What future for privatized peacekeeping? Prospects and realities in the UN debate


  • Cecilia Hull

Publish date: 2008-08-19

Report number: FOI-R--2540--SE

Pages: 50

Written in: English


  • Private Security Companies
  • private Military Companies
  • peacekeeping
  • UN
  • mercenaries
  • state monopoly and violence
  • international law


Private companies selling military services are increasingfy common on the international arena. Their services, ranging from mine-clearance, surveilllance and logistics to training and direct combat, have been sold to states and corporations, and even used by the United Nations for logistics and security. The companies have also offered to bear the blue beret. So far theere has been a great reluctance at the UN to take this suggestion seriously because of these companies resemblance to mercenary forces and an unwillingness to "privatize peace". This report explores the future of privatized peacekeeping from a UN perspective. It argues that there are three major reasons that the UN has been more than reluctant to support such an initiative: a worry that privatization would increase the cost of peacekeeping: unease about the legal status and accountatbility of private contractors; and a concern that privatization would weakon the state monopoly on violence and decrease state responsibility for international peace snd security. These issues are genuinely concerning and would have to be addressed before any privatization of peacekeeping could occur. Yet, this report argues, if these issues were attended to, peacekeeping could stand to gain great benefits from partial privatization. Privatization would have to be conditional, but these conditions are neither unattainable nor undesirable. The UN should therefore support and advocate the enforcement of such conditions rather turn a blind eye to the potential of privatized peacekeeping.