Two activists outside the G4S HQ hold a large banner which reads G4S Profiting From Gaza’s Suffering”.
By Elham Asaad Buaras
The world’s biggest security company and third-largest private sector employer has vowed not to renew some of its contracts in Israel (due to expire in 2015) after pressure by pro-Palestinian groups.
The Britain’s G4S, which employs 6,000 people in Israel, confirmed it will not renew contracts at Ofer prison and checkpoints in the West Bank.
Holding Palestinians from the West Bank in detention facilities inside Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory.
The decision not to renew the contracts was confirmed in the wake of fresh protests by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment movement, which campaigns for the boycott of Israel and companies it accuses of being complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.
On April 15 the Scottish Trades Union Congress intensified pressure on G4S when its congress voted to support boycott of the multinational.
G4S was also lobbied by trade unions in Norway who also called for the company to cease activities complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and mistreatment of Palestinians.
G4S confirmed to Britain’s Financial Times it will exit the contracts “which involve the servicing of security equipment at a small number of barrier checkpoints, a prison and a police station in the West Bank area.”
G4S will continue to service security systems in other sites inside Israel including Ketziot and Megiddo prisons and the notorious detention facilities of Jerusalem.
G4S will also facilitate the Al Jalame interrogation centre in northern Israel where Defence for Children International reported children are locked in solitary small confinement, some for 65 days, before being the interrogated sometimes for hours while shackled by their hands and feet to a chair.
Many prisoners, including children, receive either limited or no family visits, due to freedom of movement restrictions. In the case of children, this also violates their rights under Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Reports of assaults and torture of Palestinian prisoners are also routine.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) vowed to continue to mount the campaign against G4S which it says is “clearly feeling the heat of the protests.”
PSC Director, Sarah Colborne, said they will pile the pressure on G4S’s would-be contractors to exclude the company from bids including a £80m security contract with the BBC. Campaigners across the UK are targeting bids and tendering processes to oppose bids being awarded to G4S,” said Colborne in a statement to The Muslim News.