Skip to main content



Business, Security and Human Rights

DCAF engages directly with the private sector to address security and human rights challenges linked to business operations in fragile contexts as part of our holistic approach to security sector governance and reform. 

At the international level, we promote norms, standards, and good practices that encourage responsible security and human rights practices by companies. This is accompanied by a policy influencing role encouraging synergies between SSG/R and communities promoting business and human rights through the United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank. 

At the national level, we conduct activities that enable national authorities, business actors, and civil society to work together to improve security, development and respect for human rights. 

Photo: Sebastian Pichler/ Unsplash




The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) is a key framework around which DCAF designs its interventions. The VPs are the leading global good practice standard for companies to respect human rights in their security arrangements. 

The Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI) is an international initiative that implements the VPs through fostering dialogue and engagement between the private sector, governments, and civil society. DCAF has been an Observer of the Voluntary Principles Initiative since 2012 and was approved as a Permanent Observer in 2021. 

For more information visit: The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights : Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Much of DCAF’s in-country engagement in support of the VPs is channelled through our Security and Human Rights Implementation Mechanism (SHRIM). 






DCAF has a longstanding partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to promote business, security, and human rights good practices. This has been done primarily using our seminal “Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments Toolkit,” which has been comprehensively updated and re-published in June 2022, and our joint curation of the Security and Human Rights Knowledge Hub. 


  • Engaging multinational companies to improve their security and human rights practices in their policies and procedures. 
  • Strengthening the focus on security and human rights in international standards and mainstreaming these approaches with companies, governments and civil society.
  • Promoting security and human rights good practice with Chinese companies operating in complex environments. This includes the co-development of training modules and outreach activities with Chinese partners to improve security and human rights policies and practices.






DCAF supports the creation, development, and activities of multistakeholder Working Groups promoting implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Activities to date in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria and Peru share a common focus on developing trust-based relationships between national authorities, security providers, companies and communities as a basis for collective action to prevent conflicts around natural resources. The Working Groups also play an important role in promoting coherence and coordination at the national level as well as with international partners. 


  • A new phase of multi-donor programming combining collaboration with Congolese civil society organisations and a technical advisory relationship with the national authorities to promote human rights protections related to the extractives industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
  • A new programme in Mozambique to promote engagement between government, companies in the extractives sector and civil society on security, and human rights. With a particular focus on Cabo Delgado, this work presents a unique entry point to address rule of law and SSG/R issues.
  • BSD continues to support nationally and locally driven multistakeholder working groups in Peru, Colombia, and Nigeria.





DCAF supports human rights training for public security forces assigned to company operations in fragile states. These activities offer an entry point to promote sustainable SSR through ensuring that good practices are embedded in national training initiatives in fragile contexts. 


  • Human rights training for the Critical Infrastructure Police Force assigned to protect extractives operations in Kenya.
  • Pilot human rights trainings for the Mining Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Trainings on the role of the Congolese National Police in addressing the worst forms of child labour on mine sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Additional trainings will be developed as part of ongoing support to multistakeholder Working Groups promoting security and human rights good practices.





Key Resources 


Jean-Michel Rousseau, Interim Head of the Business and Security Division (