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

UNICEF in Lebanon ends its contracts with G4S

December 21, 2016

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"Breaking a shackle of Palestinian prisoners". The United Nations Children’s Fund in Lebanon ends its contracts with occupation profiteer G4S.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Lebanon has ended its contract with the world’s largest security company, G4S, following a boycott campaign by activists in the country and across the world over the company’s role in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.

Earlier this month, G4S announced that it is selling $110m worth of its investment in its Israel subsidiary. That would consist selling most of its Israeli business, after an effective campaign against the company waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Nonetheless, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel’s violations of human rights through co-running the Israeli Police Academy and its investment in the Shikun & Binui group which builds illegal settlements. G4S will continue to be a BDS target due to its persisting complicity.

The Lebanese Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel and the Palestinian Camps Boycott campaign in Lebanon had organised several actions that called upon UNICEF to end their contracts with G4S over the past year from meetings and social media action to a creative demonstration outside the UNICEF offices in Beirut.

This is an important victory to the #UNDropG4S campaign, which was launched in 2015 by BDS activists globally, urging the UN to end its relationship with occupation profiteer G4S. Since then, four UN agencies in Jordan have heeded this call and now the domino effect is starting in Lebanon.

In reaction to the UNICEF decision, Afifa Karake, member of the Lebanese Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel, said:

“This decision is a victory for the Palestinian prisoners who called upon people of conscience to boycott G4S. UN agencies all around the world ought to be consistent with their proclaimed values and principles. Our campaign will continue to target G4S contracts with the private and the public sector in Lebanon until the company completely exits the Israeli market.”

Mourad Ayyash, member of the Camps Boycott campaign, which mobilizes Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon, added:

“Despite G4S’ sale of most of its illegal Israeli business, BDS activists in Lebanon and across the Arab World are sending a strong message to the company that our boycott campaign will continue until G4S ends its remaining Israeli business. G4S may soon have to choose between investing in the vast Arab market or in Israel’s crimes and human rights violations.”

On behalf of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest Palestinian coalition that leads the global BDS movement, Guman Mussa concluded:

“The BNC welcomes this victory and salutes boycott activists’ efforts in Lebanon. The increasing pace and strength of BDS campaigns in the Arab World reflect that our struggle against Israeli settler-colonialism unites with the broader Arab struggles for justice, dignity and freedom. The inspiring growth of BDS in the Arab world will significantly amplify the impact of the global boycott and divestment campaigns against multinationals that support Israel’s regime of oppression.”

December 21, 2016
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