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G4S nominated for annual 'worst company' award

Jan. 22, 2013 5:49 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 30, 2013 9:57 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The British security firm G4S has been nominated for the Public Eye Awards, a recognition handed out to the world's "worst" companies each year at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.

The firm, which has been nominated for "countless cases of violations of international law and human rights abuses" -- particularly in the occupied Palestinian territories -- was in third place Tuesday a day before polls closed.

Leading were Shell and Goldman Sachs, according to the Public Eye Awards, a project of Berne Declaration and Greenpeace to remind the "corporate world that social and environmental misdeeds have consequences".

The project's website says G4S was nominated for its role in the occupied territories.

"G4S is present in the occupied Palestinian territories -- manning checkpoints and managing prison security for Israel and is thus complicit in Israel's illegal settlement policy and the torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons," it says.

The nomination also cites G4S' "badly trained and paid" security forces, many with criminal records, and their responsibility for deaths in forcible deportations as well as their complicity with repressive regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Online voting closes Wednesday, and the winner will be announced a day later in Davos.

BDS target

G4S is the target of a strategic campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society to compel Israel to comply with international law and Palestinian rights.

In April 2012 the company's involvement in Israeli prisons came under the spotlight as thousands of detainees in Israeli jails launched a mass hunger strike against poor treatment in custody.

G4S provides assistance to prisons inside Israel as well as equipment for the Ofer prison, which is in the occupied West Bank, and other detention facilities, activists say.

In October the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied territories called on the General Assembly and civil society to take action against businesses like G4S which profit from the occupation.
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