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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to regulate the activities of UK private security firms operating in (a) Afghanistan and (b) elsewhere overseas; and if he will make a statement. (196221)

In late 2004, my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Mr. Straw) requested a review by officials of the options for the regulation of the overseas operations of private military and security companies (PMSCs) registered in or operating from the UK. This applies to PMSCs operating both in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. This was to follow up on the Green Paper of 2002, 'Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation' and to respond to the increase in activities of PMSCs in areas of conflict overseas.

The review was completed in mid-2005 and suggested a number of options for ways in which the industry could be regulated. The review also highlighted complex issues, particularly around the definition of what activities should be regulated and how any regulations would be enforced. These issues, along with the options for regulation, continue to be the subject of Ministerial correspondence and official consultation. The Government have undertaken to keep Parliament fully informed of its proposals in this area. If it is agreed that regulation is appropriate, the Government will put the proposals to public consultation.