Palestinian Rights Groups Cheer Berkeley’s Decision to Divest from Private Prisons
Friends of Sabeel – North America, FOSNA Voice, July 22, 2016
To see if your city invests or has a contract with G4S, or to launch a campaign, contact Rochelle@fosna.org.
Berkeley, CA, July 19, 2016 — The City of Berkeley will divest from corporations that operate private prisons and will push Wells Fargo and other firms to follow suit, according to a resolution passed unanimously by the City Council Tuesday night.
Enlace, an alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations, and the Afrikan Black Coalition, representing black students in the University of California and California State University systems, brought the issue to Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission in June. The commission found that “private prisons have been linked to numerous cases of violence including sexual abuse, beatings, turning a blind eye to gang violence among inmates, denial of food and medical attention, and atrocious conditions,” and urged the council to divest from corporations including GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, and G4S.
Next we meet Hani Amer, whose farm lay on the route of the infamous wall. After a long struggle, Amer won the right to have his house and some of his land preserved . . . The Israeli Army built a gate that they opened for 15 minutes every 24 hours. . . Most disturbing is “planet Hebron,” where the list of abuses considered normal includes soldiers firing tear gas at schoolchildren to mark the beginning and end of each day of school.
Mohammed Abu Saha’s arrest sparked an international campaign by circus performers for his release. Though no charges have been filed against him, Shin Bet claims he’s a member of the PFLP terrorist group.
Your Representative, Mark Pocan, was one of 20 signers of the Congressional letter to President Obama urging his administration to take steps to “address serious human rights abuses against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.” The letter, organized by Rep. Betty McCollum, calls for a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth to work with human rights organizations, the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the rights of children are protected.
According to a report from Defense of Children International-Palestine, three-quarters of detained Palestinian children suffer physical violence. As the lawmakers note, an ever-present fear of arrest, detention, and violence for Palestinian children both violates their human rights and serves to fuel the conflict.
Please call Rep. Mark Pocan at (202) 225-2906. When you reach a staffer, mention that you are a constituent and thank them for using their power to uplift the human rights of the most vulnerable.
And please share this video highlighting the human rights abuses Palestinian children face by the Israeli military occupation using the hashtags #700ChildPrisoners and #NoWayToTreatAChild.
G4S has been protested by Palestine solidarity campaigners worldwide.G4S, one of the world’s biggest security and imprisonment firms, has announced it plans to end all its business with Israel within the next 12 to 24 months. (Anne Paq, ActiveStills)
Palestinians are welcoming the news as a major victory and a sign of the powerful impact of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
John Quinlan, Forward Forum
KSUN Channel 983, November 2, 2015
John Quinlan talks with Sahar Abbasi Baidon, a mother of four and Women and Children Activities Coordinator at the Madaa Silwan Creative Center in East Jerusalem.
Sahar came to Madison on a national tour of Room Number 4, a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem.