Informations about National Regulations and Regional and International Initiatives.

African Union

The AU  plays a key role across the continent in promoting good governance of the security sector. It has issued a number of general references relating to the regulation of the private security sector, including the following:

  • The Principles and Guidelines on Human and Peoples’ Rights while Countering Terrorism in Africa, adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This document devotes an entire section to private security companies and, in particular, their accountability, with reference to the Montreux Document.
  • In one commentary on the right to life, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights – the African Union body responsible for the protection of human rights – has stated the obligation of States to ensure that private military and security companies are responsible for their actions in cases of arbitrary deprivation of life – or involvement in such acts. The commentary also addresses transnational responsibility: States of origin must ensure accountability for any extraterritorial violation of the right to life, including violations of this right by their nationals or by companies domiciled in their territory or under their jurisdiction – or to which they have contributed.
  • At the Third Annual High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa, held in October 2014, the AU invited States to invest more resources in the management, oversight and regulation of PSCs, whether domestic or foreign. The High-Level Conference called on the African Union Commission to work towards the adoption of a code of conduct containing standards and good practices for PSCs.
  • Finally, in its Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform published in 2014, the AU cites ‘non-state security bodies: such as private security companies, informal, traditional and customary authorities and others, as may be decided by each Member State’ as one of the components of the security sector. In this Policy Framework, the AU ‘deplores the use of private military companies (PMCs) in security sector reform activities in Africa either by the RECs [Regional Economic Communities], Member States or their international partners’. Where any of these parties decide to engage the services of PSCs, the Policy Framework states that they ‘will conform to relevant international, regional and national frameworks regulating the activities of PSCs.’


The AU Policy Framework on SSR discourages the use of private military companies in security sector reform activities in Africa either by AU Member States, RECs or their international partners. Furthermore, it urges the AU Member States, RECs or their international partners to conform to international, regional and national frameworks regulating the activities of private security companies, when contracting the services of such companies.
The AU also highlights the need for the AU Member States to develop national frameworks that set clear rules for the activities of PMSCs.    
Key Note Address by Dr. Tarek A. Sharif Head, Defense and Security Division, AUC: Regional Conference on Private Military and Security Companies 


Member States of the African Union