RAMALLAH, Thursday, June 1, 2023 (WAFA) - The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society leading the BDS movement, has declared victory in its years-long campaign against corporate security giant G4S. It has accused the company of a long, violent record of human rights abuses against Palestinians, as well as prisoners, migrants, and other communities worldwide, and has demanded it ends all business in Israel.
Israeli company G1 has filed a report to the Israeli stock exchange indicating that G4S will sell its 25% stake in Policity to G1. BDS campaigners have accused G4S of complicity in Israeli human rights abuses due to its stake in Policity, the Israeli police training academy, “given the well-documented war crimes and grave human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli police over decades.” The final sale is pending approval from Israeli authorities.
The BDS campaign against G4S was launched by Palestinian prisoners’ rights and human rights organizations in 2012 to support the major hunger strike waged then by Palestinian political prisoners. This pressure led to high-profile divestment from G4S by the Church of Sweden, the United Methodist Church, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a Kuwaiti investment fund, UN agencies, trade unions, universities, and restaurant chains, among others, compelling the company in 2016 to divest from Israel's prison system, military checkpoints and illegal settlements. Yet the company remained invested in Policity.
Recently, human rights activists with the group BDS-Quebec have raised the issue with lawmakers and with Quebec’s pension fund, the CDPQ, due to its large investment in Allied Universal, which acquired G4S in 2021. The CDPQ became the largest shareholder of Allied Universal in 2019 and supported the company in its successful bid for the takeover of G4S. Allied Universal’s sale of G4S, now indicated by the G1 report to the Israeli stock exchange, follows recent public hearings conducted by lawmakers in Quebec, during which executives of the CDPQ were questioned extensively on the investment and alleged human rights violations and distanced themselves from “the kind of activity” that G4S is engaged in.
Olivia Katbi, speaking for the BDS Movement in North America, said: “This victory follows over a decade of campaigning against G4S for its deep complicity in Israel’s grave human rights violations against Indigenous Palestinians. Activists in cities, universities, churches, and unions worldwide have successfully brought a number of corporate giants to their knees and forced them to divest from apartheid Israel following years of dedicated campaigning, and we can now count G4S among them. Investing in apartheid has always been immoral. BDS is proving it is also prohibitively costly as well.
“Activists in Quebec, along with many of our partners in North America and worldwide, have worked hard these last few years, pushing the company to part with its last remaining stake in apartheid Israel. We’ve won here, but our work is far from over. Now is the time to intensify BDS campaigns against Israel’s regime of apartheid and settler colonialism, and against corporations and institutions that remain complicit in these crimes. Freedom is on the horizon.”