Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments Toolkit

June 2016 | DCAF and ICRC

This Toolkit has been developed by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Toolkit has been developed as part of their joint project to develop guidance to support companies operating in complex environments to manage their security in a way that is effective and respects human rights and, when relevant, international humanitarian law. The most up-to-date version of the Toolkit resides at the Knowledge Hub for Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments.

CDA partnered with DCAF and the ICRC on the development of Chapter 4 – Working with Communities.

The Toolkit provides guidance structured around real-life security and human rights challenges faced by companies when working with host governments, public security forces and private security providers. Good practices and recommendations are provided on how to address these challenges, complemented by practical tools such as checklists and case studies. Good practices and recommendations are aligned with the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and security sector reform principles.

The Toolkit includes four chapters:

  1. Working with host governments,
  2. Working with public security forces,
  3. Working with private security providers, and
  4. Working with communities.

This Toolkit may be freely used and shared for educational and other non-commercial purposes, provided that the DCAF-ICRC Toolkit is acknowledged as the source.

The Toolkit is a ‘Living Document’, developed through extensive consultations with a wide variety of actors and a review process involving a multi-stakeholder group of experts. The new edition is currently being translated into Spanish and will soon be published on the Knowledge Hub. If you would like to electronically share the Toolkit, please provide a link to: This way we can ensure that users have access to the latest version. If you would like to be informed whenever a new version of the Toolkit is available, sign up to the Knowledge Hub to receive a quarterly newsletter highlighting new uploads on the Knowledge Hub, upcoming events and updates to the Toolkit.


Suggested Citation: Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments Toolkit – Third Edition (DCAF and ICRC, June 2016)