Protest at G4S AGM accuses company of violating human rights

22 Jun

7 June, 2012 – 19:39 — London NoBorders

Protest at G4S AGM accuses company of violating human rights

Thursday June 7 2012

* Shareholders handed an alternative annual report detailing violations
* G4S contracts with Israeli Prison Service condemned as three Palestinian prisoners enter 81st day of hunger strike
* Company accused of hiring establishment figures to escape censure for track record of abuse in UK immigration and prison system

See press release and photos here.

More than 70 people demonstrated outside the G4S Annual General Meeting this afternoon to protest against the company’s horrendous human rights record in various ‘markets’, from Israeli prisons and UK immigration detention centres to destroying public services.

Campaigners met shareholders at the entrance and handed them an alternative annual report that looked like a real G4S publication, but criticised the conduct of the private security company in its dealings with the UK and Israeli governments.

The company lost its contract to deport refused migrants from the UK last September after 773 complaints of abuse were made against the company and following the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker who died after being ‘restrained’ by G4S guards.

Despite this, G4S has recently been awarded contracts to provide housing for asylum seekers, organise security for the Olympic games and run huge parts of the Lincolnshire police force.

The company also runs six prisons where 400 prisoners are hired for 40 hours a week for as little as £2 a day.

G4S looks set to be awarded further immigration, policing and prison contracts and to take on a greater role in the NHS.

‘G4S has manoeuvred itself into a pole position to profit from the coalition government’s plans to destroy public services through slashing workers’ pay and sacrificing the quality of services, as well as by hiring establishment figures like former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Paul Condon as board members. Poorer services, less accountability, more profits.’ said Shiar Youssef of Corporate Watch, a research organisation which recently published a comprehensive profile detailing the company’s activities and alleged crimes.

G4S also provides equipment to Israeli prisons in which Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners, are illegally held and tortured.

More than 1,600 Palestinian political prisoners recently held a mass hunger strike and several remain on hunger strike. Palestinian organisation Addameer last night warned that the three Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 81 days face an ‘imminent threats to their lives’.

‘Israel systematically denies Palestinian political prisoners their basic rights, including the right to a fair trial and to protection from arbitrary detention and torture. How can the UK government give lucrative public contracts to a company that has chosen to facilitate the denial of such basic rights?’ asked Diana Neslen of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Israel is forbidden to transfer Palestinian prisoners from occupied territories to prisons inside Israel by Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Despite this, thousands of Palestinian prisoners are unlawfully held in prisons inside Israel that are supplied by G4S.

G4S also provides equipment and services to Israeli settlements, checkpoints and the illegal Apartheid Wall.

The protest was supported by Palestine Place, a newly reclaimed space in central London hosting two weeks of workshops and discussions in support of Palestine.

Notes to editors

1. The action was supported by the Boycott Israel Network, Corporate Watch, Croydon Migrant Solidarity, Defend the Right to Protest, Friends of al-Aqsa, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, No Borders London, No One is Illegal, Palestine Place, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Stop Deportation Network, War on Want, Yorkshire Region Plus No to G4S Campaign.

1. The alternative report is available here

2. For more information on the Jimmy Mubenga case, see here

3. For latest on Palestinian political prisoners, see here

4. For more information on the role of G4S in Israel and Palestine, see here

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