Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 10th, 2014

 

G4S ‘to end’ Israel prison contracts as pressure mounts over torture complicity

British-Danish multinational security and prison profiteering firm G4S is to pull out of Israeli prisons completely, the Financial Times reports this morning.

Campaigners have given a cautious welcome to the news, but emphasize that pressure on the company must continue until the complicit abuses end. They note that G4S has made misleading statements in the past.

According to the Financial Times:

G4S has confirmed that it will end all its Israeli prison contracts within the next 3 years after an annual general meeting that was severely disrupted by human rights protesters.

Asked by angry protesters whether G4S would withdraw from the Palestinian territories as reported by the Financial Times last year, Ashley Almanza, chief executive, confirmed “no change to that position.”

“We expect them to expire and we don’t expect to renew them,” he said. These include contracts to provide security and screening equipment at military checkpoints, the controversial Ofer prison and a police station in the West Bank, all of which are expected to expire next year.

But Mr Almanza said for the first time that the move would also include prison service contracts all over Israel.

Caution

“G4S is certainly feeling the pressure and reputational damage caused by the international campaign against its complicity in Israel’s military occupation,” said Randa Wahbe, advocacy officer with the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, in a statement emailed to The Electronic Intifada.

“The latest reports that G4S will not renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service is a welcome step, but this has no immediate effect on those facing human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today.”

“G4S has a long track record of saying one thing but doing another and has not made any formal written statements about when it intends to end its contracts with the Israeli prison service and other aspects of Israel’s apartheid regime.”

“The campaign against G4S will continue until it actually ends all contracts that support Israel’s military occupation.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign adds that G4S “will continue to be targeted until it ends its complicity with Israeli crimes.”

“Blood on its hands”

Despite the apparent decision to pull out, the company maintains that it has no role in Israel’s abuses.

“We do not operate prisons, we supply prisons with security equipment,” Almanza told the Financial Times, claiming that the equipment made the Israeli prisons “safer” and did not increase human rights abuses.

 

But as this video from Addameer explains, G4S has “blood on its hands” by providing surveillance systems and other services at facilities like Megiddo prison, where Arafat Jaradat , father of three, was tortured to death last year, and where Palestinian teen Ali Shamalawi, one of the “Hares Boys,” is being held.

Increasing pressure

On 5 June, dozens of campaigners disrupted the G4S annual shareholder meeting in London and 25 were forcibly ejected, as many more demonstrated outside.

The video at the top of this post, taken during the meeting, features activists loudly shouting “G4S shame on you!” and reading out the company’s abuses, including its role in the abuse and detention of asylum seekers and migrants in the UK and for Australia (Three G4S guards have been charged with manslaughter following the 2010 death of Jimmy Mubenga as he was being restrained by the men during a forcible deportation from the UK.)

Another video posted by the activist coalition Stop G4S on its Facebook page shows more of the action outside the shareholders meeting.

The news also comes after a number of well known artists, activists and politicians publicly called on G4S to end its complicity in Israel’s abuse of child prisoners.

They include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African politician and former political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, Alice Walker, Roger Waters, Angela Davis, Breyten Breytenbach, Saleh Bakri and a number of UK members of parliament.

In addition to protests, G4S is also finding itself under official pressure. Earlier this week, as the Financial Times reports, “the UK government’s National Contact Point watchdog launched an investigation into G4S’s activities in Israel and the West Bank. The National Contact Point, which is part of the Department for Business, said it had ‘accepted issues for further examination.’”

This follows a formal complaint by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, which welcomed the trade body’s step as “ground-breaking and significant.”

Last week it was revealed that the Bill Gates Foundation dumped a significant holding of shares in G4S after coming under criticism for investing in the company.

The latest developments show clearly that even a company as vast as G4S – it has more than 600,000 employees worldwide – cannot continue to profit from the suffering and abuse of human beings without feeling the pressure from dedicated campaigners.

Note 1: UN Secretary General demanded that Israel free all the Palestinians under administrative status. Over 200 have been on hunger strike for 2 months, and 40 of them are suffering from bleeding in the stomach for prolonged hunger strike period.

Note 2: Over 60% of Palestinian youth have been placed in administrative detention, just to keep them off the street, as black youth in the US at certain periods.

Ban Presidential festivities Mr. Sisi: The Women  are sexually assaulted at Tahrir Square 

Yesterday thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the inauguration of Egypt’s 7th president Abdelfatah El Sisi.

While many television networks have been featuring footage of large unified crowds cheering and holding Egyptian flags, one YouTube user posted a video from Tahrir Square, shot on his mobile phone, which documented a much grimmer reality for the country.

Woman stripped, beaten and sexually assaulted at Tahrir Square

 posted this June 9, 2014

The original video, which was removed from YouTube due to its graphic nature, shows a naked, injured woman, attempting to flee a large group of men who have sexually assaulted her in the middle of the square.

man

The sexual assault was reposted by YouTube user Marwan Arafah, and already has over 48,000 views [Warning: video below is graphic].

In another video that has gone viral, a Tahrir Channel correspondent is shown reporting live from Tahrir Square. During the report, she mentions a high number of sexual harassment cases. Before she is finished with her report, the in-studio anchor talks over her and states “they are just happy.”

The Ministry of Interior released a statement claiming that it had arrested 7 men between the ages of 15 and 49 for sexually assaulting “a number of women” and for injuring a police officer.

Sexual assault epidemic

Although the sexual assault epidemic is nothing new in Egypt, recently there has been an extended initiative by the government to crack down on the issue.

Before stepping down last week, Interim President Adly Mansour passed a law criminalizing all forms of sexual harassment, regardless of the medium through which it occurs.

A new article, which has been issued into power, adds a harsh punishment to those found guilty of unwanted sexual contact. Violators of this law will be punished with a minimum of one year in prison and a fine between EGP 10,000 and EGP 20,000.

If such sexual contact is by an authority figure, whether it be in the work place, at school or even at home, then the punishment would be a prison sentence of at least two years and a fine between EGP 20,000 and EGP 50,000.

Other amended laws, under article 306, declare that those found guilty of verbal sexual harassment in a private or public place will be sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison and fined no less than EGP 3,000 ($US 420).

These new laws come after several television hosts have discussed cases of sexual harassment occurring at universities throughout the country, while blaming women for provoking their aggressor through their clothing choices.

In his talk show, Egyptian presenter Tamer Amin of Egypt Today, declared that clothing choice is not a personal freedom, while accusing women of going to the universities not to study but in order to drive male attention.

Amin also blames the security guards at the schools who allow the women into the universities with their “provocative clothing.”

With the increase of transparency through videos like last night’s horrific footage, it has become increasingly difficult to sweep such issues of sexual harassment under the rug. However, it remains to be seen how effective these laws will be in creating safer streets for Egyptian women.

– See more at: http://egyptianstreets.com/2014/06/09/woman-stripped-beaten-and-sexually-assaulted-at-tahrir-square/#sthash.jPj8qPDP.dpuf


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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