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2 September 2014 | Will Green
Human rights charity Reprieve has lodged a complaint with the UK government concerning a contract a G4S subsidiary has won at Guantanamo Bay.
In a submission to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Reprieve said the £84 million contract over five years amounted to “providing essential infrastructure to what has been called the gulag of our times”.
The charity made the complaint to BIS as the UK National Contract Point (NCP) for the OECD, whose guidelines it claims G4S Government Solutions, a wholly-owned US subsidiary, has breached by taking on the contract.
“Any company that fully considers the human rights abuses committed at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre would find it impossible to justify accepting a contract that enables the continued detention and contributes to the suffering of the detainees,” said Reprieve.
Kevin Lo, a Reprieve investigator, said: “Serious abuses are happening every day at Guantanamo Bay, supported by the most innocuous-sounding services. G4S needs to be much clearer about what it will be providing to the prison under this very broad contract. Will G4S vehicles be transporting force-feeding supplements, restraint chairs – even detainees? The UK government – given its position that Guantanamo must close – should be demanding answers.”
G4S said the contract was to provide janitorial services to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay and not the prison facility, and it was intending to sell its Government Solutions subsidiary.
A G4S spokesperson said: “G4S Government Solutions provides facilities services and general maintenance support to the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in areas such as housing and facilities for soldiers and their families. It provides similar services to numerous US navy bases around the world. It does not have any responsibility for the detention centre.”
A BIS spokesman said: “The NCP does not comment on complaints before it makes an Initial Assessment. The NCP usually expects to make an Initial Assessment within three months of receiving a complaint.”