24th May 2012
Veolia – a case to answer
Veolia is a multinational company providing services to local authorities and other bodies up and down the country. It is also involved in providing services linking Israel to its illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Many people are campaigning against Veolia being considered for contracts in the UK (and elsewhere) while it is complicit in the illegal occupation. They are encountering the view, prevalent among local authorities, that what Veolia does elsewhere is not relevant in the UK. It is even claimed that it would be illegal not to consider them when awarding contracts.
We consulted Hickman & Rose, Solicitors on this and related questions. They have prepared a legal briefing note on Veolia at the request of JfJfP and the No to Veolia Action Group (NO2VAG) advising that There is every reason for excluding Veolia from public contracts in the UK and no good legal reason not to do so. Accompanying their briefing are factsheets providing additional information and support for their arguments. They are published here for the first time.
We would like to acknowledge the important contribution made by Angus Geddes over the years to the Veolia campaign in general and to carrying out much of the work that has gone into producing these Factsheets. We are all indebted to The Civic Coalition for Defending the Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem whose report The Jerusalem Light Rail Train: Consequences and Effects highlighted the issue. The content of the factsheets draws heavily on the invaluable work of Who Profits from the Occupation (an Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace research project) ; and on that of researcher Adri Nieuwhof who has published consistently on this and other topics related to the occupation on the Electronic Intifada and who also gave evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (see below). Thanks to Islington Friends of Yibna who instigated the legal work on Veolia and to Salim Alam who commissioned specific work on UK and EU law on all of which this brief has drawn. Finally, special thanks to Daniel Machover of Hickman & Rose for his work and commitment beyond the call.
Update 9th October 2012
Additional legal advice, relating to arguments presented to Canterbury City Council, is posted here.
For general information on campaigns against Veolia see the Dump Veolia Information Group website
The Legal Briefing:
Some additional references
The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Light Rail Train: Consequences and Effects, December 2009
A Different Jewish Voice (Een Ander Joods Geluid) & United Civilians for Peace (Cordaid, ICCO, Oxfam Novib and IKV Pax Christi), Veolia Fact file and relevant maps of East Jerusalem, planned routes of the light rail, and the Tovlan landfill. (There is also an extensive legal opinion in Dutch only.)
Adri Nieuwhof, Video of Evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Implications of Corporate Activities In & Around Settlements (Part 2), starting at 3’03″