Palestinian BNC Mourns Loss of Anti-Apartheid Icon Ahmed Kathrada

March 28, 2017, Occupied Palestine —The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has heard with great sadness the news of Comrade Ahmed Kathrada’s passing. Mr. Kathrada, born to an Indian Muslim family, was the most prominent Asian South African in the movement to end apartheid, the system of racial discrimination, segregation and white dominance that existed in South Africa until it was defeated in 1994.

Comrade Kathrada was also an active and consistent supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. He visited Palestine, and saw the apartheid system we endure for himself. He said when in Palestine: "In our short stay here we have seen and heard enough to conclude that Apartheid has been reborn here. In its reborn form it is however worse than its predecessor. Even during the worst days of Apartheid we did not have walls to divide and control people, we also did not have separate roads for separate races, and we did not have the system of checkpoints that exist here."

The Foundation which bears his name engages in activities in support of Israeli Apartheid Week, which aims to raise awareness of Israel's apartheid policies towards Palestinians. It also supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, believing that this is the way to bring an end to Israel's apartheid policies and violations of international law. 

Kathrada’s own long imprisonment — 26 years and 3 months — alongside the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and his lifelong struggle against apartheid and injustice are an example to all Palestinians that integrity and perseverance will lead to justice and freedom.

The BDS movement is working to increase international civil society and government support for the Palestinian struggle for justice. We were honored to count Comrade Kathrada as a supporter of our struggle and remain inspired by his life.

We send out our condolences to his family, friends, comrades and all South Africans during these difficult days.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

BNC Statement

G4S responds to public anger but remains complicit in Israel’s abhorrent prison system

Palestinian Prisoners Day was last week marked with actions in 11 countries protesting the complicity of British-Danish security company G4S in Israel’s prison system. The company provides equipment and services to prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners, are illegally detained and subjected to torture.

Palestinian Prisoners Day was last week marked with actions in 11 countries protesting the complicity of British-Danish security company G4S in Israel’s prison system. The company provides equipment and services to prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners, are illegally detained and subjected to torture. G4S also operates in Israeli checkpoints and illegal Israeli settlements. G4S has already lost contracts with universities, banks and charities across Europe as a result of its role in Israeli human rights violations.

Reporting on the groundswell of public anger about G4S profiting from Israeli violations of international law, the Financial Times published an article that underlines the extent to which the campaign against G4S is impacting on the company’s reputation among investors.

“The Israel/Palestine conflict has created reputational issues” for G4S, an investment analyst is quoting as warning. The article suggests that G4S may be considering selling its Israeli subsidiary altogether.

The international campaign against G4S is resulting in the company losing lucrative contracts and facing criticism from public figures, members of parliament from across Europe, trade unions and investment experts.

G4S told the Financial Times that it is responding to public pressure and repeated previous statements that it will “aim to exit the contracts which involve the servicing of security equipment at a small number of barrier checkpoints, a prison and a police station in the West Bank area“.

However, even if G4S implements the steps it announced in 2011, it will remain an accomplice to Israeli war crimes and human rights abuses in several ways:

- G4S is contracted to deliver equipment and services to prisons inside Israel to which Palestinians from occupied territory are transferred in violation of the Geneva Convention. Human rights organisations have documented that Palestinians, including child prisoners, are held in these prisons without trial or charge and subjected to torture.

- G4S provides security equipment, services and personnel to businesses inside illegal Israeli settlements. In a recent email to a UK client seen by campaigners, G4S confirmed that it also provides security services to homes in illegal Israeli settlements.

- G4S provides systems, equipment and services to the Israeli military, including the provision of “patrol units” for the guarding of military premises.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broad coalition that leads Palestinian civil society’s BDS Campaign, welcomes the fact that popular mobilization is bringing pressure to bear on G4S.

The BNC reiterates its position that G4S has only stated that it will “aim” to exit a limited number of contracts and remains deeply complicit with Israel’s abhorrent prison system and other violations of international law.

G4S announced a new “ground breaking” human rights policy on Monday. This new policy will be prove meaningless if the company continues to participate in and profit from Israeli violations of international law that have been widely condemned by human rights organizations, the UN and other international bodies.

The BNC calls for the intensification of the campaign against G4S and looks forward to working with supporters of human rights all across the world to pressure the company until it ends all involvement in Israeli war crimes and abuses of Palestinian human rights.


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