North London ‘Bin Veolia’ Campaign – act now – there is a 10th December deadline


November 20, 2010
Richard Kuper
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veoliaDerail Veolia — campaign update


The Bin Veolia campaign in North London aims to prevent Veolia from being awarded a contract by the North London Waste Authority.  The NLWA is the statutory waste disposal authority for the London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest, and have now long-listed Veolia to run the waste disposal facilities in North London.Veolia is a company complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine – see below and more generally.

The NWLA will be selecting companies for a short list on 10th December 2010.

Please take action now if you live in the affected boroughs:

* Contact your local councilors; see a sample letter below

* Email the Chair of the NWLA Cllr Clyde Loakes, to make the points in the letter:

* Please ask your colleagues, friends, family and anyone you know to take action on this.

* Get in touch with Martial Kurtz if you want to get further involved in this campaign

Background

Veolia, a large French multinational, is helping to build and operate a tramway linking illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with Israel. Not only do the settlements contravene article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention forbidding an occupier transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies, but in most cases the establishment of the Israeli settlements involved war crimes too. The tramway tightens Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, ties the settlements more firmly into Israel and undermines chances of a just peace for the Palestinian people.

Veolia also operates bus services for Israeli settlers, running them between the illegal settlements and Israel. The buses travel on settler roads, which have decimated Palestinian towns and villages by stealing their land for construction, and cut them off from each other. Palestinians are forbidden from using these settler-only apartheid roads, which are one of the means of restricting their movement within the West Bank.

Through its subsidiary, TMM, Veolia also collects refuse from illegal settlements at the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley.

Recent Achievements of the campaign

Successful campaigning has already resulted in Veolia losing major contracts in Stockholm, Bordeaux and Melbourne this year. A campaign by West Midlands PSC led to Veolia failing to make the Sandwell borough’s shortlist for a rubbish collection contract.

The campaign is gathering momentum. In Britain, under the Public Contract Regulations 2006, a company can be excluded from a contract on the grounds of grave misconduct. What could be graver than aiding and abetting war crimes?

There are press reports that Veolia is buckling under the pressure and wants to get out of the Jerusalem project, but it has refused to comment. We are demanding that Veolia pulls out of the tramway project, ends the Israeli-only bus service and stops collecting rubbish from the illegal settlements.

What you can do in general

  • Circulate the information about Veolia’s complicity in the occupation to every local authority and business in the UK that might have, now or in the future, a contract with Veolia.
  • Ask your local council to exclude Veolia from bidding for future contracts (whether they have an existing contract or not) or to cancel existing contracts at the earliest opportunity. Tell them why they shouldn’t contract with Veolia.
  • Check the rubbish skips used by your area’s places of worship, local shops and businesses: if they are using Veolia Environmental Services, Onyx or Cleanaway (all Veolia) get them to switch to another contractor.
  • Make sure to inform PSC if you find any more Veolia Environmental Services, Veolia Transport or Veolia Water public contracts ending in 2010 or 2011 in your area

Councils and public bodies with Veolia contracts ending within 2-3 years are a prime focus for the campaign. We can be sure that Veolia will bid for the replacement contract.

Contracts that are expiring soon that we have so far identified — all with Veolia Environmental Services — include: Greater London Authority (GLA); Westminster City; Richmond (London Borough); Norwich City; Portsmouth City; Glasgow University; West Yorkshire Wakefield &District Housing Ltd; South Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust and Welsh Health Supplies (NHS). Please take action and contact us if you live in any of these areas. Draft letters are on the BIG website.



Sample letter to councillors

Dear COUNCILLOR’s NAME

RE: Please take action to exclude Veolia Environmental Services from the North London Waste Authority waste management infrastructure contract.

I am writing to you to as my local Councillor to urge the North London Waste Authority Joint Committee to remove Veolia from the list of firms invited to tender for the waste management infrastructure contract and indeed for any other contracts due to its involvement in activities in illegally occupied Palestine, ahead of the short listing process in December.

I hope that you will support the human rights of the Palestinian people in this matter – as have Swansea, Sandwell, Cork, Donegal and Dublin Councils in recent months – in requesting North London Waste Authority to use their discretion in removing Veolia from its list of contractors eligible to tender for contracts.

Under Public Contract Regulations 2006 a contracting authority may exclude an economic operator from bidding for a contract or may reject any such bid where it is found that the individual or organisation has “committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession” (section 23(4)(e)).

The Veolia parent company is Veolia Environment, a French multinational.  Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environment, is a leading partner in the CityPass consortium and has been involved in building the light rail tramway system linking West Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.  The rail system will cement Israel’s hold on occupied east Jerusalem and tie the settlements even more firmly into the State of Israel.

Veolia also supports illegal settlements through the Tovlan landfill site in occupied Jordan Valley, taking refuse from settlements, owned and operated by Veolia through its subsidiary TMM and runs two bus services 109 and 110 operated by its local company Connex.  This service links the settlements to Israel by a road on which until recently West Bank Palestinians were forbidden to travel.

Numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall have confirmed that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.  The settlements destroy Palestinian homes and livelihood violating Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention.  The United Nations Human Rights Council on 14th April 2010 expressed its grave concern at “The Israeli decision to establish and operate a tramway between West Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev, which is in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.”

As recently as April 2010 the UN Human Rights Council declared the tramway and its operation to be illegal (A/HRC/RES/13/7 of 14 April 2010).  The resolution was passed 49 to 1, with the UK, France and all the EU members of the Council voting in favour.  The operation of the tramway is precisely what Veolia has a contract to do.

Through its involvement in these activities, Veolia is facilitating Israel’s ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is complicit in its perpetuation of those breaches.  In other words, Veolia is involved in aiding and abetting on-going war crimes and is profiteering from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

Please support justice for the Palestinian People for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East.

I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

your name

Keyword: binveolia

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