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Further examination of G4S under OECD Guidelines
[4 June 2014] – On 22 May 2014, the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the Guidelines) announced that it has decided to accept for further examination some of the issues raised in a complaint lodged against the UK/Danish security company, G4S, arising out of the provision of goods and services to Israeli prisons and checkpoints in Palestine and Israel.
The Guidelines provide, inter alia, that: “Enterprises should respect human rights, which means they should avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved.”
A component of the complaint lodged by a group of UK lawyers relates to the provision by G4S of goods and maintenance services to prisons located inside Israel where Palestinians from the West Bank are detained and where there is some evidence of abusive practices. The transfer and detention of protected persons outside occupied territory is expressly prohibited by Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is classified as a “grave breach” for which personal criminal liability can apply. According to the latest data released by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), 90 per cent of Palestinian adult prisoners from the West Bank and 51 per cent of child prisoners are currently being unlawfully detained in facilities located inside Israel.
It should be noted this Initial Assessment process is to determine whether the issues raised merit further examination. It does not determine whether the company has acted consistently with the Guidelines. G4S has accepted an invitation from the UK NCP to respond to the complaint, and denies the allegations made by the complainant.