A Quito-based research institute — the International Center for Advanced Studies in Communications for Latin America (CIESPAL) — decided against renewing its contract with the British security company G4S after meeting with BDS activists who informed it about G4S’s complicity with Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.
This is the first victory for BDS activists in Ecuador working to advance Palestinian human rights, and the second loss for G4S in Latin America, due to BDS pressure, in less than a year. In early 2016, another strong BDS campaign for Palestinian human rights led a major restaurant chain in Colombia to announce that it would end its contract with G4S. Notably, CIESPAL cut ties with G4S without laying off any workers.
G4S, the world’s largest security company, has a history of helping Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. G4S has also been involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements, and to military and police buildings.
Under strong pressure from BDS activists participating in the international Stop G4S campaign, G4S has for the last several years been losing major deals and investments around the world. In 2016, the company was forced to sell most of its business in Israel, but still has contracts in training Israeli police and in relation to illegal settlement buildings on stolen Palestinian land. As such, G4S remains complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.
Ecuador for Palestine Solidarity Committee celebrated CIESPAL’s decision to drop G4S:
This is the first victory for BDS activists in Ecuador working to advance Palestinian human rights, and we are proud of it. We celebrate CIESPAL’s decision to drop G4S, and congratulate the center for its commitment to human rights, including the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. We also congratulate CIESPAL for its ethical consistency in announcing that it will not lay off any of the guards who previously lent their services to G4S. CIESPAL’s decision shows that it is possible for institutions to break ties with unethical companies like G4S without harming workers.
Abdulrahman Abu Nahel, Gaza coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), commented on the victory in Ecuador:
This victory by BDS activists in Ecuador comes at a crucial moment in our campaign against G4S’s complicity with Israel’s regime of apartheid, illegal settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land, and military occupation. The BDS movement forced G4S to sell off almost all its business in Israel, and now it’s critical to increase pressure on the company until it ends all its involvement with Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
Like Palestinians, Ecuadorians also know the violence of colonialism, militarization and ethnic cleansing. It is inspiring to see their solidarity with our Palestinian struggle for justice, equality and freedom grow every day. Our struggles unite!