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25 Nov 2015

UK: Labour party votes to end contract with G4S over human rights concerns regarding services it provides to the Israeli Govt.

In November 2015 the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party voted to end its contract with G4S to provide security at its party conference.  Jennie Formby of Unite, who was at the NEC meeting, said "[t]he decision to end the security contract with G4S was taken because of concerns that this company has acted unethically and has been found to be in breach of the human rights obligations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies." 

The reference to breach of the OECD Guidelines refers to a final statement issued by the UK National Contact Point in June in a complaint brought by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights.  Further details including statements by G4S can be found here.  G4S says in a statement below: "It is important to note that whilst the NCP did conclude that there were improvements the company could make in relation to its Israeli business, it did not find any general failure by G4S to respect the human rights of Palestinians, or any failure to respect human rights in our own operations."

Labour MP Joan Ryan, Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: "I am writing to the party's general secretary, Iain McNicol, today to express my deep concern at this development, which I hope will now be urgently reviewed. As I have consistently argued, boycotts are both wrong in principle by seeking to delegitimise Israel and do nothing to further the cause of peace, foster coexistence or assist the achievement of a two-state solution."