U.N. Investigates Recruitment of Latin Amer. Mercenaries

Private security companies have been hiring Latin Americans to work as mercenaries at increasing rates over the last three years, prompting an investigation by the U.N.

Many of these mercenaries, from countries that include Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras, are sent to fight for the United States in Iraq.

The U.N. Working Group heading the investigation has reported that a non-registered private firm used the Manta military base to recruit and conduct interviews.

The Working Group emphasized "the need for rigorous national legislation, to regulate and monitor the activities of national and transnational private security companies, in order to ensure that the responsibilities of the State to effectively protect and promote human rights are fulfilled."

A report will be completed and submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year.