humanos

[Français] Principes volontaires sur la sécurité et les droits de l’homme

Reports and commentaries

[Español]

[Français]

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

Article
28 January 2001

Sincerity Test for Codes of Conduct

Author: Earthrights International

[comments on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights]

Read more

Article
12 March 2001
+ Français - Hide

Author: International Alert

De nombreux cas d'usages de sociétés privées de sécurité par des sociétés multinationales des secteurs pétroliers et des industries d'extraction minière…ont conduit à des atteintes aux droits de l'homme. Ces événements ont encouragé des sociétés...

Read more

Article
1 May 2006

[PDF] Overview of Company Efforts to Implement Voluntary Principles

Author: Informal Working Group, Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

The objective of this report is to provide companies with a summary of the experiences and learning to date associated with implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights… The information gathering process revealed...trends...

Read more

Article
1 October 2007

[PDF] full report: "Oil and Mining in Violent Places - Why voluntary codes for companies don’t guarantee human rights"

Author: Global Witness

Read more

Article
1 March 2008

[PDF] Implementing the Voluntary Principles: A Case Study of Security and Human Rights in Shell’s Worldwide Operations [scroll to pg. 15]

Author: Christos Mylonas (Security, Policy and Issues Manager for Shell), in Journal of International Peace Operations

Shell…has been a leading supporter of the Voluntary Principles since their inception. The Voluntary Principles are reflected in the Shell General Business Principles, which require Shell companies to respect the human rights of their employees and...

Read more

Article
1 April 2008
+ Español - Hide

Author: International Alert

Los Principios Voluntarios en Seguridad y Derechos Humanos (PV)...ofrecen guías prácticas para que las compañías que operan en zonas de conflicto o de gobernabilidad frágil se aseguren de que las fuerzas de seguridad pública o privada, que protegen...

Read more

Article
1 June 2008

[PDF] Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights: Performance Indicators

Author: International Alert

The Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights…provide guidance to companies operating in zones of conflict or fragile states so that they can ensure that security forces – public or private – protecting the companies’ facilities and premises...

Read more

Article
1 July 2008
+ Français - Hide

Author: Don McFetridge, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, Fonds d’affectation pour les défis sociaux et environnementaux du Japon, Anvil Mining

Cet ensemble d’outils pour la mise en oeuvre des Principes volontaires sur la sécurité et les droits...

Read more

Article
1 July 2008

[PDF] The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights: An Implementation Toolkit for Major Project Sites

Author: Don McFetridge - Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, Japan Environmental and Social Challenges Fund, Anvil Mining

...This toolkit on implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights [VPSHR] is a by-product of a project undertaken by MIGA’s Japan Social and Environmental Challenges Fund for Africa in collaboration with...Anvil Mining, to...

Read more

Article
1 August 2008

[PDF] Human Rights and Ethics in the Oil and Gas Industry

Author: International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA)

This report summarizes IPIECA activities on human rights and ethics, and highlights related efforts by IPIECA oil and gas member companies. These efforts are illustrated by representative case studies and related industryled partnership projects…Case...

Read more