World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN Experts Alarmed By Growing Use Of Mercenaries In Cyberspace

NEW YORK (28 October 2021) UN human rights experts today expressed their alarm at the growing practice of mercenary-related activities in cyberspace, saying that private actors provide a wide range of military and security services in cyberspace, including data collection, intelligence and surveillance.

Going forward, and in order to prevent and mitigate the negative human rights impacts caused by mercenaries and mercenary-related actors in cyberspace, States should refrain from recruiting, using, financing and training them, said Jelena Aparac Chair Rapporteur of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries who presented the report to the General Assembly.

“It is undeniable that cyber-activities have the ability to cause violations both in armed conflicts and in peacetime, and thus that a whole variety of rights are engaged,” she said. “This includes the right to life, economic social rights, freedom of expression, privacy, and the right to self-determination.

“Furthermore, specific groups such as human rights defenders, journalists, LGBTI and migrants, are affected in a differentiated manner by these activities.”

In their report the experts explain that mercenaries, as well as private military and security companies (PMSCs), may be engaged to conduct malicious cyber operations, such as disruption, interference with, degradation or destruction of computer systems or networks and exfiltration of information, that can cause damage remotely and across various jurisdictions and constitutes a threat to the safety and stability of cyberspace.

“The use of private actors poses a particular challenge to accountability for abuses that occur through cyberspace, in particular across different jurisdictions,” the experts said. “Cyber activities complicate determination of responsibility for an attack, but they do not relieve States from their obligations under international law.”

“States should prohibit such conduct in domestic law and effectively regulate these activities. For this purpose we call upon States to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework on PMSCs including when they provide cyber-services and operate in the context of cyberwarfare and insist on the need for a legally binding instrument that governs cyberspace,” they said.

*The Working Group on the use of mercenaries is comprised of five independent experts: Jelena Aparac ( Chair Rapporteur), Lilian Bobea, Sorcha MacLeod, Chris Kwaja and Ravindran Daniel.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...

UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>

Oxfam: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges...More>>

World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>