G4S loses major contract in Colombia after BDS campaign
Crepes & Waffles, a major restaurant chain in Colombia, has decided to end a contract with G4S after a year-long BDS campaign against the multinational security company in the country. More than 1,400 people signed a petition and hundreds of the chain’s clients delivered it by hand to the managers of the chain’s restaurants in various locations, prompting Crepes & Waffles to inform BDS Colombia of their decision to drop the G4S contract for securing the transit of cash and valuables.
A prominent Colombian restaurant chain, Crepes & Waffles has branches in 6 other countries in Latin America and in Spain. The company has a good reputation for hiring people usually outside the labor market. BDS Colombia has argued that contracting G4S contradicted the chain’s ethical principles and offended many of its loyal clients. Crepes & Waffles says they are dropping the contract because of business issues.
G4S is a large British security company that provides equipment and services to Israeli prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture. By helping Israel to run prisons and “interrogation centres”, G4S is participating in Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration of more than 6,000 Palestinians as a way to discourage Palestinians from resisting Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
G4S also has contracts with the Israeli government to provide equipment and services to checkpoints and the apartheid wall, as well as crossings that enforce the siege of Gaza. It was also involved in the construction of a 23 hectares Training Center for the Israeli Police, which it will help to run.
In 2012, at the height of a historic hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian organisations called for boycotting G4S for its role in Israel’s prisons.
“G4S faces the end of a contract with an important company in Colombia, and the BDS campaign considers this to be the result of the rejection generated by its repressive actions in Palestine”, says BDS Colombia’s announcement.
Abdulrahman Abu Nahel, Gaza coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition that leads the global BDS movement, commented: “This latest victory against G4S, in Colombia, is a welcome contribution to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. G4S is involved in gross violations of human rights through its involvement in and profiting from mass incarceration of Palestinians, blacks and migrants in the US and other oppressed communities around the world. The cross-movement boycott campaigns against G4S are growing fast to hold the company accountable for this complicity.”
The Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq has completed 3 months in an ongoing hunger strike that attracted international attention over his arrest without charge by the Israeli occupation authorities. Another 6,900 Palestinian political prisoner are being held by Israel.
Zoe Pepper-Cunningham, a member of the Colombian BDS campaign, stated: "This victory means the end of our campaign targeting Crepes & Waffles, but the struggle continues. Aside from other G4S contracts that we shall continue to campaign against, we are also mobilizing pressure to derail the ratification of Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement with Israel as well as the military links. For decades, Israel has supported Latin American dictatorships and trained death squads; we should impose a military embargo on it, as was done against apartheid South Africa."