A group of 38 members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker, concerning Commission’s contract with British-Danish security company G4S that equips Israeli checkpoints, detention centers, military and police forces, and helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and tortured.
This cross-party initiative is the second time when MEPs from across the political spectrum have called on the EU not to award money to G4S. In March 2011, MEPs wrote to the President of the European Parliament asking him to ensure that the security company G4S ended all activities in the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory as well as all activities in Israeli jails both in Palestine and in Israel and, failing this, to terminate the Parliament’s contracts with G4S. Shortly after this initiative the Parliament in Brussels ended its contract with G4S
„We are deeply concerned about the fact that the Anglo-Danish group G4S provides security to the European Commission/European External Action Service in several European countries” – the MEPs from the 5 biggest parties in the European Parliament stated.
“It is indeed unacceptable for the European Commission/European External Action Service to have contractual relations with a firm that is engaged in providing support for activities that constitute war crimes and have many times been condemned by the international community and the EU itself. We therefore urge you to take action to that end” – the letter adds.
Keith Taylor – British MEP that initiated the letter said « What we are requesting is simply that the European Commission does not award contracts to firms that are complicit in clear breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law. To continue doing so, in knowledge of this complicity, would be completely unacceptable”
Since the start of October, Israeli occupation forces have arrested more than 1,800 Palestinians including 300 children. Many of these prisoners are being held in prisons G4S is helping Israel to run. G4S has also been criticised for its role in violent abuse taking place in the prisons and detention centres it runs in South Africa, the US and the UK, and in numerous deaths in custody.
Several organisations, including Unicef have documented the ill-treatment of the children inside these prisons. Unicef reported that the abuse of Palestinian youngsters trapped in the Israeli prison system is « widespread, systematic and institutionalised ». At its AGM in 2013, a number of concerned shareholders questioned the G4S board about the company’s complicity in the detention and abuse of Palestinian children, eliciting the promise of a review of the current situation.
Despite G4S’ role in human rights abuses in Palestine and across the world, the EU is contracting G4S to provide it with security services in the following countries: Luxembourg, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Malta, Estonia, Cyprus, India, Austria, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, Ireland, Lebanon, United Kingdom, Hungary, Greece.
In doing so, the EU is turning a blind eye to the role that G4S plays in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and in human rights abuses all over the world.
Read the full letter here