Protest at G4S AGM accuses company of violating human rights

 

– Shareholders handed an alternative annual report detailing violation
– 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

Thursday June 7 2012

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 ÂŁ2 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.

  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 at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/media/2012/06//496831.pdf 
  1. For more information on the Jimmy Mubenga case, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/oct/14/security-guards-accused-jimmy-mubenga-death 
  1. For latest on Palestinian political prisoners, see
    http://www.addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=486
  2. For more information on the role of G4S in Israel and Palestine, see http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/security-firm-g4s-provides-services-israeli-prisons-police-and-army

See also: G4S: securing whose world?

You are not imagining it. The G4S logo really is popping up all over the place — in your local supermarket, on your local street, on police uniforms if you happen live in the English county of Lincolnshire.

And it’s all over the London Olympics, where 25,000 security people will be working under G4S control. The company’s bill, £300 million. (That’s right: £300 million).

The world’s biggest security company, G4S operates in 125 countries. Slogan: Securing Your World.

It’s based in Britain, where it is fast taking over vital public services. . . in policing, running prisons and children’s homes, dominating “asylum markets”, training magistrates, assessing welfare claimants, building and running hospitals and schools. It’s a very big player in the Private Finance Initiative.

G4S is installing smart meters in our homes, guarding our supermarkets, supplying number-plate recognition technology to retailers, the police and the military, performing covert surveillance for insurance companies.

In so many ways G4S is watching us.

Since early 2010 OurKingdom has been watching G4S, shining a light on this company’s extraordinary progress and its cosy relations with government.

Growing from our reporting on the scandal of child immigration detention here in the UK, OurKingdom’s award-winning reporting and analysis has been followed by, among others, the BBC, The Times, The Guardian and the New York Times ↑ .

We have explored human rights abuses and child protection failings. And revisited the horrible death of Mr Ward, the Aboriginal Elder cooked to death in G4S’s care, whose case casts doubt upon often-unchallenged assumptions about the virtues of privatisation.

We welcome fresh submissions, intelligence from within G4S, and reports, like this one, on G4S around the world. Please, let us know how G4S is securing your world.

sambrook@opendemocracy.net

 G4S asylum housing, the evictions begin: mother and baby dumped in substandard flat

JOHN GRAYSON, 30 MAY 2012

On Tuesday 8 May a Bradford asylum seeker and her twelve week old baby were given barely a week’s notice by private landlord UPM to quit their home. On Thursday 17th they were transported forty miles to a tiny flat in Doncaster with no cooker, table or chair, and only a tiny sink to wash dishes and clothes.

Campaigners in Bradford and Doncaster supported the mother and engaged with local medical services and the Red Cross, and protested to the UK Border Agency and local authorities.

The protests prompted a Border Agency inspector to visit the Doncaster flat. On Monday the Border Agency declared the flat “contractually non-compliant” and “not suitable in its present state for mothers and babies”. The Border Agency claimed it had instructed UPM to relocate the mother and baby as a matter of urgency. But they remain in the Doncaster flat, marooned 40 miles from anybody they know.

This is the new world of asylum seeker housing controlled by G4S, the world’s biggest security company.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/collections/g4s-securing-whose-world