On Thursday, 26 May, prison contractor and massive global security corporation G4S will convene its Annual General Meeting of shareholders in London. The British-Danish corporation has been hit by the rising international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, highlighting its role in profiting from Israeli imprisonment, occupation and siege of Palestinians, as well as in the imprisonment of youth and migrants in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere.
Universities, UN institutions, and public bodies and corporations around the world have decided in growing numbers to Drop G4S and stop contracting with a corporation that is profiting from the misery of oppressed peoples. Palestinian prisoners have urged a boycott of G4S, as have hundreds of Palestinian civil society and international organizations.
G4S’ profiting from oppression is also a point of commonality of movements struggling for social justice nationally and internationally. Black4Palestine noted that “G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the US. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia.” Divestments from G4S at major US universities have been led by Black student movements and collective prison divestment movements.
In Palestine, G4S not only provides security systems, equipment and control rooms to Israeli prisons and interrogation centers, including prisons where children are held and interrogation centers where Palestinians are routinely subject to torture; the corporation also provides such equipment to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, police training centers, and even the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing with Gaza, where Israel enforces its siege of nearly two million Palestinians.
In response to the growing pressure and loss of contracts as G4S’ involvement in the incarceration of youth, migrants and oppressed peoples becomes well-known and campaigns have grown around the world to demand an end to the corporation’s investment in apartheid and repression, the company has pledged to sell off its youth incarceration businesses and its entire G4S Israel subsidiary. However, it has made empty promises in the past of not renewing contracts – yet G4S equipment continues to power the incarceration of Palestinians. Palestinian leaders and activists have emphasized the critical importance of continuing to pressure G4S until the corporation is out of the business of apartheid and oppression profiteering – not merely making promises while Palestinian prisoners continue to suffer behind bars of prisons equipped by G4S.
Protesters in London, Manchester and elsewhere are gathering today as part of the Stop G4S Coalition and related efforts, demanding that G4S get out of occupied Palestine and out of the business of imprisonment of youth, migrants, and people generally. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network protests weekly in New York City against G4S and will protest on Friday, 27 May outside the corporation’s New York office.
As G4S’ AGM convenes in London, Samidoun expresses its support, participation and solidarity with all protests against the British-Danish corporation, and call for escalating and intensifying the boycott of G4S. We urge those present in the meeting to demand G4S’ accountability not only to its own promises and commitments to get out of Palestine. but to international human rights, to the Palestinian people and the international movement for justice.