WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner is hosting, on behalf of the United States, a Mid-Year Special Session of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights June 30-July 1. Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles (VPs) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that provides guidance to companies on improving the respect for human rights with regard to the use of public and private security forces in the oil, gas, and mining industries. The VPs unites companies, governments and nongovernmental organizations in a common effort to find practical solutions to the difficult issues around security and human rights, particularly in areas of conflict and civil strife. Over 60 representatives will be in attendance.

As chair of the steering committee, the U.S. government is leading the effort to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the Voluntary Principles. The goals for the two-day meeting include establishing a roadmap for improved governance and organizational structures, increasing the effectiveness of VPs implementation in key countries, and enhancing overall accountability for all participant. John Ruggie, the UN Special Representative on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises, will address the participants. There will also be a designated session on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and conflict minerals.

The U.S. government seeks to work closely and collaboratively with all the stakeholders to strengthen the Voluntary Principles. The Mid-Year session is designed as a catalyst for continued discussions on implementation and governance/accountability.

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