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zondag 28 januari 2018
Palestinian demands of UN Data base of corporate complicity in the occupation
Special Edition – Call to action Palestinian demands of UN Data base of corporate complicity in the occupation
On 25th January, 81 organizations in Palestine issued a collective statement calling on “UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to ensure the timely publication and annual update of the database established under Human Rights Council.
The imminent report is drawing edgy reactions from Israel and its main ally, the US. The report is apt to expose a large number of corporates which have done business, notably in settlement areas, and which have directly supported the occupation machinery and infrastructure.
There are unrestrained and shrill lobbying efforts on to withhold the release of this report. Israel fears that naming and shaming corporates that have profited from the misery of Palestinians by engaging on the side of the occupation will discourage further investment in Israel from other corporates. It might all lead to rapid escalation of pull backs by companies who may want to protect their image and not be seen as being on the side of an unbelievably oppressive, and fascist political regime. The report threatens to create economic havoc for the Israeli economy. Echoes from the BDS Movement in South Africa are sounding alarms bells in Tel Aviv leading to political paranoia.
The 81 organizations are asking member States “to establish and enact coherent, consistent policies on business and human rights, where the occupied Palestinian territory is not considered an “exception” to the implementation of National Action Plan (NAPs) and other domestic policies”. They are also asking for all states to use the database as a tool to facilitate the implementation of measures under UNSCR 2334, according to which Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity, and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.
The Palestinian organizations argue that after 50 years of occupation, the database comes as an important, impulse towards transparency and accountability. They are not only demanding an end to Israel’s occupation, but also “an end to corporate complicity in the colonization of Palestine”
It is also important that this information is widely made known in the public domain so that Israel is embarrassed. As well, corporates that are now complicit in Israeli war crimes need to be exposed as placing profits before human life and ethical business values. It is equally important that groups and individuals, churches, social movements, trade unions, and others who have mass support and political access lobby are mobilized and ensure that this report widely known and acted upon. Ranjan Solomon