Profits at G4S have been dropping – the firm is over-extended with muddled management. It first warned in 2013 that it was cutting back operations in Israel. Now it has announced its complete withdrawal from its security operations there. The BDS movement may not have caused the decision – but it was ‘reputationally damaging’ and created more disruption than the contract was worth.
The Jordan branch of the UN’s Human Rights Commission has ended all links with G4S the British-Dutch security firm which has contracts for transporting and guarding Palestinian prisoners in Israel. An earlier complaint by Lawyers for Palestinian Human RIghts, that G4S was denying prisoners their rights, was rejected but the NCP (the government body responsible for contract companies) found that G4S used companies that did abuse human rights.
You wouldn’t know it from the coverage in the UK business press, but the National Contact Point for the OECD (a government agency) has judged that G4S has severely restricted freedom of movement through checkpoints and prison services run by its Israeli companies and thus violated humans rights law. The NCP was responding to a complaint from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights.
Arthur Goodman, JfJfP’s diplomatic liaison officer, grew up as a conventional, Israel right-Arabs wrong, Jew. Then came the startling and courageous rebellion of the 1st intifada and the re-telling of Israel’s story by Israel’s new historians. After that, it was JfJfP and his work as an incessant campaigning diplomat in the EU and parliament.
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights have used existing laws and agencies to trigger an investigation into the role of G4S in policing Palestinians. Many European bodies have ruled that Israeli rule breaches human rights laws. It needs outside bodies to compel them to act on their good intentions.
G4S, headquartered in London and the world’s largest security company, is putting on a brave face about 3 news items this week. 1) three of its employees will be prosecuted for the manslaughter of asylum-seeker Jimmy Mubenga. 2) the company has not put in a tender for the renewal of its contract with the BBC. Popular protest at the possibility of the contract going to this tarnished firm has been running for a year. 3) its profits have dropped.
Label something a ‘security’ issue and immediately the ‘suspects’ lose rights and dignity and the agency dealing with it – whether state (IDF, IPS) or private (eg G4S) – acts beyond the scrutiny of prisoner advocates and family. The Independent reports that the OECD might investigate the actions of G4S as the agent for Israeli security. Meanwhile, G4S’s management of Britain’s low-cost Oakwood warehouse prison is under question.
From the few reports available the Palestinian BDS conference held at Bethlehem university on June 8th was a packed and lively affair. It had successes to celebrate (Veolia, G4S), arguments to press – controversially, against ‘normalisation’ and dropping the term ‘occupation’ in favour of ‘apartheid’ – and strategic decisions to be made. How far BDS can be made THE national resistance campaign of Palestinians is also on the table.
Prison practices which are judged illegal are those which deprive a prisoner of his or her basic humanity; removing them far from everyone they know, subjecting them to torture or solitary confinement, holding them without charge, legal representation or trial, refusal to provide medical treatment… G4S has not been accused of all these wrong practices – but enough of them to merit inquiries into their ethical and legal standing.
Spare a moment’s pity for the mega-corporations, like G4S, which enjoyed such a bonanza with the privatisation of once-basic state services. Their profits are not within their own control. At a whim of a government, or a miscalculation by their CEO, they can lose those profits and their reputation. Such is the fate of G4S whose profits and reputation have slumped, not least because of their willingness to serve the Israeli occupation’s treatment (illegal) of Palestinians taken prisoner. (Not an issue in their hasty new ethical policy). Join the protest at this year’s AGM on June 6th, London.
Protests against one of the world’s biggest companies, G4S, which provides Israel with paramilitary and prison services, has forced the company to give up its contracts in the occupied territories. The cost to its reputation – it was voted the world’s third worst company last January – is not worth it.
Who does more damage to human rights, Goldman Sachs, Shell or G4S? John Grayson and Adri Nieuwhof throw their weight behind G4S, a company which ‘privatises warfare, benefits from the occupation of Palestinian lands, enables the detention of Palestinian children – and seven more reasons . Look left to Action Alert for more information on the Public Eye vote.
As the investors in G4S (and (Veolia) might say – forget the politics, look at the prices, which in the case of the shares of both companies have been dropping, as have their reputations. The favourite of privatisers, G4S has gobbled up every state contract it could get – and in the case of policing the Olympics, has been unable to deliver. Financial, news and Birmingham police reports, plus letter fro, G4S campaigners.
G4S and Israel seem made for each other, having in common a paramount concern with security. More surprising might be the contracts the company is winning in Arab countries, despite the official position of many on the oPt. Rather, says Al Akhbar, it is Europeans who are leading moves to question and boycott the company. JfJfP is at the forefront of the campaign to stop G4S winning contracts in the UK.
G4S is the 2nd largest private employer in the world, making its money from public sectors contracting out ‘security’ operations – such as the Olympics this summer. Services to Israeli settlements are one its most profitable and controversial operations. JfJfP actively supports the campaign to stop UK state agencies giving contracts to G4S.
UPDATED The security company G4S has provided security services for the EU (Commission in Brussels and Parliament) and for illegal settlements, military checkpoints and the incarceration of political prisoners in Israel. Now the European Parliament has decided to cancel their contract, a decision applauded by JfJfP which, with others, has campaigned against the role of this multinational company in securing the occupation.
G4S in Denmark, via its Israeli company Hashmira, supplies baggage scanning equipment and body scanners at major checkpoints on the West Bank. No more. A response to public pressure, following on the work of the Coalition of Women for Peace, and its monitoring project “Who Profits?”, for exposing the realities.