FOA Open Letter to Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia on G4S
HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
30-32 Charles Street
We write this letter with concern following reports that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is using the global security company G4S to manage the annual Hajj crowds. This letter intends to draw your attention to some of G4S’s activities, which we hope will make you reconsider working with them. Primarily, G4S has for many years been profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
G4S provides a number of services to Israel including managing military checkpoints and the detention and imprisonment of Palestinians. Checkpoints are a daily misery for Palestinians, and these are intended to oppress them, denying them free movement including access to schools, hospitals and places of worships. It also helps provide Israel with complete power and control over the population. By providing such services, G4S is directly complicit in the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people and has been the target of global boycott campaigns as a result.
G4S claims it intends to end these contracts in the West Bank however, as confirmed by the UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in the OPT Richard Falk, G4S will remain complicit in the oppression of Palestinians for its role in running Israeli jails where Palestinians are held, some without charge or trial; while others face torture. In effect G4S is the instrument through which Israel routinely breaks international laws and Conventions where Palestinian detainees are concerned. One especially disturbing aspect of the Israeli prison system managed by G4S is the high numbers of Palestinian child prisoners held in adult prisons.
These facts cannot be ignored and by continuing with this contract with G4S, Saudi Arabia will be sending a message that it is indifference to the plight of the Palestinians. It would also mean that international calls being made to boycott G4S are being ignored by Saudi and thus raise questions about the seriousness with which Saudi views the Israeli occupation of the Holy Al-Aqsa and Palestine. Across the world, G4S has been the target of boycott campaigns for its role in sustaining the Israeli occupation and a number of entities have taken the principled action of ended their contracts with G4S, including the European Union and the University of Oslo, among others.
We hope that you will heed the call being made in this letter, and take the case up within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the appropriate authorities. For those who are guardians of the Haram al-Sharif in Makkah and Masjid An-Nabawi in Medina; I’m sure you will agree that granting G4S a contract to manage one of the most spiritual journeys that Muslims undertake is unacceptable. We therefore call for Saudi Arabia to immediately end its contracts with G4S and send a strong message that it will not work with companies directly complicit in the occupation.
Chair, Friends of Al-Aqsa
FOA is a UK based NGO registered with UN Network of Civil Society Organisations on the Questions of Palestine