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UK watchdog finds G4S is violating human rights obligations towards Palestinians
[9 June 2015] – Today, the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) published a finding that the British security firm, G4S, is currently violating three human rights obligations under the OECD Guidelines arising from its contracts to provide security services to Israeli military checkpoints and prisons located inside the West Bank and Israel.
The NCP’s decision followed a detailed investigation into a human rights complaint submitted by the UK legal charity, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR). It has found significant failures by G4S in its overarching obligations to 'respect human rights’; as well as the obligation to 'prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to its business operations' in the region. This is a serious indictment of the human rights record of G4S.
In making its findings, the NCP accepted evidence submitted by LPHR in relation to human rights violations at checkpoints and in prison facilities, including:
  • Substantial restrictions on Palestinians freedom of movement, with associated adverse impacts on the right to health, education, work and standard of living, caused by Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank. These include checkpoints located along the Wall; and
  • Human rights violations against Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli Prison Service facilities in Israel and the West Bank. They include reports of torture and/or cruel and degrading treatment, solitary confinement and excessive use of administrative detention.
The NCP has recommended G4S take the following actions to bring the British company into compliance with its human rights obligations under the OECD Guidelines:
  1. Consider how to work with business partners in Israel to address the human rights violations referred to in LPHR's complaint;

  2. Communicate to shareholders and business partners in Israel the actions it is taking; and

  3. Implement a contract approvals process that includes assessment of human rights risks and application of mitigations (as G4S indicated an intention to do when commenting on the NCP’s Final Statement).
According to the latest data released by the Israeli Prison Service, 91 per cent of adult Palestinian detainees and 46 per cent of child detainees are currently being unlawfully detained in G4S linked prison facilities located inside Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
·      NCP Final Statement