Internal Review of Blackwater Prompted Firm to Leave Lobbying Assoc.

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It didn’t seem to make much sense when Blackwater announced it was withdrawing from the International Peace Operations Association, a lobbying and public-relations firm for private military companies. After all, the firm was under public scrutiny like never before after its guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians on September 16, igniting an international furor.

But as much as Blackwater might have wanted some PR help, it appears what it wanted more was for IPOA to mind its own business.

This morning, the lobby group released its first statement on Blackwater’s departure. On Monday, it opened a “review” into whether Blackwater was following the code of conduct for IPOA members. That code emphasizes “human rights, corporate ethics, International Humanitarian Law, transparency, accountability, and responsibility and professionalism in relationships with employees, clients, and partner companies.” Two days later, Blackwater quit the group.

Here’s the statement in full:

We have received notification from Blackwater USA that they are formally withdrawing from the membership of the International Peace Operations Association, effective October 10, 2007.

Blackwater USA joined IPOA in August 2004 and was a member in good standing.

In recent weeks, IPOA was actively engaged with senior management at Blackwater USA, both through our Standards Committee and our Executive Committee, to ensure that they were fully compliant with the IPOA Code of Conduct. On October 8, 2007 the IPOA Executive Committee authorized the Standards Committee to initiate an independent review process of Blackwater USA to ascertain whether Blackwater USA’s processes and procedures were fully sufficient to ensure compliance with the IPOA Code of Conduct.

All IPOA member companies are required to follow the IPOA Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is a set of ethical and professional guidelines for companies in the peace and stability operations industry. The Code stresses human rights, corporate ethics, International Humanitarian Law, transparency, accountability, and responsibility and professionalism in relationships with employees, clients, and partner companies.