Civil society calls for annual updates of database on corporate involvement in Israeli settlements

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program, United Nations Human Rights Council by CIHRS

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies delivered a joint statement calling on the Office of the High Commissioner to fulfil the mandate provided by Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, entrusted to the office, in its entirety. Following the release of the initial report of the OHCHR in February 2020, which contained a list of 112 companies involved with Israeli settlements, civil society continues to call for annual updates of the UN database in line with the mandate.

The statement was delivered on behalf of 41 human rights organizations in the Human Rights Council on 16 June 2020.

  • United Nations Human Rights Council – 43rd Session
  • Joint Oral Intervention – Item 7: General Debate
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies on behalf of 41 human rights organizations[1]
  • 15 June 2020

Delivered by: Nada Awad

Madam President,

Let me begin by commending the High Commissioner and her office for the initial release of the report on the database of businesses involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, despite undue political pressure on her office to suppress this important tool.

The database represents a historic touchstone and important precedent in broader efforts to ensure corporate accountability, including in the areas of environmental rights and violations of international humanitarian law. In line with HRC resolution 31/36, we urge the OHCHR to ensure that the database is updated annually and made publicly accessible until illegal settlements are dismantled, Israel’s prolonged military occupation comes to an end, and the Palestinian people are able to fully exercise their right to self-determination, including sovereignty over their natural resources.

Your Excellency,

As states present today are struggling with the current pandemic sweeping the globe, the government of Israel continues to exploit an occupied population and its resources, in part to blunt the impact of the virus to their economy.

Such a blatant case of illegal colonial exploitation being treated as “business as usual” deeply undermines international order based on the rule of law. The progress made over the years in the development of international humanitarian law and the eradication of colonialism, will continue to be threatened so long as Israel is able to continue to exploit occupied territory and its civilian population as a “business venture.”

As such, support by UN member states in the development and updating of the database, including by ensuring the allocation of sufficient resources to carry out this work, will play an important role in challenging Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territory and in preserving the integrity of the rule of law over corporate profit.

Thank you.

[1]Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 11.11.11, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Alataa Charitable Society, Al-Haq, Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Arab Network for tolerance, Association des universitaires pour le respect du droit international en Palestine (AURDIP), Association France Palestine Solidarité, Center for Arab Unity Studies, Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryyat), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine, Community Action Center, Al-Quds University,

Conectas Direitos Humanos, CNCD – 11.11.11, DefendDefenders, Defence for Children International – Palestine, Fares Al Arab for Development and Charity Works

Forsan Al-Ghad Youth Association‏, Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition, Human Rights & Democracy Media Center (SHAMS), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights, Just Peace Advocates, MA’AN Development Center, MRAP (Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitié entre les Peuples), Nuseirat Rehabilitation and Social Training Association (NRSTA), Palestinian Agricultural Development Association, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Palestinian NGO Network, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS), Stars of Hope, The Civic Coalition for Palestinians right in Jerusalem, The Palestine Institute for Public Policy, The National Society for Rehabilitation, Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP), Union of Health Care Committees, Youth Political Forum, and Zakher Association

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