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Protection Swiss security contractors active abroad

Security training outside Geneva with a fictitious VIP 

(Keystone)

Private Swiss security firms have carried more than 400 missions abroad over the past 18 months according to data from the foreign ministry.

About one in five missions was aimed at supporting the local armed forces or police or maintenance of weapons systems, the ministry confirmed on Sunday.

Nearly 50% of all cases involve the protection of people or property as well as private detectives.

Such mandates outside the Swiss borders have been subject to approval by the foreign ministry since 2015 to prevent human rights violations.

The authorities opened a formal procedure in seven of the about 400 requests, two applications were withdrawn and one case is still pending, the ministry said.

However, it declined to give further information.

Reputation

Overall, about 30 private security contractors have been active abroad, notably at Switzerland’s diplomatic representations. The costs to hire private companies are about CHF7 million annually ($7 million).

Switzerland was a pioneer in regulating mercenary services as parliament voted to introduce regular reporting on planned activities 18 months ago.

A scandal about a Swiss-based British security contractor, Aegis, hit international headlines in 2010. The justice ministry warned such activities were undermining Switzerland’s good reputation.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug

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