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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

1 November 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue on Mercenaries

Mr. Chair,

  1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union in this Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries.
  1. The EU would like to thank the Working Group for the presentation of its report. We note that the Working Group is mandated to work on issues of mercenaries, which has a clear and universal definition under international humanitarian law. We have previously expressed our concern about the confusion and lack of clarity caused by the Working Group extending its mandate to include private military and private security companies. In this regard, we would like to appreciatively acknowledge the suggested removal of foreign fighters from the mandate of the Working Group and the increased clarity this brings to the work ahead.
  1. The EU shares many of the concerns about the dangers of mercenary activity that have been expressed in previous reports of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries. We recognize the dangers and the deeply negative impact that contemporary forms of mercenary activity can have on the length and nature of armed conflicts, and we are concerned about any potential links between mercenaries and terrorist activities.
  1. The EU continues to regret the lack of conceptual clarity in this report.  It seems that the concerns we raised, that broadening the scope of the Working Group’s mandate would cause additional confusion, and hamper the Working Group from making progress on its mandated work, have been borne out.
  1. For a number of years, the EU has argued that a significant change in the mandate of the Working Group, to focus more clearly on mercenaries, would provide a more effective framework to progress its work. We believe that the current confusion in the mandate seriously undermines this work on the use of mercenaries.
  1. The EU remains committed to raising standards in the legitimate global private security The industry is an essential service provider to public and private sector clients and it supports diplomatic, commercial and humanitarian activity in complex environments around the world.

Mr. Chair,

  1. The EU continues to call on the Working Group to concentrate on the specific issue of mercenaries, in particular in light of the removal of foreign fighters, and asks the WG how it plans to take their mandate forward in this regard.
  • Ref: EUUN16-180EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Third Committee - Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
  • Date: 01/11/2016

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