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Ministers fail to investigate G4S 'human rights abuses'

The Government has been accused of trying to “wash its hands” of potential human rights abuses by refusing to investigate the British security company G4S’s involvement with Guantanamo Bay. In August a formal complaint was lodged with the Government stating that by signing a £70m contract to provide “janitorial services” to the notorious prison for terrorism suspects, G4S’s US subsidiary G4S Government Solutions may have broken international guidelines laid down by the OECD.The contract...did not commence until after G4S had completed a sale of the US subsidiary business late last year...A team of officials at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) spent four months conducting an “initial assessment” of the claim – before announcing yesterday it was “not appropriate” for the complaint to be considered by the UK. Instead, they recommended that it be resubmitted to the US government. The decision was met with dismay last night by human rights groups, who told The Independent that ministers had abdicated their responsibility to hold British companies to account for their actions overseas....”Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s business and human rights director, added:...“The UK knows full well that no US Government body will hold G4S accountable for contributing to human rights violations in Guantánamo when it is the US itself that is the primary agent of those violations...” A BIS spokesperson said the UK’s National Contact Point (NCP) for OECD guidelines “does not comment on complaints outside of its published assessments and statements”.