Switzerland clamps down on private security firms

16th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bern moved Wednesday to clamp down on private security firms, saying that it was banning them from taking part in combat overseas or engaging in activities that could hurt Switzerland's national interests.

Private security firms registered in Switzerland "will be prohibited from exercising activities in crisis or conflict zones which are incompatible with Switzerland's international obligations and foreign policy principles," said the government in a statement.

Such activities include "participation in combat or in acts of violence targetted at overthrowing a regime in place."

"The authorities can also impose a ban on activities that goes against national interests."

"These include humanitarian policies, the application of international law, the policy of neutrality, and also the security of Switzerland, which could be endangered by specific mandates," said the government, as it ordered the justice ministry to draw up rules on the issue by mid-2011.

The government said that it was necessary to regulate the area after the arrival of Britain's Aegis Group Holdings, one of the world's biggest security firms operating in crisis or conflict zones.

In total, 20 security companies based in eight cantons offer similar services, said the government.

© 2011 AFP

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