THE MAGAZINE

Guidance for Working in Disaster Areas

By Teresa Anderson

ASIS has begun to form the technical committee that will develop the standards. ASIS has issued press releases asking for industry representatives to participate. Interested parties participated in a conference call in late April. By May, 201 people had volunteered to serve on the technical committee, representing public and private organizations such as service providers, nongovernmental entities, and human rights groups.

At this point, a draft of the ASIS PSC.01 standard guidance language was circulated to the committee for their review.

Over the course of five meetings held this summer, more than 1,000 comments were received from committee members.

The working group is now reviewing each comment and incorporating changes into the baseline draft. Once the process is complete, the draft standard is elevated to the technical committee for review. The technical committee will then finalize the draft before it is released to the public.

Under the standard, security company policies must be consistent with the principles of the Montreux Document and of the International Code of Conduct (ICoC). The Montreux Document, which was developed by the Swiss government and the International Red Cross, was finalized in 2008. The document, while not legally binding, includes information on the legal obligations and best practices that private contractors should be aware of when operating in armed conflicts. Signatories to the document pledge to uphold the human rights of the people they encounter in a war zone. The document also sets out the legal ramifications of ignoring these rights, including criminal liability.

Launched in November 2010, the ICoC builds on the foundation of the Montreux Document by asking signatory companies to establish internal monitoring systems to ensure that human rights are respected by private security contractors. Those signing the ICoC also agree to cooperate with national and international authorities in investigations of alleged abuses. Like the Montreux Document, the ICoC is focused on private security and military contractors working in areas of conflict.

The new ASIS standard will help ICoC signatories meet the requirements of the code, according to Mark DeWitt, deputy general counsel and vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Triple Canopy in Reston, Virginia. Triple Canopy provides security and protective services in high-conflict environments and has and helped to develop the ICoC.

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