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First overseas ban for Swiss-based private security firm

A Swiss-based private security contractor has been banned from operating abroad. This is the first time the Swiss authorities have used a law passed in 2013 that strictly controls the activities of mercenary firms abroad.

According to Swiss public radio, SRF, the firm affected by the ban intended to train foreign soldiers and provide logistical support to military forces.

The ban was imposed by the Swiss foreign ministry a few weeks ago, but the name and the reasons behind the veto have been withheld, it reported.

The law governing the activities of private security contractors based in Switzerland has been in force for one year. The new legislation applies to all firms that provide security services outside Switzerland.

Sanctions can be imposed if human rights or Swiss neutrality risk being violated. Similarly, a ban can be implemented if Swiss security and foreign policy objectives are affected.

Private security contractors are not allowed to provide mercenaries and will have to report to the federal authorities any services they plan to supply beyond the country’s borders. Any direct participation in an armed conflict is also banned.

To date, 20 firms have reported some 200 foreign operations, mostly security activities to protect individuals or locations in crisis areas as well as spying.

The foreign ministry expects an increase in reported activities in the future, SRF reported.

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