Date: 6 June 2020
On 5 June 2020, Al-Haq sent letters to members of the Irish political parties Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Green Party, including their leaders, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mr Micheál Martin TD, and Mr Eamon Ryan TD, respectively, urging support for the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill as part of the forthcoming programme for the next Irish Government.
Negotiations to form the next government of the Republic of Ireland are now underway, and the Occupied Territories Bill has emerged as a “sticking point.” The Bill, which would prohibit the import or sale of goods originating from illegal settlements located in occupied territory, in line with Ireland’s obligations under the Draft Articles of State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts, and UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016), is supported by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, however is opposed by Fine Gael, the ruling party of the previous government.
In its letters to Irish politicians, Al-Haq stressed that there is no legal barrier, under both Irish constitutional law and European Union law, to the enactment of the Bill, which does little more than give effect to Ireland’s pre-existing obligations under international law. Moreover, Al-Haq noted that, in light of Ireland’s current campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, the enactment of the Bill would indicate a willingness to take positive and effective steps towards the realisation of international law and human rights, and genuine accountability for human rights violations and the commission of international crimes in Palestine, thereby setting Ireland apart from the failures of other members of the Security Council to do so.
Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Green Party are expected to reach an agreement on the legislative programme for the next Irish government in the coming week, and as such it is imperative that the Occupied Territories Bill is included. Al-Haq will continue to monitor the situation, engage in the interests of international law and human rights in Palestine, and support Irish politicians and civil society organisations in their fight for the enactment of the Bill.