G4S is a British-Danish private security company that operates in over 125 countries; it is the largest security company in the world.
This page is a compilation of resources to help people like you spread the word about G4S's involvement in the Israeli military's practice of child detention. Education is an important step in effective action. This information can be used in educational spaces, from workshops to conference presentations or information sessions, and we hope that it will be useful in establishing a sturdy informational base for G4S-targeted campaigns.
G4S is heavily involved in the Israeli occupation industry and is notorious internationally for operating private prisons and deportation services. G4S Israel provides security apparatus, surveillance systems, and maintenance services to Israeli incarceration facilities inside Israel and the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian political prisoners are held in violation of international law and child rights treaties. The company provides scanners to Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza; checkpoints are a form of population control and severely restrict Palestinian freedom of movement and economic development. Additionally, the company provides security services in Israeli settlements.
Top Reports on Child Detention
Breaking a Generation
Israel practices a systematic policy of arresting, detaining, and torturing Palestinian children. The systematic attacks on children and their parents in the occupied Palestinian territories traumatizes an entire generation in an attempt to limit Palestinian self-determination. "Night-time raids, physical abuse and psychological violence" are all a part of both the arrests and the detention of children by the Israeli army, according to children's own testimonies, as recorded by Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI) and reported by Adalah. According to statistics by DCI, an average of two children are taken from their beds by Israeli soldiers every night. Breaking the Silence has reported some of the practices used by the Israeli military in these nighttime raids through soldier testimonies. There are an overwhelming number of reports of violent interrogation techniques while the children are often not allowed to see family members or a lawyer. They are tried in a juvenile military court (Israel's juvinile military court is the only one in practice worldwide) and are often tried and sentenced in a language they do not understand.
A 2013 UNICEF bulletin collected information on 19 affidavit processes of Palestinian children. The information is presented in the table below.
Although the most recent UNICEF bulletin provides additional affidavit evidence collected since the publication, and highlights some procedural developments, there appears to be little change in how the children were treated following their arrest by the military, according to Military Court Watch's 2014 follow-up report.
The Effect of Imprisonment on Palestinian Children
In the documentary film, When the Boys Return, director Tone Anderson follows a support group of Palestinian boys in the city of Hebron. As the boys re-enter routine life under the occupation, they begin to process their traumas from their individual prolonged incarceration in Israeli prisons as political prisoners.
According to DCI, the effects of imprisonment on children prevail long after their release. Both DCI and UNICEF have reported that the abuse of Palestinian children trapped in the Israeli prison system is "widespread, systematic and institutionalized" designed to coerce confessions. Solitary confinement is one such technique and, according to DCI's research, it is used by Israeli forces almost exclusively as an interrogation tool. Between 2012 and 2014, Israeli military, police, and security agents held 54 Palestinian children in solitary confinement prior to charging them with any offense.
Other violations reported include: the predominant use of hand ties for prolonged periods of time, the use of blindfolds, prevention of access to a lawyer, physical violence during arrest, humiliation, intimidation, verbal abuse, strip searches, and transfer.
The children's testimonies have been meticulously collected and reported by organizations such as DCI, Save the Children, Addameer, and Adalah. In an urgent letter to the Attorney General in 2014, Adalah reported that, from the collected testimonies by DCI that year, children recounted how investigators threatened them with "beatings, isolation, torturing their fathers and raping their mothers and sisters; children were denied food for dozens of hours unless they confessed to the charges against them."
"This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave...[Israel's use of solitary confinement against children is] inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful; and most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees" -Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.
What Does G4S Have to Do with Child Detention?
"G4S must end its complicity in Israel's abuse of child prisoners," Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in a joint open letter to G4S in June 2014. "G4S helps the Israeli prison service to run prisons of Israel that hold prisoners from occupied Palestinian territory, despite the fourth Geneva convention prohibition of the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier. Through its involvement in Israel's prison system, G4S is complicit in violations of international law and participates in Israel's use of mass incarceration as a means by which to dissuade Palestinians from protesting against Israel's systematic human rights abuses." Archbishop Tutu, along with many other community leaders and celebrities in 2014, highlighted that "at its AGM last year, a number of concerned shareholders questioned the G4S board about the company's complicity in the detention and abuse of Palestinian children, eliciting the promise of a review of the current situation." A year on, however, "G4S appears to be as entrenched as ever in the Israeli prison system," the Guardian reported.
All authors of the open letter agree that "this is an unacceptable position for the company" and their engagement in Israel's military detention of children and other prisoners must be stopped at once.
G4S profits from and facilitates the Israeli occupation of Palestine by bolstering Israel's child detention policies, through providing surveillance and infrastructure for multiple Israeli prisons that hold child prisoners.
The campaign No Child Behind Bars/Drop G4S has called upon G4S to drop its contracts with Israel. G4S announced its intentions to pull out of the Israeli prison industrial complex, but has shown no signs of removing itself and has failed to honor its promises in the past.
G4S Outside of Palestine
G4S is not just contributing to human rights abuses and violence against populations in Palestine, they are also overtly present in over 125 countries around the world. Among these other locations, there have been documentations of abuses, violence, and death carried out by G4S guards and in established facilities with G4S partnership.
Learn more on this informative home page showcasing pieces of investigative journalism that highlight G4S participation in incarceration, deportations, and violations worldwide.
Additional Organizations Working on Child Detention in Palestine
Learn more about these organizations and their work on Palestinian political prisoners!