UN Database on Businesses Operating in Israeli Settlements should be published
We, the undersigned organizationsfrom the Asian region, call on UN Secretary General António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein, and member States of the UN to ensure the publication and annual update of the database established under UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 31/36.
In March 2016, the HRC adopted resolution 31/36, urging all states to ‘implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’, and requesting the High Commissioner to produce a database of all business enterprises that ‘directly and indirectly enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements’. Such business activities include, inter alia, the supply of equipment, services (including security and transport services), banking and financial operations, and ‘the use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes’. The activities need not necessarily be geographically connected with the settlements.
On 26 January 2018, the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) published a report pursuant to this resolution, stating that the Office had conducted a preliminary screening of companies alleged to fall under the terms of the Resolution, and was in the midst of contacting companies that it believed warranted further research. The information provided by OHCHR indicates that the majority of companies OHCHR had identified were located in Israel, the United States, or European countries. Nevertheless, we note with concern that three companies from the Republic of Korea, two from Japan, and one each from Singapore and from Turkey have been listed. A third Japanese company was excluded from further consideration at the preliminary screening stage.
None of the companies have been named, and while the report states that OHCHR ‘expects’ (page 8, para. 26) to provide the names of the relevant companies, it has been widely reported that strong pressure is being brought on the High Commissioner by some UN member States not to release company names, and even to discontinue altogether work on the database.
We therefore urge the following:
- The names of all companies identified by OHCHR, including those that have been excluded in the preliminary screening, should be published immediately.
- OHCHR should continue to work closely with civil society and human rights defenders in full transparency, to ensure completion and continuous update of the database.
- The UN Secretary General and UN member states should support fully OHCHR in the above, including through the provision of resources as necessary.
Association for support of Al Ahli Arab Hospital
Artists Against Occupation
BDS japan preparatory committee
End the Collaboration to War! Kansai Network
Kansai Joint Action
Palestine Forum Japan
Palestine-Sendai Solidarity Group
Anti-Imperialism and Decolonization Studies in Seoul
Anti-War Peace Solidarity in Korea
Asian dignity initiative
Institute for Law and Human Rights in Society (ILHRS)
Korea Human Rights Research Center
Korean House for International Solidarity
Network for Glocal Activism
Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea
People’s Solidarity for Social Progress
Seoul Human Rights Film Festival
Solidarity for Another World
Viva Palestina Malaysia
Palestinian Cultural Organization of Malaysia (PCOM)
AL QUDS Foundation of Malaysia
Muslim Professionals Forum Berhad
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Thailand
Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) Movement Thailand
Islamic Centre, Siam Technology College Thailand
India Palestine Solidarity Forum
Badayl, Goa, India
Palestine Foundation Pakistan (with all political and religious parties including civil society attached to the Organisation)
For any inquiries, please contact BDS japan preparatory committee:
saul_takahashi2[at]yahoo.co.uk (Saul Takahashi)
or ysige1971[at]gmail.com (Yoshihiro Yakushige)