“Discriminatory” bank shuts Palestine Society’s account

first_imgCo-op bank closes Palestine Society’s bank account 19 clubs and societies co-release press statement condemning the “discriminatory action”, including five OUSU liberation campaigns and Wadham SU PSC has filed legal action under sections 13 and 29 of the Equality Act 2010 and has similarly called for members and supporters to move their funds away from Co-operative Bank accounts.They have said, “It appears that the decision was taken because of PSC’s support for Palestine. A decision based on active support of Palestinian causes – or on the nationality or religion of the Palestinian people – would be discriminatory. It is in the wider public interest to ensure that banks are held to account for their decision making processes; a bank cannot be above the law by virtue of its status.”A group of more than 15 Oxford student clubs and societies have condemned the bank’s actions. These include Rhodes Must Fall Oxford, the Oxford University Labour Club, the OUSU Women’s Campaign, the Oxford Students’ Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Wadham College Student Union.A statement co-released by the groups reads, “We, the undersigned student clubs and societies at the University of Oxford, condemn in the strongest possible terms the discriminatory action taken by the Co-operative Bank against the Oxford Students’ Palestine Society, in closing their account. The bank has offered no transparent explanation, asserting that the Palestine Society, a university registered society, is ‘high risk’ and ‘no longer fit[s]’ within the Co-op’s ‘risk appetite’.“We view this as part of a process undertaken by the Co-operative Bank in the context of racist and discriminatory ‘counter-extremism’ measures, which has involved closing down the accounts of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and over 20 Palestine Solidarity Campaign branches and Palestinian human rights groups across the UK.” Oxford University’s Students’ Palestine Society (Pal Soc) has revealed that its bank account had been closed by the Co-operative Bank.A statement released today claimed that there was “no reasonable justification for this action,” and that the bank’s stated reason for the account closure was that the society is “high risk” and “no longer fits within [the bank’s] risk appetite.”A spokesperson for Pal Soc wrote, “The closure of Pal Soc’s account is part of a recent broader attack on solidarity organisations advancing Palestinian human rights across the UK. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), together with a further 20 grassroots organisations working for Palestine have also had their accounts closed by the Co-operative Bank. Pal Soc has therefore resolved to join the legal case launched by PSC against the Co-operative Bank on the grounds of discrimination. PSC and its legal team believe the Bank’s actions are discriminatory and contravene the Equality Act 2010.”They further called for “all Oxford University student societies, JCRs, MCRs, individual faculty, staff, and students, as well as all College and University bodies to show their solidarity by withdrawing their bank accounts from Co-op, and until such time as the bank accounts of all those grassroots and civic rights associations working for Palestine in the UK are reopened.”Student societies including @OxUniLabour and @RMF_Oxford in solidarity w PalSoc against @CoopBankUK account closure: https://t.co/gentCCYCyp— Oxford PalSoc (@PalSocOxford) December 11, 2015center_img Society to join Palestine Solidarity Campaign in legal action against the bank A group of students are preparing an SU motion to close our @CoopBankUK charities account after they shut down Oxford PalSoc’s #NotMyCoOp— Wadham SU (@WadhamSU) December 11, 2015But a representative for The Co-operative Bank explained that the closure was entirely a reflection of its legal obligations.She told Cherwell, “I would like to reassure you that this is not a reflection on the work carried out by many of our customers throughout the world, or a statement about the causes they support. We remain a committed supporter of many charities which can meet the industry level requirements.“In common with all banks, we have to perform due diligence on our customers, their accounts and the payments they make to ensure the Bank complies with anti-money laundering obligations and to manage the Bank’s risk. This is part of our normal banking processes and is an area where the Bank has made some changes recently to bring it into line with the industry generally. You may have seen in the press recently that there can be significant financial penalties when banks do not have adequate controls in place so these changes are timely and appropriate.“For customers who operate in, or send money to, high risk locations throughout the world, advanced due diligence checks are required by all banks to ensure the funds do not inadvertently fund alleged or proscribed activities. Depending on the particular circumstances it may not be possible for us to complete these checks to our satisfaction and the decision to close a number of accounts (including the PSC and some of its affiliates) is an inevitable result of this process. Unfortunately, after quite extensive research, the charities involved did not meet our requirements or, in our view, allow us to fulfil our obligations.“I would emphasise this is not a political or discriminatory decision but one based on our obligations. Clearly we have to meet our legal and regulatory requirements and we believe in the round our decision is consistent with our ethical policy. Our position has been discussed with and has the support of the Values and Ethics Committee which noted this is primarily a matter of adhering to banking regulations. I would also like to emphasise that these decisions have been made by the Bank’s management and have not been influenced by external agencies or our shareholders.“This does not mean that we cannot or will not facilitate humanitarian, educational, medical and human rights donations to the Gaza region. Many well known, national, registered charities do excellent work in these fields in Gaza and elsewhere and we make regular donations to some of these organisations through our current account and credit cards.”last_img read more

FIANNA FAIL DEMANDS MORE GARDAI AFTER MEETING WITH DONEGAL TOP BRASS

first_imgFianna Fáil has reiterated its call for an increase in Garda numbers in the County following a meeting this week with Garda representatives to discuss crime in border areas.Deputy Charlie McConalogue and Fianna Fáil Councillors Paul Canning, Gerry Crawford and Patrick McGowan have met with Superintendent Michael Finnan and Inspector David Kelly in Letterkenny to highlight community concern about crime and policing in border areas.In a joint statement, the Fianna Fáil representatives commended the Gardaí for their recent work in making arrests following a number of burglaries in the Lifford, Raphoe, Manorcunningham and St Johnston areas. However, they re-iterated their belief that additional resources must be allocated to border areas in order to deter crime in the county.“The local Garda force must be commended for their work in the investigations following recent burglaries in East Donegal. However, as a party we feel that the drop in Garda numbers in the County is making it more difficult to have the level of Garda presence needed in border areas to prevent and deter criminal activity. As Garda numbers have fallen, instances of serious burglaries have increased. This is not a co-incidence.”Backing up the party’s calls for additional resources, Deputy McConalogue has outlined figures released to him in Parliamentary Replies from the Minister for Justice showing the sharp decline in the force over the last number of years“In 2008, the Donegal force was at an all-time high of 488 personnel. As of June 2014, there were 404 personnel. Through the same period, eight stations have been closed across the County and many Garda stations are left struggling for essential resources such as enough Garda cars to enable them to effectively police local areas. “Many Garda Stations are also struggling to reliably open for advertised public office hours as the staff numbers are not always available. The loss of 84 guards over six years means a real drop of visible presence and policing on the ground and the Minister must work with the Garda Commissioner to ensure that additional resources are allocated to our County.“While the Gardaí in the County are doing their best with the resources they have it is absolutely clear that the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald must urgently take action to bring forward Garda recruitment and bring about an increase in Garda numbers in the County and in border areas,” concluded the Fianna Fáil representatives. FIANNA FAIL DEMANDS MORE GARDAI AFTER MEETING WITH DONEGAL TOP BRASS was last modified: July 25th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalfianna failGardailast_img read more