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Al-Haq Calls on UN Member States to Support the Release of the UN Database of Businesses Engaged in Activities with Israeli Settlements

Date: 13/3/2019
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Al-Haq Calls on UN Member States to Support the Release of the UN Database of Businesses Engaged in Activities with Israeli SettlementsLast week, Al-Haq sent letters to United Nations (UN) Member States with diplomatic representatives in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), calling on them to urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Madam Michelle Bachelet, to publicly release the UN Database of businesses engaged in activities with Israeli settlements. Al-Haq’s letters came following a communication issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, indicating a delay in the release of the UN Database.

The letters reminded UN Member States of the illegality of Israel's settlement enterprise, and stressed that the UN Database, premised inter alia on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, is a tool to facilitate the regulation of business activities; warn businesses of potential legal and other risks as a result of their operations and relationships; and may curtail adverse human rights impacts of business enterprises in the OPT.

The letters further highlighted a statement sent by Palestinian civil society to the UN High Commissioner on 28 February 2019, warning that further delays in the publication of the UN Database and continued lack of transparency would foster an already-existing culture of impunity for human rights abuses and internationally recognised crimes in the OPT. Such abuses are often linked to Israel's settlement enterprise, and committed by both state and non-state actors, including business enterprises. The letter also called on the UN High Commissioner to release the UN Database during the current Human Rights Council 40th Regular Session.

Al-Haq also reminded UN Member States that they have been presented with an opportunity by virtue of Human Rights Council Resolution 31/36 (2016) to utilise and engage constructively with the UN Database. In doing so, States may work towards fulfilling their obligations as High Contracting Parties to respect and ensure respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention, to prevent and put an end to the destruction and unlawful exploitation of Palestinian property and natural resources in the OPT, the forcible transfer of Palestinians and the transfer of Israeli civilians (settlers) into the OPT, and not to recognise or maintain the illegal situation created by Israel's prolonged occupation.

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