Corporate Profiles: G4S

kamsandhu —  October 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

In part one of our profile on G4S, we focused on the UK services that this security giant has taken over, click here to read.

In part two, we look at G4S’ international record of human rights abuses and violations.




G4S bought two major Israeli private security companies (Hashmira in 2002 – now G4S Israel – and Aminut Moked Artzi in 2010) and signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Authority and are now providing security and prison services in Israel and the Occupied Territories, including:

• providing security for the apartheid wall

• providing security and scanning for checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza.

This raises issues of legality – some of these checkpoints form part of the illegal route of the apartheid wall

• protects businesses and residential clients based in settlements in the Occupied Territories – also may be legally problematic due to it’s potential link to complicity in violations of international criminal law

• installed a command room in a West Bank prison, where visiting is also highly restricted

• providing services to a number of prisons and a detention facility in Israel: Israeli prisons house detainees who have been transferred from arrest in the Occupied Territories, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, along with Palestinian child detainees. Violence, torture and detention without trial are all known to take place at these prisons and family visits are often very difficult to obtain.

• providing security equipment for Israeli Police in West Bank

Private Military Security contracts:

G4S bought the private military security company ArmorGroup in 2008 – part of a booming industry of Private Military Security Companies (PMSCs) which undertake activities that used to be carried out by state militaries. For G4S these have included contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guantanamo Bay:

In 2014 G4S won a £70m contract to service Guantanamo Bay Naval Base


Although a lot of the above could also fit under this category, there are some key cases where individuals have suffered or died in the care or at the hands of G4S.

• 2014: violence broke out at Manus Island immigration detention centre – Australia. Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati, was killed and 79 other people were seriously injured. G4S were ‘directly responsible’ for the violence in which their staff directly participated and ‘went on what can only be described as a violent rampage’. G4S staff running the detention centre were also ‘grossly under-trained’.

• 2014 – 79 year old disabled former serviceman awarded £6000 damages after suffering humiliation at the hands of G4S prison officers

• 2014 – G4S criticised for using immigration detainees as cheap labour, paying  as little as £1 per hour for cooking and cleaning duties

• 2013 – G4S were running Mangaung prison in South Africa where they were accused of ‘shocking’ abuses (including electric shocks and forced injections). South African government temporarily took control from G4S to investigate allegations.

• 2012 – ‘Unacceptable force’ used by G4S staff on a pregnant woman in a wheelchair who was being forcibly removed from the UK .

• 2010- Jimmy Mubenga died at the hands of G4S security guards who were restraining him while attempting to deport him to Angola as part of their contract to deport foreign nationals. The inquest into his death concluded that he was unlawfully killed. G4S have since lost their deportations contract, but the case highlighted a number of serious concerns with the way deportations are carried out and the treatment of deportees, including the use of dangerous restraining techniques and a payments system which prioritises keeping detainees quiet, ‘pervasive racism’ within G4S detention staff and lack of important training and legally required accreditation.

• 2011 – G4S fined $285,000 for its involvement in the death of Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke while being transported in a prison van.

• 2010 Khu Mlotshwa, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker, sustained a broken wrist whilst being deported from the UK by G4S guards.

• 2009 – An armed guard employed by G4S in Iraq murdered two colleagues and was employed there despite warnings of his violent behaviour

• 2004 – 15 year old Gareth Myatt died while being restrained by staff at G4S run Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre

by Tekla Szerszynska



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