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.
For the avoidance of any doubt, the relevant extracts from the NCP’s Final Statement hold:
“that [G4S’] actions are not consistent with its obligation under Chapter IV, Paragraph 3 of the OECD Guidelines to address impacts it is linked to by a business relationship… The obligation to address impacts is part of the overall obligation to respect human rights in Chapter IV, Paragraph 1 and Chapter II, Paragraph 2. Because of this, the inconsistency with Chapter IV Paragraph 3 makes the company’s actions technically inconsistent with these provisions also.” (paragraphs 76-77 of the NCP Final Statement)
G4S’ statement, in response to the NCP’s findings, that “there is no evidence that any G4S equipment or services cause or contribute to adverse human rights impacts” is therefore disingenuously selective of the nature and scope of the NCP’s findings. Similarly, media headlines such as “G4S cleared of human rights breach in Israel” are grossly factually inaccurate and plainly misrepresent the NCP’s serious findings of human rights breaches of the OECD Guidelines.
Daniel Machover, LPHR founder and senior human rights lawyer, said:
“G4S has conveniently ignored the three adverse findings made by the NCP.
Taken together with its long-standing lack of transparency about its activities in the West Bank and its unparticularised claims of being in dialogue with its Israeli counterparts, this is a further worrying indication that G4S is not taking seriously its human rights obligations under the OECD Guidelines.”
Whilst unfortunately, and as LPHR has already stated, the NCP Final Statement is wanting in terms of clarity and, at times, logic, one area which cannot be disputed is that G4S has been found in breach of three human rights provisions of the OECD Guidelines. These provisions are informed by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which are widely respected and comprise fundamental human rights standards which companies are required to respect in their operations.
In short, the recent NCP’s final statement is very far from the ‘clean bill of health’ that has, regrettably, been suggested over recent hours. In the interests of fair and accurate reporting, it is imperative that this is accurately conveyed in any media reporting going forward.
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.