Governance & Security

Due diligence is not conducted on private security contractors or providers


Businesses may be required to employ private security contractors or providers to protect their workers where the government does not provide adequate protection. However, employing the services of private security contractors carries risks that they may inappropriately use force, violate women’s rights and the rights of the child, or even violate principles of international humanitarian law.


Businesses should first start by understanding and assessing their private security needs and what security risks need to be mitigated. This information will be required to inform thedue diligence process of private security contractors.


Prior to engaging a private security contractor, businesses should undertake sufficient due diligence on the contractor. Due diligence factors to consider include:


  • personal and business reputation;
  • training;
  • history of litigation and criminal charges;
  • operational licences and weapons procedures;
  • previous experience and operational history;
  • conflicts of interests and nationality; and
  • history of violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.


Businesses should include the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in their agreements with private security providers to guide their conduct. After a private security contractor is selected and deployed, the business should undertake regular and ongoing due diligence on the contractor, as well as receive regular reporting from them.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 1948, Articles 1 and 3
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993, Articles 2 and 3
Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, 2000
Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, 1990
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, 1979

SDG 12


SDG 12.6

Strong due diligence prior to and during the engagement of private security contractors may contribute to achieving SDG 12.6: Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

SDG 16


SDG 16.1

Effective due diligence on private security contractors may promote SDG 16.1: Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.

SDG 16.3
Strong security due diligence may promote the realization of SDG 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.

SDG 16.4
Due diligence on private security contractors may assist in the achievement of SDG 16.4: By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime.

SDG 16.5
Strong due diligence on security contractors may support SDG 16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.