A N English recruitment consultancy contracted to provide specialists for a
European Union aid project in Cambodia has a sister company which produces
The connection has appalled Cambodian NGOs, which are asking
the EU to sever its ties with the consultancy.
Hunting Technical Services
(HTS) - which specializes in agricultural consultancy services to developing
countries - is providing a team of consultants for an EU food-for-work program
HTS is owned by Hunting PLC, which has another subsidiary
company, Hunting Engineering, which makes and sells munitions including land
"This is unacceptable for a big donor in Cambodia which is funding
humanitarian and development work to be utilizing the services of a company
which is...associated with producing mines," NGO Forum spokeswoman Joan Anderson
said this week.
The NGO Forum, along with the Mines Advisory Group and
the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines, are urging the EU to sever its ties with
HTS for as long as Hunting Engineering produces or sells landmines.
said HTS was to provide about 10 consultants to work on the EU food program, due
to begin soon, in conjunction with the World Food Program.
Group regional director Chris Horwood said Hunting Engineering was one of the
world's foremost designers and manufacturers of munitions.
included the HB876 mine, described in Hunting Engineering promotional leaflets
as an "Area-Denial Munition", produced for the British Royal Air
Horwood produced a Janes' International Defense Directory which
listed Hunting Engineering as a producer of air-launched, naval and ground-based
He said Hunting Engineering no longer produced the HB876 mine,
though a new model of them was reportedly planned, but had a stockpile available
"These mines can turn up anywhere" in the world, he said,
given the trade of landmines to warring, developing countries through circuitous
routes. He acknowledged they were unlikely to find their way to
But NGOs had a persuasive "moral argument" that humanitarian
agencies should not be involved with companies associated with mine
He urged the EU, and other aid donors or agencies, to follow
the lead of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which recently
decided it would not knowingly purchase goods or services from any firm which
produces mines or their components.
A statement issued by the Bangkok
office of European Commission Ambassador Gwyn Morgan said: "The EC Delegation to
Cambodia is fully sensitive to the strong feelings expressed by the NGO Forum
and has therefore conveyed these sentiments to the highest authorities in the
commission in Brussels."
The statement said the European Commission had
spent nearly $30 million on demining around the world, including $5 million in
Cambodia, in the past three years.
It also said the commission supported
a moratorium on exports of "anti-personnel mines".
The statement made no
mention of HTS' future in the EU food aid program in Cambodia.
Post went to press, HTS's director, David Potten, was en route to Cambodia to
oversee the start of the program.