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(Wissam Nassar / Maan Images)

Dutch union dumps G4S for aiding Israel’s human rights abuses

Abvakabo, a trade union with 350,000 members in the Netherlands, has ended its relationship with G4S, a private security firm that has equipped Israel’s prisons in the occupied West Bank.

G4S had been providing security to an office used by the union in Utrecht.

Abvakabo spokesperson Marion Nordemeule told me by telephone that the union will move to another office in March. But if this had not been the case, Abvakabo “would have ended the relationship with G4S for its role in Israel’s violations of international law.”

The trade union learned about how G4S was helping Israel abuse Palestinian rights last year, Nordemeule said.

In September, the Dutch Green Left party (GroenLinks) announced it would no longer make use of G4S security services for its national office in 2014 due to the company’s “activities in Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.”

On its website, GroenLinks writes that the party’s board terminated the contract because Israel had awarded contracts to G4S for the delivery of services to military checkpoints, illegal settlements and detention centers. 

Obligation

These two cases are the latest in a series of decisions by Dutch organizations to sever their ties with G4S. 

One year ago, two Dutch charities ruled out accepting future donations from G4S after they were informed about the company’s role in Israel’s detention of Palestinian children.

The Dutch website of G4S shows that the company delivers services to public institutions such as local governments, the police, fire brigades and courts.

If the Dutch government is serious about honoring its obligation to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law, it should instruct public institutions to stop doing business with G4S.

Comments

Such forthright initiatives by the Dutch will hopefully encourage others to follow.