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The Gates Foundation and its unethical investments in G4S

While three Dutch charities have announced that they will no longer accept donations by G4S due to the company’s support for the Israeli occupation, the Gates Foundation has deemed it ethical to invest in G4S, effectively exposing the often ignored link between philanthropy and human rights violations.


The Gates Foundation, renowned for its philanthropy, is allegedly ‘inspired by passion and compassion for the well-being of people’. Focusing on issues such as health, education, poverty, the Foundation now seems to be seeking a share in security affairs, effectively aligning itself with the conspiracy behind the fable of safeguarding human rights. Philanthropy should be viewed within a wider image – a surplus of funds derived from a capitalist enterprise channelled into appropriate projects which bestow a continuous temporary relief in order to avoid challenging the exploitation which has rendered communities around the world dependent upon charity. With the Gates Foundation aligning its interests with a service provider of oppression, profits will continue to fund approved projects at the expense of violating international human rights law, which is acceptable within the cycle of capitalist dependency.

G4S has been targeted by the BDS movement for its role in providing security and surveillance equipment, rendering the company complicit in war crimes with Israel’s security service, Shin Bet. Torture during interrogations is routine treatment in Israeli jails, often resulting in severe physical and metal degeneration or, as in the case of Arafat Jaradat, death. G4S endorses identical security concern rhetoric asthat used by Israel, manipulating the foundations of human rights and security into a territory which encompasses nothing but the alleged rights of the oppressor.

In their 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, G4S states that the company recognises it can ‘play a positive and negative role in respecting human rights around the world’. The company declares that its policy is based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1947), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the international Labour Organisation Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work (1998). ‘Mapping the human rights landscape’, as stated in the report, and becoming a signatory to the UN Global Compact, are portrayed as a pledge to safeguard human rights, disregarding the UN’s significant faults and unapologetic stances when it comes to selectively bestowing human rights in order to promote and consolidate the impunity of powerful states and allies. In other words, G4S are emulating their provision of security services and basing their legitimacy upon an international organisation which thrives upon illegality.

Dependency has created a spectator society. While activist campaigns have created a far reaching resonance, leaders within the international community are too comfortably ensconced in their glorified positions to challenge a partnership which fuels the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestinians. As long as the interpretation of the social world is shaped by dominant allies, it is difficult to fragment the bond between society and economic power, effectively allowing an amalgamation of a ruling power to distort the power of intellectuals into a subservient role abetting international complicity in human rights violations.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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