Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

multi-stakeholder initiative


The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (“Voluntary Principles”) is a multi-stakeholder initiative involving governments, companies, and NGOs that promotes implementation of a set of principles that guide oil, gas, and mining companies on providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights. Specifically, the Voluntary Principles guide companies in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment in their engagement with public and private security providers to ensure human rights are respected in the protection of company facilities and premises.

How does it work?

Participants are permitted to raise concerns regarding whether any other participants have met the Participation Criteria and, where appropriate, concerns regarding sustained lack of efforts to implement the Voluntary Principles. The procedure that follows is that:

1.  Participants will seek to resolve any concerns through direct dialogue with another participant.

2.  If a direct dialogue fails to resolve the issue, a participant may submit concerns to the Steering Committee.

3.  If determined by consensus of the Steering Committee that these concerns are based on reliable information and that the Voluntary Principles process will be strengthened by further consultations, the matter will be referred to the Secretariat.

4.  The Secretariat will facilitate formal consultations between the interested participants.

5.  The participants involved in these consultations may present the matter to the annual or special Plenary for its consideration. That Plenary shall decide what, if any, further action is appropriate.

6.  The Plenary has the role to make recommendations that will lead to deepening of the Voluntary Principles. The recommendations (other than expulsion – need consensus) will be taken by a supermajority (66%) of government participants, a simple majority (51%) of NGOs participants, and a simple majority (51%) of company participants represented at the Plenary session.

Who can access it? 

The mechanism can be used by one participant to criticize the conduct of another participant.


The Voluntary Principles do not create legally-binding standards and participation in, communications concerning, and alleged failure to abide by the Voluntary Principles shall not be used to support a claim in any legal or administrative proceeding against a participant.


A party to a complaint can request the Steering Committee to conduct a status review of implementation and to consider any issues arising from the implementation of a recommendation. Failure to implement the recommendations within a reasonable period as defined by that Plenary will result in inactive status.


The Voluntary Principles

General fact sheet on the Voluntary Principles

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights – Participation Criteria

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights: Implementation Guidance Tools (IGTs)

Last edited: 
April, 2013

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