Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway, companies in the extractive and energy sectors (“Companies”), and non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), all with an interest in human rights and corporate social responsibility, have engaged in a dialogue on security and human rights.
The participants recognize the importance of the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world and the constructive role business and civil society — including non-governmental organizations, labor/trade unions, and local communities — can play in advancing these goals. Through this dialogue, the participants have developed the following set of voluntary principles to guide Companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Mindful of these goals, the participants agree to the importance of continuing this dialogue and keeping under review these principles to ensure their continuing relevance and efficacy.
- Acknowledging that security is a fundamental need, shared by individuals, communities, businesses, and governments alike, and acknowledging the difficult security issues faced by Companies operating globally, we recognize that security and respect for human rights can and should be consistent;
- Understanding that governments have the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights and that all parties to a conflict are obliged to observe applicable international humanitarian law, we recognize that we share the common goal of promoting respect for human rights, particularly those set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international humanitarian law;
- Emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the integrity of company personnel and property, Companies recognize a commitment to act in a manner consistent with the laws of the countries within which they are present, to be mindful of the highest applicable international standards, and to promote the observance of applicable international law enforcement principles (e.g., the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials), particularly with regard to the use of force;
- Taking note of the effect that Companies' activities may have on local communities, we recognize the value of engaging with civil society and host and home governments to contribute to the welfare of the local community while mitigating any potential for conflict where possible;
- Understanding that useful, credible information is a vital component of security and human rights, we recognize the importance of sharing and understanding our respective experiences regarding, inter alia, best security practices and procedures, country human rights situations, and public and private security, subject to confidentiality constraints;
- Acknowledging that home governments and multilateral institutions may, on occasion, assist host governments with security sector reform, developing institutional capacities and strengthening the rule of law, we recognize the important role Companies and civil society can play in supporting these efforts;
We hereby express our support for the following voluntary principles regarding security and human rights in the extractive sector, which fall into three categories, risk assessment, relations with public security, and relations with private security.