Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is one of over 220 Palestinian and international organizations who have issued the following letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, urging it to immediately cancel its contracts with global security multinational G4S, which provides security systems to the Israeli prisons which hold thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. Palestinian prisoners have emphasized the need to boycott G4S and similar corporations.

In April 2015, a group of Palestinian human rights organizations wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the UN to terminate its contracts with international security company G4S due to its complicity in the Israeli occupation’s prison system and human rights violations as well as a record of grave human rights violations around the world.

Five months later, the UN has still not replied to the letter. Today, Palestinian human rights organizations joined by over 220 solidarity groups, trade unions, human rights orgabizations and migrant solidarity groups from around the world renew the call and urge the UN to cancel its contract with G4S because of the role the company plays in human rights abuses in Palestine and other parts of the world.

Mr. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
760 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

10 September 2015

Dear Mr. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

We, the undersigned community organisations, trade unions, faith and student groups from around the world are deeply troubled that the United Nations has a number of major contracts with the international security company G4S, providing services to UN facilities and agencies, in violation of the UN’s own guidelines. We urge the UN to end its relationship with G4S due to the company’s clear and active role in human rights abuses.

G4S is complicit with Israel’s human rights violations and demonstrates by its actions that it does not support or respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights:

● G4S has an ongoing contract with the Israeli Prison Service to provide and maintain security systems at Israeli prisons that currently hold almost 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners.  Palestinian and international human rights organisations have documented widespread torture and mistreatment of Palestinian political prisoners, including of children.

By maintaining security systems at Israel’s prisons, G4S assists Israel with its use of mass incarceration to deter Palestinians from protesting against Israel’s violations of international law. Through its involvement in prisons inside Israel, G4S is complicit in Israel’s violations of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier.

● G4S provides equipment and services to checkpoints that make up the route of Israel’s Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004; to private businesses in illegal Israeli settlements and to Israeli police facilities in other Israeli government buildings in the occupied West Bank.

● G4S has provided equipment to checkpoints that enforce the siege of Gaza.

A legal study conducted by the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre found that G4S has “failed to demonstrate a genuine commitment to comply with international law in good faith” and outlined various ways in which G4S is not in compliance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

A 2012 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 criticised G4S for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

While G4S has made various commitments to end some aspects of its participation in Israeli human rights violations, it has not yet met any of these commitments, and has instead tried to deflect criticism of its role in Israeli human rights violations, including by hiring known pro-Israel advocates to write legal analyses of its activities in Palestine/Israel. These analyses, commissioned by G4S, are neither independent nor credible.

G4S commits grave human rights violations across the world

As well as its participation in Israel’s human rights violations, G4S commits grave human rights violations across the world:

● G4S has been implicated in labour rights violations at several of its global sites. Official complaints under OECD guidelines from G4S sites in Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa (and others) led to a G4S commitment to workers’ rights in 2008, but despite this, in the following years G4S was implicated in labour rights abuses in Uganda, South Korea, and South Africa, demonstrating that G4S cannot be trusted to maintain the fair conditions that it formally agrees to. 

● G4S has a dreadful track record of serious negligence and violent abuse in prisons it runs around the world. In the UK, G4S lost a contract for one of its multiple private prisons after evidence emerged of improper management of health care provision, suicide prevention and human rights protection. In South Africa, investigations exposed G4S security teams using electric shocks and forcible medical injections of anti-psychotic drugs at the Mangaung prison.  In the United States, G4S operates juvenile detention facilities, provides infrastructure to track and confine formerly incarcerated people, and works alongside Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to detain and deport people across the U.S./Mexico border and to transfer immigrants to detention facilities across the country.

● G4S has also been criticised for its responsibility for deaths in custody during deportation and immigrant detention. In one well-known case, Angolan national Jimmy Mubenga was suffocated to death by three G4S guards while being deported in 2010.  In another case, a Kenyan national Eliud Nguli Nyenze died at a G4S removal center run by G4S, after he was refused medicine earlier in the day despite his complaints of severe pain.  G4S received 1,497 complaints in three years regarding its human rights record in these deportation institutions.

The obligation of the UN to uphold human rights

The UN Supplier Code of Conduct states “the UN expects its suppliers to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and to ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses”.

The UN Group on the Use of Mercenaries recently reported the risks of hiring companies with tarred human rights records.

We urge the UN to apply its own principles and standards and to end its relationship with G4S due to its clear and active role in human rights abuses.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)- Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Palestine
    – Aldameer Association for Human Rights, Palestine
    – Al-Haq, Palestine
    – Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestine
    – BADIL – Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Palestine
    – Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryaat”, Palestine
    – Defence for Children International – Palestine
    – Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Palestine
    – Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, Palestine
    – Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Palestine
    – Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, Palestine
    – The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Palestine
  2. Palestinian BDS National Committee, Palestine
  3. Al-Harah Theater, Palestine
  4. Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners, Palestine
  5. Alternative Information Center (AIC), Palestine/Israel
  6. Australian Friends of Palestine Association, Australia
  7. Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Sydney University, Australia
  8. Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (Sydney), Australia
  9. Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Belgium
  10. ECCP – European Coordination of Committees and Association for Palestine, Belgium
  11. Gents ActiePlatform Palestina, Belgium
  12. intal, Belgium
  13. Palestina solidariteit, Belgium
  14. Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, Belgium
  15. Solidarité Socialiste, Belgium
  16. Third World Health Aid, Belgium
  17. Vlaams-Socialistische Beweging (V-SB), Belgium
  18. Vrede vzw, Belgium
  19. BDS Vancouver – Coast Salish Territories, Canada
  20. Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver, Canada
  21. Camp Micah:  Leadership for Peace and Justice, Canada
  22. Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver, Canada
  23. Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, Canada
  24. Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Canada
  25. Educators for Justice, Canada
  26. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Canada
  27. ICAHD Finland, Finland
  28. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP – Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine), France,
  29. BDS Berlin, Germany
  30. German-Palestinian Association, Germany
  31. InCACBI (Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), India
  32. Palestine Solidarity Committee in India, India
  33. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign , Ireland
  34. Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS), Israel
  35. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – ICAHD, Israel
  36. ARCI, Italy
  37. Associazione di Amicizia Italo e Palestinese Onlus, Italy
  38. Associazione Sarda Contro l’Emarginazione (A.S.C.E.), Italy
  39. AssoPacePalestina, Italy
  40. BDS Italy, Italy
  41. Circolo SEL Aurelio Boccea Roma, Italy
  42. Comitato BDS Campania, Italy
  43. Comitato di Base NoMuos/NoSigonella (Catania), Italy
  44. Comitato Pistoiese per la Palestina, Italy
  45. Coordinamento Nord Sud del Mondo, Italy
  46. FIOM Cgil, Italy
  47. Forum Palestina, Italy
  48. Gruppi Informali, Italy
  49. International Tahir, Italy
  50. Lorusso Editore, Italy
  51. MAIA – Make An Impact Association ONLUS, Italy
  52. Palestina Rossa, Italy
  53. Rete Radié Resch di solidarietà internazionale-Udine group-Italy, Italy
  54. Salaam Ragazzi Dell’olivo Trieste, Italy
  55. Servizio Civile Internazionale, Italy
  56. U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice – Rome, Italy
  57. ULAIA ArteSud onlus, Italy
  58. Un ponte per…, ITaly
  59. UnitiperlaPalestina, Italy
  60. AlBalad Theater, Jordan
  61. Arab Education Forum, Jordan
  62. Arab Society for the Protection of Nature , Jordan
  63. Arab Women Organization, Jordan
  64. BDS Jordan, Jordan
  65. Eibal Society, Jordan
  66. Health Care Workers Association, Jordan
  67. Independent Electricity Workers Association, Jordan
  68. Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Jordan, Jordan
  69. Jerusalem Forum, Jordan
  70. National Society for Freedom and Democracy in Jordan, Jordan
  71. Phenix Center, Jordan
  72. Taleeleh Society, Jordan
  73. Women for Jerusalem, Jordan
  74. Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient (CPJPO), Luxembourg
  75. Association de Solidarité Maroc Palestine, Morocco
  76. Initiative BDS Maroc, Morocco
  77. Article1Collective, Netherlands
  78. docP, Netherlands
  79. Industri Energi, Norway
  80. Norsk Transportarbeiderforbund (Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union), Norway
  81. Rød Ungdom of Norway, Norway
  82. Sosialistisk Ungdom, Norway
  83. The Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine, Norway
  84. BDS Slovenija, Slovenia
  85. BDS South Africa, South Africa
  86. Al-Quds Association for Solidarity with the People in Arab Countries, Spain
  87. Autonomas por Palestina – Spain, Spain
  88. BDS-Granada, Spain
  89. Red Antisionista, Spain
  90. RESCOP, Spain
  91. The Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden, Sweden
  92. BDS Switzerland, Switzerland
  93. BDS Zürich, Switzerland
  94. Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland, UK
  95. Beyond Borders North East (UK), UK
  96. Boycott Israel Network, UK
  97. Brent & Harrow PSC, UK
  98. Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), UK
  99. Football Against Apartheid, UK
  100. Greater Manchester and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK
  101. Greater Manchester Stop G4S, UK
  102. Inminds, UK
  103. Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, UK
  104. Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), UK
  105. King’s College London Action Palestine, UK
  106. Leeds No Borders, UK
  107. Leicester Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
  108. London Palestine Action, UK
  109. Merton Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
  110. No To G4S Huddersfield, UK
  111. Palestine Alliance, UK
  112. Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
  113. Portsmouth & South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
  114. Right to Remain, UK
  115. Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group, UK
  116. Southampton Students for Palestine, UK
  117. StopG4S, UK
  118. SYMAAG South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, UK
  119. The Iona Community, UK
  120. Waltham Forest PSC, UK
  121. War on Want, UK
  122. We Own It, UK
  123. York Left Unity, UK
  124. 14 Friends of Palestine, Marin, US
  125. Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, US
  126. Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, US
  127. Al-Awda New York: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, US
  128. Al-Nakba Awareness Project, US
  129. Albany-Corvallis Friends of Middle East Peace, US
  130. Amistad Law Project, US
  131. Ark of the Covenant, US
  132. Bay Area Women in Black, US
  133. BDS San Diego, US
  134. BDS-LA, for justice in Palestine, US
  135. Block The Boat Tampa, US
  136. Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, US
  137. Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition, US
  138. Carolina Peace Resource Center, US
  139. Chico Palestine Action Group, US
  140. Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, Kansas City, USA
  141. Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Tucson, US
  142. Code Pink Women for Peace, US
  143. Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ), US
  144. Committee for Palestinian Rights (Howard County, MD), US
  145. Deir Yassin Society USA, US
  146. End Streamline Coalition, Tucson, US
  147. Facilitate Global, US
  148. Friends of Palestine WI, US
  149. Friends of Sabeel – Sacramento Region, US
  150. Friends of Sabeel North America, US
  151. Front Range Jewish Voice for Peace, US
  152. Grassroots International, US
  153. Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, US
  154. Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project, US
  155. International Action Center, US
  156. Jewish People’s Liberation Organization, US
  157. Jewish Voice for Peace, US
  158. Jewish Voice for Peace – San Diego, US
  159. Jewish Voice for Peace – South Florida, US
  160. Jewish Voice for Peace – Tucson, US
  161. Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, US
  162. Jewish Voice for Peace -Atlanta, US
  163. Jewish Voice for Peace Milwaukee, US
  164. Jewish Voice for Peace–Colorado, US
  165. Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland, OR, US
  166. Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area Chapter, US
  167. Jewish Voice for Peace, Ithaca, NY, Chapter, US
  168. Jewish Voice for Peace, Philadelphia, US
  169. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, US
  170. Jews Say No!, US
  171. Joining Hands for Justice in Israel & Palestine, US
  172. Keep Hope Alive Bay Area, US
  173. Labor for Palestine, US
  174. Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, US
  175. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, US
  176. Massachusetts Peace Action, US
  177. Middle East Children’s Alliance , US
  178. Middle East Crisis Response, US
  179. MidEast: JustPeace, US
  180. Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, US
  181. National Lawyers Guild, US
  182. New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT), US
  183. North Coast Coalition for Palestine, US
  184. North Texas BDS, US
  185. Organization for Black Struggle, US
  186. Palestine Action Group, US
  187. Palestine Street Action, US
  188. Palestine-Israel  Working Group of Nevada County, US
  189. pdxJustice Media Productions, US
  190. Peace Action Staten Island, US
  191. Peace by Piece, US
  192. People for Peace and Justice Sandusky County, US
  193. Peregrine Forum, US
  194. Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice, US
  195. Sabeel DC Metro, US
  196. Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights, US
  197. SJP at UC Irvine Chapter, US
  198. St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace, US
  199. St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, US
  200. Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine, US
  201. Students for Justice in Palestine at UC San Diego, US
  202. Students for Justice in Palestine, Rutgers University New Brunswick Campus, US
  203. The Dream Defenders, US
  204. The Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (Philly BDS), US
  205. Tribe X, US
  206. UCLA BlaQue Consciousness, US
  207. Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, US
  208. United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, US
  209. United for Justice with Peace, US
  210. United Methodist Kairos Response, US
  211. United Methodist of Upper New York Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel, US
  212. United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force, US
  213. United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), US
  214. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, US
  215. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US
  216. Vancouver for Peace, US
  217. Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, US
  218. Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, US
  219. WESPAC Foundation, US
  220. Wisconsin Middle East Lobby Group, US