18th Mar 2016 – DEMAND UNICEF END ITS CONTRACTS WITH G4S – FREE HARES BOYS #UNdumpG4S
DATE: Friday 18th March 2016 4pm
LOCATION: UNICEF, 30 Great Sutton St, London EC1V 0DU (Farringdon rail, Barbican tube)
G4S secures Israel’s interrogation centres and prisons where Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are tortured and caged. Earlier this month (Mar 2016) it was announced that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jordan ended its contract with G4S worth $131,412.42 following a sustained campaign by activists in Jordan and across the world (including London, see Inminds protest 11th Dec 2015). We welcome this decision, but UNICEF still has 11 outstanding contracts with the British security company G4S across 7 countries worth over $1 million (figures from 2014). Please join us outside UNICEF House in London to demand UNICEF stop rewarding those that facilitate the torture of children with lucrative contracts and immediately dump G4S, and for the UN as whole to dump its $22 million worth of G4S contracts.
Last week, on 9th March 2016, G4S announced its intention to sell its Israel operation within the next 12-24 months. This is not the first time G4S had made similar promises, and in the past it has not kept them. Inminds have held regular protests outside the global headquarters of G4S in London for nearly 4 years. For us these are hollow words, and until we see those words followed by concrete action, our sustained campaign against G4S continues.
We will also be demanding the immediate release of the Hares Boys – 5 Palestinian teens who have been tortured and caged in a G4S secured Israeli prisons for a crime that didn’t even happen. This week marks the 3rd anniversary of their abduction. On 26th November 2015 the Israel’s military court unjustly sentenced each boy to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 NIS (nearly $8000 USD).
BACKGROUND – UNICEF & G4S
The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has 11 contracts remaining with the British security company G4S across 7 countries worth over $1 million in 2014.
Bangladesh $ 209,545.23
Chile $ 95,223.95
Djibouti $ 76,221.51
Gabon $ 37,154.28
India $ 530,039.81
Indonesia $ 48,875.48
Lebanon $ 92,087.88
The United Nations as a whole has contracts with G4S worth over $22 million USD in 2014.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child report 4 July 2013 notes that “an average of two [Palestinian] children per day” are “arrested, interrogated and detained” by the Israeli army, that the children are “systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture.. physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, restricted access to toilet, food and water. These crimes are perpetrated from the time of arrest, during transfer and interrogation, to obtain a confession but also on an arbitrary basis as testified by several Israeli soldiers as well as during pretrial detention.. Many Palestinian child detainees are transferred out of the OPT and serve their detention and sentences inside Israel in breach of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
G4S secures interrogation centres at Al-Jalame and Jerusalem (“Russian Compound”) where children are tortured and prisons at Ofer and in Israel like Megiddo, Damon and HaSharon where children are illegally transferred and caged.
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 is complicit in several of Israel’s violations of international law. Similarly a 2012 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 criticises G4S for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.
Principle 6 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights sets out that “states should promote respect for human rights by business enterprises with which they conduct commercial transactions”. 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”.
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:
Nearly one year on, the UN still hasn’t responded to the letter, but in Dec 2015 the Jordanian branch of the UN Refugee Agency admitted it is no longer using the services of the British security firm G4S, and last week UNICEF in Jordan ended its contract with G4S. This followed sustained protests in Jordan outside the UN centre.
Supporting this ongoing campaign, we are asking UNICEF not to abandon Palestinian children to G4S secured torture dens, for all UN agencies including UNICEF to follow its own principles and immediately end all its contracts with G4S (worth over $22 million USD in 2014).
BACKGROUND – HARES BOYS
On 14th March 2013 a simple car accident, when a illegal Israeli settler car speeding along a road built illegally on stolen Palestinian land, crashed in to the back of an Israeli truck which had stopped to change a flat tire resulting in four people being hurt, was later at the behest of angry settlers presented as an attack by Palestinian stone throwing youth. The truck drivers earlier testimony that he stopped due to a flat tire was replaced with the new reason being that he had seen stones by the road, and an accident that nobody saw suddenly became a terror attack with 61 witnesses including the police!
Over the next few days over 50 masked Israeli soldiers with attack dogs stormed the local village of Hares in the early hours of the morning and in waves of violent arrests kidnapped the children of the village. In total 19 children were taken to the infamous G4S secured children’s dungeon at Al Jalame and locked up in solitary confinement for up to 2 weeks in filthy windowless 1m by 2m hole in the ground cells with no mattress. The Israeli prime minister Benyamin Natanyahu announced to the settlers that he had “caught the terrorists”. The children were violently tortured and sexual threats were made against the female members of their families in order to coerce confessions from the boys.
With the confessions and the new “eye-witness” statements, five of the Hares boys were charged with 25 counts of attempted murder each, even though there were only four people in the car and all are now safe at home. Apparently the military court had decided that 25 stones were thrown, each with an “intent to kill”. The five boys – Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Mehdi Suleiman, Tamer Souf, and Ammar Souf are currently locked up in another G4S secured facility – Megiddo prison where G4S provides the entire central command room.
In violation of international law Israel has turned prisons in to money making enterprises with the boys essentially forced to pay for their own imprisonment. Israel deliberately fails to provide Palestinian prisoners the basic essentials – edible food, cloths (underwear, shoes..) and hygiene products (soap, toothbrush..). The boys are forced to buy these at the extortionately priced prison shop costing the families over € 125/month to provide for one child’s basic needs in prison.
With no evidence of a crime the military court keeps on postponing the hearing dates from one month to the next, meanwhile the boys remain caged indefinitely and their families facing financial ruin in the process. The occupation in its cruelty doesn’t inform the families of cancellations. The families spend most of their day queuing and enduring the humiliation at the checkpoints, then waiting at the court in anticipation of catching a glimpse of their son.. only to be disappointed at the end. Not that evidence, or lack of it, has any bearing in an Israeli military court – a study conducted by the Israeli NGO ‘No Legal Frontiers’ over a 12 month period concluded that 100% of Palestinian children brought before the military court are convicted. If the five boys are convicted they will be locked up for over 25 years – five young lives ruined with no evidence of a crime let alone their guilt.
On 26th November 2015 the Israel’s military court unjustly sentenced each boy to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 NIS (nearly $8000 USD). The campaign to free the Hares Boys continues..
We are demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all the children and hold G4S complicit in Israel’s crimes, particularly in the torture of Palestinian children.
LIVE UPDATES DURING PROTEST
We will, inshAllah, be tweeting live from the protest with live photos being uploaded to our twitter and facebook page. So if you can’t join us on the day, please help us by sharing the photos as they get uploaded.