UN agency in Lebanon drops G4S

Campaigners in Lebanon score victory as UNICEF drops contract with G4S. They are vowing to continue to target G4S in Lebanon’s private and public sectors, until the security firm completely exits Israel. (via Facebook

The first UN agency in Lebanon has dropped G4S after a year-long campaign by activists for the boycott, divest and sanctions movement.

The Lebanese Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel announced that the country’s UNICEF branch had ended its contract with the multinational security and incarceration firm as a result of a targeted campaign.

This included creative demonstrations and meetings at the offices of the UN children’s agency in Beirut.

On 2 December, UK-based G4S sold its Israeli subsidiary to Israeli private equity firm FIMI for about $111 million.

But the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) notes that G4S continues to be complicit in Israel’s violations of human rights and therefore remains a target for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

In conjunction with FIMI, G4S still runs the Israeli police training center Policity and provides services to infrastructure and real estate group Shikun & Binui in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Since 2015, the global BDS movement has been urging United Nations agencies around the world to drop G4S.

Four UN agencies in Jordan have since ended their relationship with the world’s largest security firm.

“G4S may soon have to choose between investing in the vast Arab market or in Israel’s crimes and human rights violations,” Mourad Ayyash from the Palestinians Camps Boycott group, which mobilizes Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon, warned in a press release.

“This decision is a victory for the Palestinian prisoners who called upon people of conscience to boycott G4S,” said Afifa Karake, a member of the Lebanese Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel.

Karake said the group will continue to target G4S in the private and public sectors in Lebanon, until the company completely exits Israel.

The BNC says that the firm has already lost contracts worth more than $22 million around the world as a result of the ongoing Stop G4S campaign.

Guman Mussa from the BNC said, “The inspiring growth of BDS in the Arab world will significantly amplify the impact of the global boycott and divestment campaigns against multinationals that support Israel’s regime of oppression.”

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Well, what a surprise. A failed 'security' company operating prisoner transfer and prisons in the UK (at the very least) is now considered company-non-grata in the occupied and 'influenced' territories. Great news!

Boycott 'em until the pips squeak.

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Charlotte Silver

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Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.