As Palestinians prepare to mark Prisoners’ Day on April 17, a day to be in solidarity with thousands of Palestinian political prisoners by demanding their freedom from Israeli jails, we are excited to announce the launch of a new website highlighting the various injustices perpetrated by G4S, the world’s largest private security company, in the United States, Palestine, and beyond.
G4SFacts.org documents the various abuses of the company ranging from its complicity in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians to its transportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States, a service it brands as “The Bus No One Wants to Catch – The End of the Road for Illegal Immigrants.” It is co-hosted by groups working on a range of issues related to G4S such as prison divestment and immigrant rights including Dream Defenders, Enlace, Hands Up United, and Palestinian Youth Movement.
During a time of reinvigorated energy around organizing against various oppressive systems such as mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex, we hope this website will be used by activists to strengthen their G4S campaigns. While Palestinian human rights groups welcomed the announcement last month that G4S will be selling its Israeli subsidiary after years of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against the company globally, G4S will continue to be a BDS target until the sale is finalized. As Sahar Francis, Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, commented: “This latest news from G4S is welcome but it has no immediate effect on those facing serious human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today.”
Here are of actions you can take to commemorate Prisoners’ Day and support prison divestment campaigns.
Screen a film on Palestinian prisoners. Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has a list of suggested films here. You can also find more resources and updates about Palestinian prisoners through Addameer, which last month released a new fact sheet about the imprisonment of Palestinian women and girls.
Start a local G4S campaign. Member group Friends of Sabeel-North America has a map of public contracts with G4S in the United States and plenty of resources to help you get started.
The National Week of Action for Prison Divestment is also happening April 17-April 23! Communities across the country will explore how we are all tied to the criminal justice and immigration systems. You can find actions taking place here. If you are interested in hosting a community forum, check out the sample teach-in agenda in Enlace’s city prison divestment toolkit.
Sign this petition demanding Members of Congress revoke tax breaks for private prisons like GEO and CCA. The incarceration of immigrants and people of color should not be a for-profit business, and it should not be tax-free.
There are currently 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. More than two million people are incarcerated in the United States, and close to 70 percent of them are people of color.
The fact that oppressive structures sustain injustice worldwide and that companies like G4S tend to be complicit in human rights abuses across borders highlights the need for intersectionality and strengthening solidarity across different struggles for justice.