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Protesters call for UNDP to cut ties with security company serving Israeli prisons

By Muath Freij - Nov 29,2015 - Last updated at Nov 29,2015

Activists gather outside UNDP's premises in Amman on Sunday (Photo by Muath Freij)

AMMAN — Jordanians gathered outside UNDP’s premises in Amman on Sunday to urge the UN agency to revise its contracts with the G4S security company. 

Participants demanded a boycott of the British-Danish security company because it is “conspiring with the Zionist occupation”, said Fadia Husseini, a member of a Jordanian group representing local institutions and individuals that organise boycotts against companies and products linked to Israel. 

“[G4S] provides security services for the apartheid wall, for security checkpoints, and for a number of prisons and detention centres where many people are imprisoned, including children,” she told The Jordan Times during the protest.

Five UN agencies — UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNOPS and WFP — use G4S services, according to a statement from the event’s organisers. 

Husseini explained that the protesters hope to put pressure on the security company to terminate its collaboration with Israel, starting with its branch in Jordan and extending to its headquarters in the UK.

“The surprising thing is that the UN, which we perceive as a place that protects human rights, is employing this company to provide safety for a number of agencies affiliated with it either in Jordan or abroad,” she said.  

The activist added that Jordan is participating in a global campaign on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which was marked on Sunday.

Juman Ismail, who participated in the demonstration, said their event is only one of several happening on the same day that seek to achieve the same goal.

“We want to send a message to the guards and employees working in Jordan that we are not against them and we hope they will be part of our struggle to put pressure on their company,” the 23-year-old told The Jordan Times. 

Ahmad Basheer, another participant, said the demonstration aimed to make more people aware of how G4S cooperates with Israel by providing it with guards and equipment at prisons where “the rights of Palestinian children and Palestinians in general are violated.” 

Such events are important because they express the views of people whose voice is not always heard, he added.

In a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times, US-based grass-roots activist group CODEPINK said the UN purchases “more than $22 million in G4S contracts each year”.

 

“Today, on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Palestinian human rights organisations joined by over 220 solidarity groups, trade unions, human rights organisations and migrant solidarity groups from around the world renew the call and urge the UN to cancel its contract with G4S,” the statement said.

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