“Controversial” security company G4S will look into UAE operations to confirm no human rights violations
At the G4S AGM in Surrey, yesterday May 26 2016, the ICFUAE asked the company for a commitment that its operations in the UAE were in no way involved in torture or ill-treatment of detainees. G4S CEO, Ashley Almanza, initially responded that the company was satisfied that the companies activities in the “UAE were legitimate and lawful”. Following further conversations the company agreed to look into its contracts with the UAE justice department, including the police to verify what involvement the company had in the UAE. G4S CEO Mr Almanza said that the company was responsible for its services and could not guarantee what others did.
The G4S operations in the UAE are involved in justice services including the police. The UAE G4S website says that the company aims to "effectively managing and caring for the offender population and preparing them for their future in society." With very little specificity about the contracts that G4S are involved in in the UAE there is serious concern about the company’s involvement with the Emirati justice system. The justice system and the police have been widely criticised by international bodies from the UN through to NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
A UN report issued by the UN special rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges to the UN Human Rights Council in February 2015 raised serious concerns about the UAE justice system. The Special Rapporteur reported a number of cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in prisons. In her report the Special Rapporteur noted that more than 200 cases of torture had been reported to the courts in the UAE.
With G4S’ international operations coming under increasing scrutiny, the company has been accused of being complicit in human rights violations in the region and a number of questions were asked about the company’s human rights policy. Clare Spottiswoode, G4S head of Corporate Social Responsibility said the company had “good human rights” practises everywhere it worked.
The ICFUAE are calling for all businesses involved in the UAE not to be complicit in human rights violations and awaits the G4S promise to look into its operations in the UAE.