PRESS RELEASE: Now confirmed by spokesperson, Bill Gates sells ENTIRE 1,9 Billion Rand Stake in Israeli-linked G4S Security. Human rights activists celebrate "huge BDS victory"
The spokesperson of Bill Gates has now confirmed that Bill Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has divested all 1,9 Billion Rands ($184 million) of its holdings in the Israeli-linked G4S Security. Click here for the USA Bloomberg news article
or email us for a copy of the email confirmation from the Gates spokesperson.
Mthunzi Mbuli of the South African based Palestine solidarity human rights organization, BDS South Africa, welcomed the divestment move by Bill Gates adding that: "Last week it was reported that the Gates Foundation had "began" divesting from G4S. Now it has been confirmed that the Foundation has COMPLETELY divested from G4S. We join all peace and justice loving people in saluting Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for being on the right side of history. In the 1980s, divesting from companies that were involved in Apartheid South Africa was to be on the right side of history. Today, divesting from companies that are complicit the Israeli oppression of Palestinians is to be on the right side of history."
The divestment move by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, follows an international Palestinian-led BDS boycott campaign that publicly urged Bill Gates and his foundation to end investments in G4S security due to the company's involvement in Israeli detention and torture centres which hold Palestinian political prisoners. Earlier this year
, on the international day of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian solidarity and BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) activists held protests at the various country offices of the Bill Gates Foundation including in Johannesburg, London and the USA.
HIGH PROFILE PERSONALITIES INCLUDING TUTU, KATHRADA, BREYTENBACH WRITE TO G4S OVER ISRAEL
Last week to coincide with the AGM of G4S Security, well-known personalities wrote an open letter to the Management of G4S calling on the company to end its Israeli contracts. The letter began: "As G4S management and shareholders prepare to participate in the G4S AGM on Thursday, we call on G4S management and shareholders to end the corporation's participation in Israel's brutal occupation".
Signatories included: South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu;
Former Robben Island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada;
Novelist Alice Walker;
Linguist, philosopher and author Noam Chomsky;
Author and Activist Angela Davis
; Poet, painter and former South African political prisoner Breyten Breytenbach;
Actor Miriam Margolyes;
Author John Berger;
and, Director, Ken Loach. Click here for the complete letter and full list of signatories.
G4S ANNOUNCES WITHDRAWL FROM ISRAEL IN 3 YEARS FOLLOWING AGM PROTESTS
Last week protests were held outside G4S Security's annual shareholder meeting in London. In addition several activists made their way inside the meeting
where they also protested against the company's Israeli involvement. The protests, both inside and outside, are reminiscent
of the disruption of shareholder meetings during the 1980s in protest against companies that were involved with Apartheid South Africa. Companies like G4S were targeted and boycotted during Apartheid in South Africa and today a similar international isolation of Israel through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign is currently underway.
Mthunzi Mbuli of BDS South Africa explained that: "The BDS campaign seeks to hold Israel, and international companies involved in Israel, accountable to international law. In the 1980s the boycott worked against Apartheid South Africa, and its now working against Apartheid Israel. The international isolation of Israel it is hoped will lead to the necessary conditions for a just peace to be negotiated - similar to what occurred in South Africa and brought about a democratic country for all our people."
Following the G4S Security AGM, G4S announced that intends to pull out of Israel. Human Rights activists have given a cautious welcome to the news, but emphasize that the campaign and pressure on the company must continue until the Israeli abuses it is complicit in end.
Randa Wahbe, of the Palestinian prisoner support organisation, Addameer, explained
: “The latest reports that G4S will not renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service is a welcome step, but this has no immediate effect on those facing human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today...G4S has a long track record of saying one thing but doing another…the campaign against G4S will continue until it actually ends all contracts that support Israel’s military occupation.”
Last year a 12 month Wits University Justice Project investigation
found practices of torture and abuse (including forceful medication of anti-psychotics and shock therapy) at a G4S-run prison in South Africa. Amidst these and other allegations, the South African Government decided to intervene and take over control from G4S of the South African prison (the Mangaung Correctional Centre outside Bloemfontein).
ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA. FOR COMMENT CALL 0842119988.
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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