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Ii) General comments
64. Many States and experts underlined their general support for a convention highlighting the necessity to strengthen the legal obligations vis-à-vis PMSCs and the put in place a licensing and registration system. They also underlined the key role for the UN in monitoring the activities of PMSCs.
65. One country said that the draft convention should emphasized States parties obligations to respect all international obligations and not only the norms of the international human rights and humanitarian law.
66. Another comment raised the question of the legal status of the personnel of PMSCs which is not addressed in the draft text. It underlined that one of the objective of a future convention should be the adoption of an international legal definition of the status of PMSCs, the establishment of criteria for the legalization of their activity, as well as the distinction of their activities from other traditional forms of mercenarism.
67. Others raised the opinion that a treaty may not be the most effective way of improving oversight and accountability for the industry and argued that existing laws provided an effective framework for understanding States’ obligations to regulate PMSCs and hold them accountable. They referred to other existing initiatives, in particular the Montreux Document, which recalls existing obligations of States, PMSCs and their personnel under international law whenever PMSCs are present during armed conflict.
68. The industry conveyed to the Working Group that it is seeking to have greater clarity given to its legal standing and greater validity in its perception amongst the public. The industry underlined the importance of having a treaty that enjoys the support of the key players involved in the debate in order to have a real impact on improving the enjoyment of human rights by individuals.