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Addressing Human Rights Violations and Other Abuses in Contingency Contracting: Open Access

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A number of recent legislative actions have looked at making foreign subcontractors more accountable and responsible for adhering to U.S. laws and regulations while serving the U.S. government in contingency missions. Such progress forward must start with a comprehensive performance database that rates and provides feedback to federal officials on prime contractors, as well as provides expanded oversight of both prime contractors and the foreign subcontractors they utilize. In contingency situations as in normal procurement actions, while privity of contract is only between the prime contractor and the subcontractor, federal agencies involved in contingency contracting should take the additional step of screening and/or at least providing preliminary approval of the foreign subcontractors to be utilized by primes. At the very least, this could merely involve running the subcontractors names through a centralized performance database to see if the subcontracting company comes up under any known instances of fraud, corruption or human rights violations. Extra care or scrutiny can then be placed on the prime contractor(s) to keep an eye on any foreign subcontractor(s) they do business with who are suspected of human rights abuses and egregious unfair labor practices. Organizations such as the ACLU believe that prime contractors can then be compelled by stricter enforcement of expanded civil or criminal penalties to report known instances of human rights violations.

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