Image of a protest calling UNICEF to end its contract with G4S [file photo]
Campaigners have welcomed an announcement by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Lebanon that it has ended its contract with security company G4S, following a boycott campaign by activists over the company’s role in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
Over the past year, the Lebanese Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel and the Palestinian Camps Boycott campaign in Lebanon organised several actions calling upon UNICEF to sever ties with G4S, including social media initiatives and a demonstration outside the UNICEF offices in Beirut.
The news is a fresh boost for the #UNDropG4S campaign, which has seen four UN agencies in Jordan heed the call to ditch the security giant.
Earlier this month, G4S announced it is selling $110 million worth of its investment in its Israel subsidiary, thus abandoning most of its Israeli business. The company remains a target of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, however, through its co-running of the Israeli Police Academy and its investment in the Shikun & Binui group which builds illegal settlements.
Afifa Karake, member of the Lebanese Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel, said: “This decision is a victory for the Palestinian prisoners who called upon people of conscience to boycott G4S. UN agencies all around the world ought to be consistent with their proclaimed values and principles.”
Mourad Ayyash, member of the Camps Boycott campaign, which mobilizes Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon, commented: “BDS activists in Lebanon and across the Arab World are sending a strong message to the company that our boycott campaign will continue until G4S ends its remaining Israeli business.”
Guman Mussa, responding on behalf of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), also praised the announcement.
“The BNC welcomes this victory and salutes boycott activists’ efforts in Lebanon. The increasing pace and strength of BDS campaigns in the Arab World reflect that our struggle against Israeli settler-colonialism unites with the broader Arab struggles for justice, dignity and freedom. 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.”
(Source / 22.12.2016)