UK NCP releases follow up on complaint against G4S alleging involvement in Israeli abuses against Palestinians

NCP findings

The NCP found that G4S had not met the specific obligation to seek to address impacts of its business relationships [with the Israeli Government], and that this caused their actions to be technically inconsistent with two other provisions obliging them to respect human rights. However, the NCP also stated that it does not find any broad failure by G4S to respect the human rights of people on whose behalf the complaint is made.

The statement went on to make recommendations to G4S.  The full Final Statement can be accessed below.

Background

In November 2013 Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights submitted a complaint to the UK OECD National Contact Point (NCP) which alleged the involvement of G4S in serious human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli Government against Palestinians.  In May 2014 the NCP accepted some aspects of this complaint for further examination.  Further details about this can be found here.  On 9 June the UK NCP released its final statement.  

Below you can access the press release & commentary released by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights as well as the statement released by G4S.  

Shortly after the NCP statement was published we received a rejoinder from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights which criticised G4S's public statement regarding the NCP statement.  We invited G4S to respond which it did.  Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights then sent us a 2nd rejoinder raising further concerns about G4S's response.  Again we invited G4S to respond which it did.  You can access the two rejoinders and responses below.

In July 2016, the UK NCP released a follow up statement which stated its disappointment with G4S’s public response to the NCP’s findings and recommendations. This statement also re-iterates its findings and highlights the need for G4S to communicate publicly on the actions it is taking to address its impacts.

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31 May 2017

LPHR statement on G4S' striking omission of adverse human rights findings in its latest CSR report ahead of its Annual General Meeting

Author: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, London

In the run up to the G4S Annual General Meeting taking place on 25 May 2017, LPHR notes the striking omission in G4S' latest corporate social responsibility report to any reference to the UK National Contact Point's (UK NCP) critical Follow-Up Statement last June that found the company to be in continuing breach of its human rights obligations in regard to contracted activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

In the human rights section of G4S' 2016 CSR report, all that is stated in relation to current human rights challenges is the following (which is replicated in the report statement of CSR Committee Chair, Clare Spottiswoode):

"This report does not include a section on current [human rights] issues as (at the time of writing) there are no further developments or new issues to report."

This clearly appears to be an inaccurate and misleading statement to shareholders and other stakeholders which raises significant transparency concerns...

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Item
8 July 2016

G4S response to UK NCP Follow up Statement

Author: G4S

“G4S Israel operates a responsible business that complies with local and  international laws and respects human rights. G4S is pleased that, following an  extensive review, the NCP confirmed that it has not found any failure to respect  human rights in regard to G4S Israel’s operations.”  

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Article
7 July 2016

UK National Contact Point follow up statement after recommendations in complaint from LPHR against G4S

Author: UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

...Where a Final Statement includes recommendations, or where an agreement between parties provides for it, the UK NCP approaches parties at a specified date to request an update. The NCP then publishes a further statement reflecting the parties’ responses and any further conclusions of the UK NCP... The UK NCP... noted the G4S response at [the time of the final statement], and considered that it referred to the Final Statement in a selective way that was misleading... the UK NCP notes that G4S’s public response to the UK NCP’s findings and recommendations was an early opportunity to signal the seriousness of its intention to address them. It is disappointing that G4S did not take this opportunity... For the avoidance of doubt, the UK NCP re-iterates that its Final Statement found actions of G4S to be inconsistent with its obligation under Chapter IV, Paragraph 3 of the OECD Guidelines...Because G4S’s actions were inconsistent with Chapter IV, Paragraph 3, the UK NCP found them also to be inconsistent with wider general provisions of the Guidelines in regard to respecting human rights...

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Article
7 July 2016

UK watchdog criticises G4S for misleading public over breach of human rights obligations towards Palestinians and finds it has not implemented key recommendations

Author: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR)

... In its first statement since publishing its findings last year, the UK NCP critically finds today that G4S has not implemented the two recommendations made to the Company which “were specific to the issues examined in the [LPHR's] complaint”... The UK NCP concludes that G4S remains in breach of its human rights obligations, stating: “Until G4S publicly communicates the actions it is taking to address the impacts it is linked to by the contracts...the UK NCP considers that its actions are not consistent with its obligation...to address [human rights] impacts it is linked to by a business relationship.”... Since June 2015, LPHR has consistently stated that G4S misrepresented the UK NCP’s findings of breach (see notes to editor) and urged the Company to correct its selective and apparently misleading public statements on the UK NCP's findings. In its statement today, the UK NCP acknowledges LPHR's observations... 

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Item
30 June 2015

G4S response to 2nd rejoinder from LPHR

Author: G4S

The Final Statement of the UK National Contact Point is available via the UK NCP web pages. The summary of the conclusions within the report includes the term “technically inconsistent” on numerous occasions when describing where G4S actions are inconsistent with the OECD Guidelines ...Throughout the Final Statement (and in its Initial Assessment published previously), the UK NCP repeats its view that G4S equipment and services do not play a direct part in any human rights impacts...The key part of the Final Statement is the recommendations made to G4S on how it should move forward...The UK NCP recommends that the company works with business partners in the region to address human rights impacts, communicates to stakeholders actions taken by the company and that a contract approval process is implemented. G4S welcomes the findings of the UK National Contact Point and will to continue to work with customers and business partners to safeguard human rights and ethical standards in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and best practice.

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NGO rejoinder
23 June 2015

LPHR statement responding to G4S' fundamental misrepresentation of adverse findings of human rights breaches of the OECD Guidelines

Author: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR)

LPHR notes with serious concern that G4S' response to our last statement fundamentally misrepresents the extent of the adverse findings of human rights breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) made by the UK National Contact Point (NCP)....By clearly suggesting that a 'technical inconsistency' with the OECD Guidelines is the full extent of the NCP's adverse findings, G4S’ above sentence disturbingly suggests either a significant misunderstanding or wilful disregard of the NCP's finding of breaches...It is very worrying that a major British multinational company can substantially misrepresent the NCP's serious findings of breach of human rights obligations of the OECD Guidelines. It fundamentally undermines its later claim that it “takes its human rights obligations seriously”. In these circumstances, LPHR asks G4S to confirm it acknowledges and accepts that the NCP: 1. Has found that G4S is in breach of its obligation to address the human rights violations with which it is linked by its business relationships with relevant Israeli state agencies; and 2. Did not describe this adverse finding as a 'technical' breach.

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Company response
11 June 2015

G4S response to LPHR statement (below)

It is important to note that the UK National Contact Point has found no evidence that G4S equipment or services cause or contribute to adverse human rights impacts and that the company carries out extensive due diligence and on-going review of the potential human rights risks of its business... In what the NCP describes in its Final Statement as a “technical inconsistency” with the OECD Guidelines, the NCP does suggest that G4S could do more to influence its business partners, share best practice and commit to new practices in regard to future contracts. This is not the same as suggesting that G4S is committing serious breaches of human rights...

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NGO rejoinder
11 June 2015

LPHR statement responding to G4S' public statement on NCP findings

Author: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

LPHR notes with concern that G4S' public statement singularly fails to acknowledge that it has been found by the UK National Contact Point (NCP) to be in breach of three fundamental human rights obligations under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) in relation to it operations in Israel and Palestine. Some recent media reports have, in turn, failed to accurately convey the extent of the NCP’s findings... In short, the recent NCP's final statement is very far from the 'clean bill of health' that has, regrettably, been suggested...

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Item
9 June 2015

G4S statement

Author: G4S

G4S, the world's leading security company, welcomes the Final Statement published today by the OECD's UK National Contact Point (NCP) on the group's business activities in Israel.  The Final Statement follows a 17 month long assessment by the NCP during which it has received submissions from G4S, interviewed representatives of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, examined evidence from NGOs and reviewed material provided by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights...In its Final Statement published today, the NCP stated that:"The UK NCP does not find any general failure by the company to respect the human rights of the people on whose behalf the complaint is made or any failure to respect human rights in regard to its own operations." "The UK NCP considers that there is evidence that G4S has leverage, and could take action such as: lobbying immediate business partners and/or government and legal representatives, sharing best practice (with business partners, stakeholders and the wider sector), and committing to new practices in regard to future contracts."... Debbie Walker, G4S Group Communications Director said:"G4S will to continue to work with customers and business partners to safeguard human rights and ethical standards in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and in accordance with best practice."

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Article
9 June 2015

LPHR Commentary on the UK National Contact Point Final Statement concerning LPHR's human rights complaint against G4S

Author: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

LPHR considers that the only effective action that G4S can take to respect the human rights of Palestinians under the OECD Guidelines is to end their business relationship with the relevant Israeli state agencies with immediate effect. This goes beyond the recommendations of the NCP, but is firmly based on a number of related significant considerations concerning G4S' public statements since March 2011, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and G4S' own human rights policy.

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