December 4, 2015, A UN body that has been facing pressure to end its links with security company G4S over its role in Israeli human rights abuses has announced that it no longer has contracts with the company. G4S has been providing services to UNHCR in Jordan but a spokesperson told a reporter on Monday that the body does not have any contracts with the firm. The announcement was made following a wave of protests.
Rafat Sub Laban from Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer, who started lobbying the UN on its contracts with G4S in April, said: “Recent weeks have seen a wave of mass arrests by Israeli occupation forces aimed at repressing protests and imposing control and collective punishment on Palestinians in the occupied territory. Since the beginning of October, Israeli occupation forces arrested over 2,050 Palestinians including at least 350 children and over 210 Palestinians including 4 minors who were placed under administrative detention without charge or trial. Many of those who were arrested remain detained by Israel.”
“These political prisoners are held in prisons and interrogation centres that G4S helps Israel to run, making G4S complicit in Israel’s torture, ill-treatment and administrative detention without charge or trial of Palestinians."
In June 2014, the Gates Foundation divested the whole of its $170m holding in the company as a result of an international campaign. The US Methodist Church, the largest protestant church in the US, divested from G4S after coalition campaigning brought the issue to a vote. Universities in Oslo and Bergen refused to give G4S contracts over its role in Israel’s prison system following student campaigns. In the UK, at least 5 student unions have voted to cancel contracts with G4S, and students successfully pressured 2 other universities not to renew contracts with the company. Major charities in South Africa, the Netherlands and elsewhere terminated contracts with G4S
Facing mounting international pressure, G4S announced in 2014 that G4S “did not expect to renew” its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it expires in 2017, and it has also said it will end some aspects of its involvement in illegal Israeli settlements. BDS activists have said they will continue their campaign until G4S ends all aspects of its support for Israeli violations of international law.
"Dear Mr. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
We, the undersigned religious leaders, are deeply troubled that the United Nations has a number of major contracts with the international security company G4S, which provides services to UN facilities and agencies in violation of the UN’s own guidelines. We urge the UN to end its relationship with G4S because of the company’s active role in human rights abuses (continues below)..." click here to read the full letter.
FOSNA is calling on a wide circle of Christian leaders to act in solidarity with Palestinian human rights organizations and the international coalition calling on the United Nations to drop its security contracts with G4S.
In 2014, FOSNA staff discovered that G4S contractors were operating the UNHCR facility in Amman, Jordan. We soon discovered that the United Nations has contracts in other locations as well, so we are joining others in sending a message to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon. Human rights abusers like G4S have no place doing business with the UN. Look for more information soon about how we can pressure the UN to act.
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