A collection of companies operating in a conflict-prone country in central Africa faced acute security risks, public security providers that possessed little understanding of human rights and humanitarian law, and communities distrustful of security providers. The companies quickly realised that they not only needed to work with each other, but with other stakeholders – particularly NGOs active in the area – in order to manage security risks as well as promote the respect and protection of human rights and humanitarian law.
The companies, NGO partners and communities began to implement regular security fora where security issues where openly discussed with community representatives, officials from public security forces, local government officials and other stakeholders. These fora included discussions of community member security concerns such as local criminality and the abuse of alcohol to concerns over the activities of insurgent groups. Public security providers were also able to share their concerns with local community members.
Human rights and humanitarian law were slowly introduced into the discussions until they became a regular feature. The information that was shared not only helped reduce security risks in the area but also built trust between community members, public security providers and the companies.