Summary of the activities of the International Humanitarian Law and Disarmament Unit (April - June 2023)

The Working Group on Security & Military Companies

Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights participated in the fourth session of the Open-ended intergovernmental working group (IGWG) to elaborate on the content of an international regulatory framework, without prejudging the nature thereof, relating to the activities of private military and security companies (PMSCs), held from 17 to 21 April 2023, in Palais des Nations, room XX, and virtually via the Zoom application. zoom.

Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights made an oral intervention in the general discussion of the session, where it reiterated its call for the need to put in place a binding framework A law to ensure the protection of civilians and civil society, and referred to the Wagner Group and its activities in Central Africa, Mali and elsewhere, highlighting reports from these regions of human rights violations including arbitrary arrests and secret detention of people. On November 9, 2022, Maat detected 162 human rights violations committed by the Malian defense and security forces and foreign military units - in clear reference to the Wagner Group, which is an increase of 33 % over the previous quarter; The use of special forces in popular conflicts expanded to include China and the Gulf states, bringing the number of security companies registered in China to 5,000. It further noted that while the revised draft second instrument was a good start for future binding instruments, it noted with concern that there was a gap in accountability and remedies for victims. With regard to the illegal transfer or trafficking of arms by private military and security companies, Maat suggested including provisions to define responsibility in the matter of preventing arms transfers both in the preamble and in the form of an article.

Maat also participated in the second draft Instrument of the International Regulatory Framework on the Regulation, Monitoring and Oversight of the Activities of PMSCs, through its comment on the preamble. In its comment, Maat expressed its concern about the shortcomings and gaps found in the second draft instrument that prevents it from becoming legally binding for member states in the future. According to Maat, the second draft instrument does not address PMSCs’ illicit arms transfers or trade, which would lead to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law as well as regional destabilization. Maat also stressed the need to include the PMSCs involved in illicit arms transfers or trade thereof in the draft accountability instrument. Maat concluded its commentary by proposing new paragraphs on the issues related to illicit arms transfers or trade by PMSCs.

Maat also suggested reformulating Paragraph (a) of Article 4, so that ([the signatory states] [state parties] acknowledge their commitment to international law in its branches international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and international disarmament law [States Parties] acknowledge their obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law, and to ensure respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by PMSCs and its employees under its jurisdiction). With regard to paragraph (a) of Article 2, Maat called for intensifying work to establish a “binding international legal framework” for the activities of private security companies. It motivated Maat to start writing this text.

Oslo conference on the protection of children in armed conflicts 

Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights participated in a conference on the protection of children in armed conflicts in Geneva, which aims to raise awareness of the upcoming Oslo Conference in June 2023. The Oslo Conference presents a great opportunity to deal with the urgent need to protect children affected by armed conflicts around the world, and it will also bring together brings together experts, policy-makers and advocates to discuss innovative strategies to protect children from harm and to ensure their access to essential services, such as health care and education.

Arms Trade Treaty

Maat participated in the working group meetings and the second informal preparatory meeting for the ninth conference of the states parties to a trade treaty weapons  CSP9In person, in Geneva from 9 to 12 May 2023.

During its participation in the working group meetings and the second informal preparatory meeting for the Ninth Conference of the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, Maat made an oral intervention, emphasizing the need to report arms exports and imports of countries in addition to the quantity and type of weapons in circulation, and to enhance transparency and accountability to prevent the transfer of weapons to terrorists and human rights violators. Maat provided a comment on the Management Committee's proposal to reduce the number of preparatory sessions to one session, and expressed its concerns about limiting opportunities for dialogue and participation between countries and civil society organizations and limiting the effectiveness of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Maat gave an oral intervention on the “financial situation of the Arms Trade Treaty”, in which it expressed its concern about the current financial conditions, and indicated the need to provide funding to support the agreement, and shed light on the lack of funding directed to civil society organizations, which would undermine the universality of the Arms Trade Treaty . During its intervention, Maat recommended that the party states give priority to the universality of the Arms Trade Treaty and to continue to support countries by financing them to fulfill their financial obligations to the treaty, and to support civil society organizations in various regions.

group of government experts (GGE(on emerging technologies in the field of lethal autonomous weapons systems)LAWS)

The Maat delegation personally participated in Geneva in the second session of 2023 for the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE(on Emerging Technologies in the Field of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems)LAWS), in the period from May 15 to 19, 2023, in continuation of its participation in the first session of 2023, and the two sessions in 2022.

Maat and the GCLA are organizing a meeting with stakeholders, hosted by the Geneva Center for Security Policy

Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights organized an informal meeting with stakeholders in cooperation with the Global Coalition for Arms Control and hosted by the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Geneva under the title “Non-State Actors and the Future of International Security and the Implementation of International Disarmament Agreements”

And in the presence of a number of diplomatic missions, international organizations and civil society organizations in Geneva, including representatives of the United Nations. The meeting included discussions on state responsibility, private military actors, civil society participation, and implementation of legal instruments.

In this context, Ayman Aqil, a human rights expert and head of the Maat Foundation, stressed that the illegal transfer of weapons to conflict countries is the biggest challenge to achieving global security and regional stability. As it exacerbates conflicts, increases violence, violates human rights, endangers the lives of civilians, and obstructs development and peace efforts.

Aqeel added in his speech that during the period 2020 to 2023, 8 shipments of Iranian weapons were confiscated that were on their way to support the Houthi militia in Yemen via sea, and there were also reports of Iran smuggling weapons, ammunition and drones in shipments of humanitarian aid to the victims of the Syrian earthquake in April 2023. The human rights expert confirmed that the military investments and funding provided by the superpowers, including China, Russia, America and others, are the reason for the exacerbation of the conflict in the African coast and the Middle East.

While Nourhan Mostafa explained; Director of the International Humanitarian Law and Disarmament Unit at the Maat Foundation, the Foundation seeks, through this meeting, to facilitate communication and cooperation between the various stakeholders to enhance disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Emphasizing the need for effective cooperation between stakeholders today to implement international agreements and protect civilians in armed conflicts.

Dr. Carlos Lopez referred to the necessity of developing a framework to regulate the activities of private military security companies. He also addressed the relationship between the work of private security and military companies and the illegal transfer of weapons to areas of armed conflict, describing it as a “complex” relationship. Private security and military companies play a crucial role in not enforcing the law, which would affect the protection of human rights and the achievement of security.

Dr. Antoine Pierret indicated that civil society organizations play an important role in activities such as training private military and security companies on human rights and international humanitarian law. Achieving international peace and security.

In the end, the speakers concluded with several recommendations, including the necessity of issuing periodic reports to monitor cases of illegal transfer, as well as coordinating informal meetings with stakeholders, in cooperation with the United Nations, for the purpose of raising awareness and achieving best practices.

Narrowing the Gap between Social Responsibility and Realities on the Ground in the Weapons Industry May 25, 2023

  Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights participated virtually in the third session of talks on the arms industry, which was held on May 25, 2023 via Zoom. During the event, Maat discussed the illegal transfer of arms in Africa, and Maat called for enhancing joint cooperation between civil society organizations and countries in that context, as well as rebuilding and strengthening the role of regional organizations.

Constructive Dialogue on Technical Assistance (31 May 2023)

Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights participated virtually in the constructive dialogue on technical assistance organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on May 31, 2023, at the Vienna International Center. combating organized crime in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and also called for strengthening trust between civil society organizations and governments to promote Compliance with international agreements.

Fourth Substantive Session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Conventional Munitions 5-9 June 2023

Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights participated virtually via Zoom in the fourth substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group on Conventional Ammunition, established pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 76/233, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2023.

The representative of Maat emphasized the challenges of illegal transfer of weapons and poor storage of ammunition. She also referred to the arms shipments that Iran is transporting to the Houthi group in Yemen, and proposed some solutions for this, on top of which is the intensification of international and regional cooperation to monitor the transfer of weapons and the call for gender mainstreaming and the marking and tracking of weapons. and international cooperation.

Arms Illicit Flow and Diversion to Armed Conflict Areas

Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued a new report entitled “Illegal Flow and Change of Direction in Arms Transfers to Areas Affected by Armed Conflict”. The report dealt with the devastating effects of the proliferation of conventional weapons on international peace and security, as well as the exposure of human rights to widespread violations.

Arms Illicit Flow and Diversion to Armed Conflict Areas

#'s Let's KeepGunSafe Campaign

Maat Foundation, Peace, Development, Human Rights and the Global Coalition to Control the Proliferation of Arms launch the # campaign to keep weapons_safe, in order to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal transfers of conventional weapons and small arms and light weapons, and pressure and advocacy to reduce the illegal flow of weapons, smuggling and trafficking in them.

Maat Foundation and the coalition have chosen “Let's Keep Weapons Safe” as the name of the campaign to emphasize that legally manufactured weapons that are used for legitimate purposes such as combating terrorism and maintaining security may turn into unsafe weapons, when they are illegally transferred to terrorists, rebels and armed groups, thus strengthening their strength, which would Harming the interests of civilians and obstructing efforts to achieve the goal for which these weapons were made, and delaying the achievement of the fourth goal of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This campaign begins on July 1, 2023, and ends on October 30, 2023, at the end of International Disarmament Week.

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