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UN expert group on the use of mercenaries to visit Switzerland


GENEVA (9 May 2019) – A delegation of the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries will conduct an official country visit to Switzerland from 13 to 17 May 2019. 

The Working Group delegation, comprising Ms. Sorcha MacLeod, Ms. Lilian Bobea and Ms. Jelena Aparac, will assess the measures in place to address the challenges posed by mercenarism and mercenary related activities, as well as the regulatory framework for private military and security companies operating in Switzerland and abroad, and their impact on human rights.

The delegation will hold meetings in Bern, Zurich, Geneva and Neuchatel with representatives from relevant governmental authorities at the Federal and Cantonal levels, non-governmental organisations, the private military and security industry and other stakeholders. 

The experts will hold a press conference to share their preliminary observations on 17 May, at 11:30 a.m. at the Hotel Ador, Laupenstrasse 15, 3001 Bern. 

The Working Group will present a full report of the country visit to the Human Rights Council.


The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination was established in July 2005 by the then Commission on Human Rights. Its mandate was further extended by the Human Rights Council in 2008. The Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world. The Chairperson-Rapporteur is Mr. Saeed Mokbil (Yemen). Other members are Ms. Sorcha MacLeod (United Kingdom), Ms. Lilian Bobea (Dominican Republic), Ms. Jelena Aparac (Croatia), and Mr. Chris Kwaja (Nigeria). 

The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work.  They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. 

For additional information before and during the visit and media requests, please contact:
Ms. Sara Hamood, OHCHR (+41 79 752 0485 / shamood@ohchr.org)
Ms. Barbora Zamrska, OHCHR (+41 79 752 0485/ bzamrska@ohchr.org)  

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org

Follow the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts