News & Analysis        Press Releases


United Methodist Church Divests from G4S

Download this press release

[See also another landmark divestment action by the United Methodist Church's

pension board, divesting from and excluding from future investments five Israeli banks,

due to their support for Israel settlements.]


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2014
 
Largest Mainline Protestant Church in U.S. Divests from Company Involved in Israeli Occupation.
Amid concerns raised by church justice advocates, United Methodist Church Pensions sells all stocks in G4S, a supplier of security services and equipment for Israeli prisons, settlements, checkpoints and Separation Wall.

Los Angeles - The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) of The United Methodist Church, which manages an investment portfolio of over $20 billion, has instructed its investment manager to sell immediately all shares in G4S, due in part to concerns about the company's involvement in human rights violations in the Israeli prison system and the military occupation of Palestinian territories.

According to David Wildman, United Methodist Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice at the General Board of Global Ministries, "This is the first time that a United Methodist general agency has included human rights violations related to Israel's illegal settlements and military occupation in a decision to divest from a company. We celebrate this strong human rights message both to G4S specifically and to other companies whose business operations support longstanding human rights abuses against Palestinians."

In addition, the church agency has placed a moratorium on any future purchases of G4S, the world's largest security company with operations in over 120 countries, until a new investment screen is implemented that addresses human rights violations such as those by the Israeli Defense Forces against Palestinians. 

A top executive of GBPHB contacted United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) leaders this week about the sale of G4S stocks, informing them that this decision was due in large part to the serious concerns about G4S activities raised by United Methodists seeking a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

UMKR, a church-wide advocacy movement focused on Israel-Palestine issues, has raised questions within the church for several years about companies in the denomination’s investment portfolio, including G4S, that are involved in the Israeli occupation. "We greatly appreciate the news and we commend the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits for taking this groundbreaking action to address the concerns of many United Methodists about human rights violations in Israel and the occupied territories,” said Rev. John Wagner, UMKR Convener and a church pastor in Ohio.

G4S contracts with the Israeli Prison Service to provide management of security systems at prisons within Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. According to Amnesty International, B’Tselem an Israeli human rights organization, and Defence for Children International-Palestine, Palestinians held in these prisons, including hundreds of child detainees, are routinely subjected to abuse and torture. G4S also provides equipment and services for Israeli settlements and checkpoints in the West Bank and for the Separation Wall, constructed in violation of international law in Palestinian territory.

Last month, under mounting pressure from an international advocacy campaign, the Gates Foundation also made a decision to sell its holdings in G4S.

UMKR welcomes the church’s landmark divestment action as part of a larger and long-term process in which United Methodists seek to address human rights issues, including the 47-year-old Israeli occupation, more comprehensively in the denomination's investment decisions.
 
For more information visit UMKR's website at www.kairosresponse.org or contact:

M. Theresa Basile: info@kairosresponse.org, 323-253-9087

Rev. John Wagner, Convener, United Methodists for Kairos Response: johnwagnerumkr@gmail.com, 937-269-1661

David Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice, General Board of Global Ministries, UMC: dwildman@umcmission.org, 212-870-3735

United Methodists are responding to the urgent call from Palestinian
Christians in Kairos Palestine:  A Moment of Truth,  to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace in the Holy Land.. UMKR seeks – through nonviolent action and in partnership with our Palestinian sisters and brothers in Christ – freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis.

Giving Changes the World

With limited resources, UMKR has

had a remarkable impact in the global United Methodist Church! Historic divestment and boycott actions could not have happened without the vital support of those who believe in the cause of Palestinian rights. Please give whatever you can today, so that our work can continue. And rest assured that every donation, large or small,

helps the cause!

Dec. 2016 – Please note that this press release has been updated with UMKR's new name: United Methodists for Kairos Response.

CONNECT WITH UMKR

Follow us on Twitter

See the weekly alerts and news that activists are talking about. 

Since Dec. 2016,  UMKR has had a (slightly) new

name:  United  Methodists  for  Kairos  Response.

Sign up for news

UMKR emails bring you NEWS about current justice work, ACTION ALERTS, and RESOURCES for learning and action. Try it - you can Unsubscribe

any time! About one per month.  

Copyright © United Methodists for Kairos Response. All rights reserved.

Like us on Facebook

Our posts feature important current

news and action for justice advocates. After you "Like" us, select
FOLLOW  to be notified of new posts.