Today, on April 17th, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, we the undersigned Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations salute all Palestinian political prisoners in their struggles for justice and freedom. Emphasizing imprisonment as a critical component of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid practiced against the Palestinian people, we call for intensifying global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns targeting corporations, like G4S/Allied Universal, for their complicity in Israel’s war crimes and brutal policing and prison system.
Earlier this month, US based security company Allied Universal acquired G4S, creating the world’s largest security company. G4S previously employed 6,000 people in Israel, where it provided and maintained screening equipment for several illegal Israeli settlements, military checkpoints and bases in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). G4S also managed security systems at the Ofer Prison in the OPT and provided technology and surveillance equipment to five Israeli prisons.
As a result of pressure from our effective BDS campaign against G4S, launched on Palestinian Prisoner’s Day in 2012, G4S lost contracts around the world worth millions of dollars. Large investment funds, including the United Methodist Church’s and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, divested from the company, further damaging its reputation. Following this pressure, in December 2016, G4S sold its Israeli subsidiary to the Israeli equity fund FIMI.
However, G4S, and now Allied Universal, continues to be complicit in violations of international law through its 25 percent stake in Policity Corporation.
Policity is a national police training center that trains all Israeli police. The training these officers receive includes crowd control, house raids, interrogation techniques, target shooting, and undercover operations - all tactics aimed at repressing Palestinians, and tactics which lead to arrest and imprisonment.
Israeli police officers often work with Israeli prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are detained. Our organizations have repeatedly documented rampant Israeli torture and degrading treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including children. In many cases, Palestinians arrested by the Israeli military are then transferred to the Israeli police, such as the recent case of the five Palestinian children who were detained for picking wild vegetables.
G4S has also been condemned by campaigners for its involvement in serious human rights violations against migrants, asylum seekers and prisoners worldwide, from South Africa to Guantanamo Bay, and from the US to the UK and far beyond.
To express effective solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, we call for intensifying the Stop G4S campaign to ensure G4S/Allied Universal does indeed end all forms of complicity in Israel’s criminal regime of incarceration and oppression.
Addameer – Prisoner support and human rights association
Palestinian Prisoners Society نادي الأسير