G4S to be out of Israeli prisons in three years
G4S has said it will not renew any contracts with the Israeli prison system when they expire in three years time.
Chief executive Ashley Almanza confirmed this a statement to the Financial Times on Friday following protests at the company's AGM.
Earlier this week, the UK government’s National Contact Point watchdog launched an investigation into G4S’s activities in Israel and the West Bank. The National Contact Point, which is part of the Department for Business, said it had “accepted issues for further examination”. It follows a formal complaint by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, a charity that has long criticised G4S.
The decision came even though an independent human rights report commissioned by G4S and published on Thursday found the company “had no causal or contributory role in human rights violations”.
The news received a cautious welcome from activists.
“The latest reports that G4S will not renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service is a welcome step, but this has no immediate effect on those facing human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today,” Randa Wahbe, advocacy officer with the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, told The Electronic Intifada.
“G4S has a long track record of saying one thing but doing another and has not made any formal written statements about when it intends to end its contracts with the Israeli prison service and other aspects of Israel’s apartheid regime... The campaign against G4S will continue until it actually ends all contracts that support Israel’s military occupation.” she added.
The Electronic Intifada website states that, "G4S has “blood on its hands” by providing surveillance systems and other services at facilities like Megiddo prison, where father of three Arafat Jaradat was tortured to death last year."
According to the FT G4S employs 8,000 people in Israel, supplying 50,000 customers – including 35,000 private individuals.
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