Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Over the past two decades globalization has accelerated the pace of change and made many regions more unstable

Conflict and human rights have become increasingly high-priority issues for natural resource companies.

Over the past two decades globalization has accelerated the pace of change and made many regions more unstable. Companies increasingly operate in challenging environments with lawlessness, potentially violent demonstrations, armed radical groups and weak governance.

Needing heavier security and relying on local police and military, they have often found themselves in the middle of violent confrontations with local groups that result in missteps and allegations of human rights abuse.

With today’s 24-hour news cycle, advocacy groups armed with social networking tools, and the heightened sensitivity to human rights, these allegations can have devastating legal, reputational and financial consequences.

The Voluntary Principles have become the international best practice for managing effective security and protecting human rights. In association with Fund for Peace, MFC fields a unique team that balances experience in human rights advocacy, industry security practice and development of social programs.

MFC has team members who, as extractive industry executives and human rights advocates, were involved in the inception of the Voluntary Principles and were part of one of the first national field trials for their implementation. Since then, MFC has helped companies develop programs, train staff and implement successful VPSHR programs that have effectively balanced security needs and human rights in some of the most challenging environments in the world.

MFC’s public health specialists provide full assessment and mitigation tactics for human rights, social conflict and health – areas of responsibility that can have the most extreme impacts on a project’s operation and reputation.

  • Assessments that let companies and lenders know what operations face as potential conflict and human rights issues as well as how well they are positioned to manage them
  • Development of VPSHR programs and assistance in integrating them into management practices
  • Organizational training to enable understanding and support for the VPSHR program throughout company operations
  • Specialized training on best practice for security and engagement managers and staff charged with program implementation
  • Strategic advice on how to deal with the most difficult aspects of managing security and human rights issues such as relations with problematic public security forces
  • Use-of-force training for security staffs and security providers
  • Assurance audits and monitoring to ensure successful program implementation over time