Al-Haq welcomes the decision of the Stadsregio Haaglanden of 23 May 2012 not to award Veolia Transport Nederland Openbaar Vervoer, a Dutch subsidiary of the Veolia Group, the public transport contract for all bus transportation in The Hague’s city district. The decision of the Dutch local authority for the urban district Haaglanden continues a trend of Veolia being excluded from contracts in other major urban centres across the globe, such as Victoria (Australia), London (United Kingdom), Stockholm (Sweden), Edinburgh (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland) and Bordeaux (France).
Earlier this month, prior to the Dutch local authority’s decision in the public transport tender, Al-Haq expressed its grave concern about the participation of Veolia Transport Nederland Openbaar Vervoer. In a press release issued on 2 May 2012, Al-Haq highlighted that Veolia’s participation in The Hague’s public transport tender was particularly problematic due to the city’s reputation as the “International City of Peace and Justice.”
Al-Haq’s recent advocacy efforts in The Hague are part of a long-term commitment to object to the activities of Veolia, a French multinational providing infrastructure through its subsidiaries to Israeli local authorities, for its involvement in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway linking West Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank. On 14 April 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC Resolution 13/7) specifically declared the Jerusalem Light Railway Way to be “in clear breach of international law and relevant UN resolutions.” Such infrastructure contributes to Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and of other parts of the West Bank. Veolia, operating through a network of wholly- or partially-owned subsidiaries, also provides other infrastructural support to Israeli authorities, including the operation of the Tovlan landfill site in the Jordan Valley. The site is used to dispose of waste collected from Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
In July 2011, the Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen, a Dutch local authority, decided to award a one-billion-Euro public transport concession to one of Veolia’s Dutch subsidiaries, Hermes. In response to the local authority’s decision, Al-Haq instructed Van den Biesen Boesveld advocates to submit a formal objection. In December 2011, the Commission of Appeals of the Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen denied Al-Haq standing and Al-Haq appealed the case before the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (College van Beroep voor het Bedrijfsleven). A decision on the case is still pending.
In a letter of 25 March 2008, Al-Haq urged Dutch financial service provider SNS Bank/Asset Management to exclude Veolia Environnement SA from SNS portfolios after SNS Bank’s subsidiary, ASN Bank, had already divested itself of its holdings in Veolia. In 2006, ASN Bank sold all its Veolia shares because of Veolia’s participation in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway stating that “the project is not in line with the United Nation's demand to stop all support for Israel's settlement activities.” Furthermore, in a letter dating back to August 2007, Al-Haq called on Veolia Environnement SA to discontinue its involvement in the Jerusalem Light Railway and other such infrastructure as part of Veolia’s commitment undertaken within the UN Global Compact and to halt its contribution to Israel’s ongoing violations of international law.
Al-Haq’s efforts directed at non-State actors are aimed at ensuring that they adhere to their ethical and legal commitment not to contribute themselves with Israel’s violations of international law, with a view to deterring further violations.
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