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. 

Update

UN World Food Program in Jordan drops its contracts with G4S

  • 4 out of 6 UN agencies in Jordan drop their contracts with G4S.
  • News comes as G4S announces sale of £88m of its investment in Israel.
  • Boycott against G4S continues until it withdraws from contracts with Israeli Police Academy and illegal settlements.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Jordan has dropped its contracts with the world’s largest security firm, occupation profiteer G4S, following an ongoing BDScampaign over the firm’s role in Israel’s violations of human rights.

The WFP in Jordan had contracts with G4S worth more than $900,000 in 2015, but WFP has instead hired a local security service provider and joined three other UN agencies in Jordan - UNHCR, UNICEF and UNOPS - in distancing themselves from a company that is deeply complicit in human rights abuses.

The #UNDropG4S campaign has been urging UN agencies globally to end their relationship with G4S. To that end, Jordan BDS has been an integral part of the global campaign and organised several actions locally.

A delegation from Jordan BDS had met with WFP representatives at their offices in Amman on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day this year presenting the case against G4S. In September, a month before the expiry of G4S’ contract with the WFP, Jordanian NGOs wrote an open letter to UN agencies in Jordan calling upon them to drop their contracts with the firm due to its complicity in human rights violations.

Kefah Adnan, member of the Jordan BDS movement, reacted to this victory:

“We welcome WFP’s decision as a step in the right direction. UN agencies must stand on the right side of history and honour their commitment to human rights. Our campaign will continue until UN Women and UNDP, the only two remaining UN agencies with G4S contracts, follow suit.”

Last week, G4S announced that it is selling £88m 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 servicing Shikun & Binui group in illegal settlements.  

Guman Mussa, Arab World Coordinator in the BNC, said:

“We salute the efforts of BDS activists in Jordan and across the Arab World against occupation and mass incarceration profiteer G4S. The campaign against G4S in the region is intensifying from Kuwait to Lebanon to Morocco, and we shall not stop until G4S completely and fully withdraws from its remaining contracts with the Police Academy and the settlements.”

“The BDS movement is also committed to supporting campaigns by other justice movements against G4S for its role in the racist private prison and immigrant detention systems in various countries.” 


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