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London protest demands UNICEF end contracts with G4S over child torture in Palestine


inminds
19 March 2016

On 18th March 2016 activists from Inminds human rights group protested outside the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF in London demanding it end its remaining contracts with British security company G4S which secures prisons and interrogation centres in Israel where Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are caged and tortured.










Inminds Palestinian Prisoners Campaign has been campaigning against G4S for nearly 4 years with regular protests outside G4S HQ in London. This is the second time Inminds has protested outside UNICEF House demanding the agency end its partnership with G4S as part of the global #UNdropG4S campaign, the first time being in Dec 2015.

The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has 11 contracts with the British security company G4S across 7 countries worth over $1 million in 2014. The United Nations as a whole has contracts with G4S worth over $22 million USD in 2014.

Inminds chair Abbas Ali said: "It’s outrageous that a United Nations agency tasked with keeping children safe, has partnered with a serial abuser of children in lucrative contracts worth over a million dollars every year. The United Nations own committee on the Rights of the Child reports that Palestinian children are systemically tortured in G4S secured prisons in Israel. G4S has also been caught abusing children in this country at Medway. If UNICEF is to regain any modicum of credibility it must follow the example set by its operation in Jordan, and sever all contracts with G4S immediately."

In April 2015 a group of Palestinian human rights organizations wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the UN to terminate its contracts with international security company G4S. Two UN agencies in Jordan have recently ended their contracts with G4S: UN Refugee Agency (Dec 2015), UNICEF (Mar 2016) following a sustained local and global #UNdropG4S campaign.

On 9th March 2016, G4S announced its intention to sell its Israel operation within the next 12-24 months. But this is not the first time G4S had made similar promises, and in the past it has not kept them. At the 2013 AGM G4S announced it will quit operations in the OPT (Ofer Prison and the checkpoints) in 2015 – this never happened. At the 2014 AGM G4S announced in addition to leaving the OPT in 2015 it will also not renew its contracts with the Israel Prison Service which end in 2017 – there has been no follow through announcements until now.

Inminds chair Abbas Ali response: "We have held regular protests outside the global headquarters of G4S in London for nearly 4 years. For us these are hollow words, and until we see these words followed by concrete action, our sustained campaign against G4S continues. As British citizens we have a responsibility to ensure British companies are brought to book for war crimes they commit in Palestine, we want to see the board of G4S face charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague."










VIDEO - UNICEF End Complicity With Child Torture







BACKGROUND


G4S - ISRAEL


Since 2007 G4S has secured prisons for the Israeli Prison Service. These include interrogation centres at Al-Jalame and Jerusalem's Russian Compound where Palestinians including young children are routinely tortured. G4S also secures Ofer prison on the West Bank and Megiddo, Damon, HaSharon and Ketziot prisons in Israel where Palestinian prisoners are transferred to from the OPT, in contravention of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

TORTURE


The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child report 4 July 2013 notes that "an average of two [Palestinian] children per day" are "arrested, interrogated and detained" by the Israeli army, that the children are "systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture.. physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, restricted access to toilet, food and water. These crimes are perpetrated from the time of arrest, during transfer and interrogation, to obtain a confession but also on an arbitrary basis as testified by several Israeli soldiers as well as during pretrial detention.. Many Palestinian child detainees are transferred out of the OPT and serve their detention and sentences inside Israel in breach of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

G4S VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL LAW


A legal study conducted by the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre found that G4S has “failed to demonstrate a genuine commitment to comply with international law in good faith” and is complicit in several of Israel’s violations of international law. Similarly a 2012 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 criticises G4S for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

Principle 6 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights sets out that “states should promote respect for human rights by business enterprises with which they conduct commercial transactions”. The UN Supplier Code of Conduct states “the UN expects its suppliers to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and to ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses”.

UNICEF CONTRACTS WITH G4S


The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has 11 contracts remaining with the British security company G4S across 7 countries worth over $1 million in 2014.

Bangladesh $ 209,545.23
Chile $ 95,223.95
Djibouti $ 76,221.51
Gabon $ 37,154.28
India $ 530,039.81
Indonesia $ 48,875.48
Lebanon $ 92,087.88

TOTAL $1,089,148.14
scr: https://www.ungm.org/Areas/Public/Downloads/ASR_2014.pdf


PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS LETTER TO BAN KI-MOON


http://www.addameer.org/userfiles/Letter%20to%20Secretary%20General%20Ban%20Ki-Moon.pdf






SPEECH


We are here today outside Unicef House, the British headquarters of the United Nations Children’s Fund Unicef whose lofty mission is to keep children safe; safe from violence, safe from disease, safe from hunger, safe from war and safe from disaster. With such noble aims, it’s with a heavy heart that we stand here today, for the second time in 3 months, to demand Unicef stop its collusion with G4S, a company complicit in Israel's torture and caging of Palestinian children.
The British security firm G4S is the worlds largest private security contractor. It has been contracted by the Israeli prison service to secure many of its prisons and interrogation centres where Palestinian political prisoners including women and children are caged and tortured. Figures for August 2015 show that 61% of all Palestinian political prisoners are caged in G4S secured prisons, this includes 100% of all the children Israel is caging and torturing.

Earlier this month it was announced that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jordan ended its contract with G4S worth $131,412. We welcome this decision, but UNICEF still has 11 other outstanding contracts with the British security company G4S across 7 countries: India, Bangladesh, Chile, Lebanon, Djibouti, Indonesia, and Gabon – in total worth over worth over $1 million in 2014. By awarding lucrative contracts to a company that is totally culpable in Israel’s torture of Palestinian children Unicef shows a total disregard for the safety of Palestinian children who are abused at the hands of G4S secured Israeli torturers.
Shame on Unicef!

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child’s damming report on Israel from 4 July 2013 states that, and I am directly quoting now: "an average of two [Palestinian] children per day" are "arrested, interrogated and detained" by the Israeli army, that the children are "systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture.. physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, restricted access to toilet, food and water. These crimes are perpetrated from the time of arrest, during transfer and interrogation, to obtain a confession but also on an arbitrary basis as testified by several Israeli soldiers as well as during pre-trial detention.. Many Palestinian child detainees are transferred out of the OPT and serve their detention and sentences inside Israel in breach of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention".
That’s a damming indictment, and unicef through its partnership with G4S is directly implicated in these crimes.
Shame on you Unicef!

A legal study conducted by the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre found that G4S has “failed to demonstrate a genuine commitment to comply with international law in good faith” and is complicit in several of Israel’s violations of international law. Similarly a 2012 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 criticises G4S for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.
Principle 6 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights sets out that “states should promote respect for human rights by business enterprises with which they conduct commercial transactions”. The UN Supplier Code of Conduct states “the UN expects its suppliers to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and to ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses”.
With so much evidence stacked up against G4S, much of it from United Nations own sources, why is Unicef in partnership with such a serial human rights abuser ?
Shame on Unicef!

Listen to your conscience and drop G4S now!

PROTEST BACKGROUND:


http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10704

PHOTOS





























































RESOURCES




Leaflet (front)



Leaflet (back)



UNICEF Placard 1



UNICEF Placard 2



UNICEF Placard 3

Source: www.inminds.com


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