- September 23, 2014

The UK security contractor G4S has been accused of failing to meet international standards and committing serious human rights violations in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers detained at an off-shore processing centre in Papua New Guinea, operated on behalf of the Australian Government.

A formal complaint against G4S has been made under the guidelines proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The guidelines, which the UK Government has backed alongside 45 other countries, aim to encourage responsible business conduct wherever companies operate in the world.

The complaint has been submitted today (Tuesday 23 September) in the UK and in Australia by RAID and the Melbourne-based Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC). RAID and the HRLC are assisted by UK-based law firm Leigh Day. The concerns were outlined at a press conference in Melbourne by Martin Appleby, a former G4S safety and security officer and training officer (pictured R) with Keren Adams (L), Senior Lawyer at Leigh Day and Rachel Ball, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at HLRC.

The Australian Government established the Manus Island Centre in 2001 as an offshore processing centre. G4S was contracted to oversee management and security at the centre between February 2013 and March 2014. Over this period, the Centre was repeatedly criticised by human rights organisations including the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for breaching basic minimum standards of care.

In February 2014, one detainee was killed and more than 60 others were injured in an outbreak of violence that is the subject of an ongoing Inquiry by the Australian Senate.

Immediately after the incident G4S issued a statement, “We take these allegations seriously and we as a company do not tolerate violent or abusive behaviour from our employees”.

G4S and its subsidiaries are also under investigation following allegations of malpractice in Israel/OPT and Guantanamo Bay.

For further documentation, see RAID's webpage on the complaint.

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Country: Australia