31 States were represented at the Regional Meeting of the Montreux Document Forum (MDF) in San José, Costa Rica

6 Apr 2018
The first MDF Regional Meeting in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region was organized in San José, Costa Rica on 27th-28th February 2018 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica, together with the Co-Chairs of the MDF, namely the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Building on the 2011 Roundtable on the Montreux Document, held in Chile, the meeting in Costa Rica was considered to be the largest event on regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCS) in the region. With over 100 participants from 31 countries (21 LAC countries), notably heads of national regulatory bodies for private security and representatives of Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Defense, the meeting provided an opportunity for a dedicated exchange on existing challenges and good practices in PMSC regulation. Furthermore, high-level representatives of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United Nations (UN), and the European Union (EU), civil society, industry, and academic experts contributed to the discussions on effective regulation of PMSCs in the region.

During the meeting, the participants recognised the issue of PMSCS as a subject requiring more attention and more effective regulation based on human rights and international humanitarian law. Participants were also able to identify the added value and relevance of the Montreux Document for States' regulatory efforts across LAC. With respect to implementation, the conference was an opportunity for active discussion on challenges and good practices, specifically related to Strengthening specific and adequate legal frameworks; Addressing informality in the PMSC markets and certification/licensing/registration challenges; Facilitating a whole-of-government approach to implementation of regulation and oversight mechanisms; Building institutional capacities for regulation and oversight; Clearly defining and implementing training requirements for PMSCs and their personnel.

During the closing session of the Regional Meeting, Panama announced its support on joining the Montreux Document becoming the 55th State to do so. Out of 55 participating states and 3 international organisations, the Montreux Document is now currently supported by 5 States from the region (Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Uruguay).

Throughout 2018 and beyond, Switzerland, the ICRC and DCAF will continue fostering dialogue on PMSCs regulation of in the region and encouraging more States and international and regional organisations to express support for the Montreux Document good practices.

For more information, please consult the Regional Meeting concept note and agenda in the sidebar.