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Avanzar specializes in auditing extractive company operations for their compliance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR). Our co-founder emeritus, Jim Rader, worked for five years as the Director of the Extractives Program at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) in San Francisco, which was the Secretariat for the Voluntary Principles Initiative from its inception in 2000 to 2010. This exposure gave him an intimate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the VPSHR. 

Compliance Audit Against the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

 Avanzar has developed particular expertise auditing extractive operations on their compliance with the VPSHR. We refined an audit protocol that is based on the ISO standards for management systems (such as 14000) and on the AA1000 principles for assurance: inclusiveness, materiality, and responsiveness. The audit template is comprised of seven sections, or categories, of assessment. The majority of content (5 of the 7 categories) in the template directly tests conformance to the Voluntary Principles. The risk assessment template also includes indicators that draw on Avanzar’s experience in engagement with external stakeholders including local communities, Indigenous peoples, and illegal miners.

While the Voluntary Principles do not explicitly cover interaction with such external stakeholders, the nature and quality of relationships a company maintains with these groups will have a direct impact on the security and human rights risk environment that they face.

Avanzar has conducted over one hundred assessments of company compliance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Central Asia, and South East Asia.


  • Voluntary Principles Assessment: Over the past 12 years, Avanzar has carried out over 100 assessments against the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights at extractive projects worldwide. This includes work in conflict sensitive areas such as Papua New Guinea, DRC, Tanzania, and Guatemala. ​


Avanzar has developed training for both upper management and security guards on basic human rights and specific security-related human rights principles based on international human rights standards. Our in-person training includes detailed training manuals for each participant so they can reference the material as needed. Most recently, Avanzar developed an online training for security guards and security managers that is interactive and engaging and can be delivered via mobile phones to extend reach to all personnel. Training methods include common scenarios faced by managers and personnel at operating sites, including: Employment (forced labor, child labor, gender discrimination, etc); Security (actions by public security forces, evacuation of ex-pats, appropriation of company property, etc).

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