Ahead of Palestinian prisoner’s day on April 17, Addameer Prisoner Support, Human Rights Association and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) have issued a Call to action: Join Palestinian political prisoner’s day Free all Palestinian political prisoners! Tell Bill Gates to Divest from G4S!
Israel outsources prison security to G4S, the British security company responsible for providing surveillance systems in prisons where Palestinian detainees have been tortured to death.
As this Addameer petition explains, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world,”purchased shares in G4S worth $172m, making it one of the company’s biggest shareholders.”
More from the petition: Tell Bill Gates to divest from Israel’s torture of Palestinians!
Over 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, including 183 children and 175 held under administrative detention, a form of detention without trial that Israel uses to hold Palestinians indefinitely on secret information.
Each year the Israeli military arrests thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to suppress any resistance to its continued occupation and apartheid policies. Among these are hundreds of children as young as 12 years old. In too many cases Palestinian children are tortured, ill-treated, placed in solitary confinement and coerced into signing a confession in Hebrew, a language which most Palestinian children do not understand. Every year approximately 1,000 children are sentenced in Israeli military courts……..
The Gates Foundation says that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”.
But through its holdings in G4S, the Gates Foundation is legitimising and profiting from Israel’s use of torture, mass incarceration and arbitrary arrest to discourage Palestinians from opposing Israel’s apartheid policies.
G4S profits from the imprisonment of Palestinian political prisoners. G4S profits from protecting and maintaining security equipment at checkpoints and the Annexation Wall. And G4S profits from protecting and maintaining security equipment at illegal Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land. When G4S profits, so does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
G4S is complicit in Israeli war crimes.
Watch Addameer’s new video, G4S: Securing War Crimes
Dear Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Management Committee,We, the undersigned Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations and Coalitions committed to the implementation of international human rights and humanitarian law, are writing to inform you of the conduct in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) of G4S, the international security company in which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased a 3% stake last year, worth more than $170m.In 2007 G4S signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Service to provide and maintain security systems at five prisons and detention centres located in Israel and the OPT, at which Palestinians political prisoners are detained.[i] In direct violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel forcibly transfers these prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier, in prisons that have security management systems maintained and operated by G4S. According to international law, these violations are tantamount to war crimes. In 2012, the former Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories, Professor Richard Falk, singled out G4S as a prime example of a company that should be held accountable for its complicity in human rights abuses.[ii]Each year, the Israeli army arrests thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to suppress any opposition to its continued occupation. They are arrested under Israeli military orders that prohibit basic civil, cultural and political rights such as the attendance of demonstrations, membership of political organizations, and the writing of slogans on the Apartheid Wall. Among those arrested are hundreds of children as young as 12 years old, who are often tortured, ill-treated and placed in solitary confinement during their interrogation. G4S helps to operate the Moscobiyeh and Jalameh interrogation centers, where this torture takes place, and Damon prison, where child prisoners are held and subjected to violence.The situation for Palestinian prisoners is grave. Since 1967, Israel has detained over 800,000 Palestinians, amounting to 20% of the Palestinian population. Moreover, the widespread torture of prisoners has been well documented, including Arafat Jaradat, who was tortured to death in G4S secured Megiddo prison, in February 2013.[iii]A recent legal study conducted by 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 urges investors to contemplate “unparalleled risk to their investment in a business activity whose profit model is conflict- dependent and potentially illegal”.[iv]Several organizations have severed ties with G4S for its complicity in human rights violations, including the Trauma Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, Amnesty International Denmark and the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims in Copenhagen, and the Dutch Trade Union Abvakabo.[v] Most recently, G4S was referred to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in the United Kingdom due to its complicity in human rights violations.[vi]The Gates Foundation says that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”. As a development and anti-poverty organisation working for the dignity and freedom of all people, we urge you to divest from G4S, a company that is operating in a way that clearly and directly contravenes the stated values and investment policies of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.Signed,PNGO-Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (representing over 135 organizations)The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (representing 25 organizations)Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association