Last week Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) decided to end its security contract with the British multinational company G4S, reportedly on the grounds of the company’s non-compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. G4S’ statement responding to this decision expressly refers to the complaint brought against the company by LPHR through the UK National Contact Point (UK NCP). The UK NCP made three adverse findings against the company in its Final Statement, published in June 2015.
The NEC’s decision, and the reported influence that LPHR’s complaint had in its making, illustrates the weight of the UK NCP’s adverse findings against G4S. One attendee at the NEC meeting stated: “The 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.”
In contrast to the NEC’s acknowledgement of the severity of the UK NCP’s findings, G4S continues to fail to acknowledge these adverse findings.
A G4S spokesperson is reported yesterday on the Guardian website as stating:
“In its final assessment of these Israeli contracts, the OECD made clear that 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.”
This statement singularly fails to acknowledge the UK NCP’s adverse findings that G4S is in breach of three human rights obligations under the OECD Guidelines, two of which actually relate to overarching obligations to respect human rights. This replicates the statement that G4S circulated on 9 June 2015 when the NCP published its Final Statement.
It is very concerning and regrettable that G4S has decided to repeat an approach of concealing the significant adverse findings of the NCP, rather than properly acknowledging them as we requested in our statement dated 10 June 2015. It worryingly exhibits a complete lack of concern with the UK NCP’s adverse findings that the company is not OECD Guidelines compliant. In particular, it completely overlooks the UK NCP’s significant finding that the company is failing to address human rights violations with which they are involved through their business relationship with Israeli state agencies.
In the interests of accuracy, it must also be noted that it was not the OECD that made the findings as indicated by the above G4S statement, but rather it was the UK National Contact Point, which is a UK government funded watchdog charged with investigating complaints submitted under the OECD Guidelines. The UK NCP is situated in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and is staffed by civil servants.
For further information on LPHR’s OECD Guidelines complaint against G4S, and the findings of the UK NCP, please visit the Business and Human Rights section of the LPHR website.
About Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR): LPHR is a legal charity in the United Kingdom that works on projects to protect and promote Palestinian human rights