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100 Palestinian, Regional and International Organisations Call on High Commissioner for Human Rights to Publish the UN Database on Business Enterprises with Activities Related to Israeli Settlements in the OPT

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On Tuesday, 27 November 2018, 100 Palestinian, regional, and international organisations sent a joint open letter to the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights concerning the UN Database on business enterprises with activities related to Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 31/36 of 2016. The letter urges the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to publish an online, dynamic, and regularly updated Database of businesses active in Israeli settlements.[1]

The joint open letter highlights that the Database establishes a significant normative development in the framework of business and human rights in context of conflict and occupation, especially where accountability for the Occupying Power and private actors involved in human rights violations and abuses has been absent. The letter further reminds the High Commissioner that the results from the process surrounding the Database, ongoing for three years now, have not been transmitted with the necessary transparency, and warns against further delays in its publication and development. In addition, the letter calls on the High Commissioner and her Office to consider the Database as a preventive measure that would enable States and corporations to make decisions to pre-empt their involvement in human rights violations and ensure their commitment to international human rights and humanitarian law.

The 100 undersigned organisations call on the UN High Commissioner to:

  1. Create a public, online, and regularly updated platform of business enterprises engaged in business activities related to Israeli settlements that have been screened and contacted, in accordance with the report of the High Commissioner dated 26 January 2018, pursuant to UN Human Rights Council resolution 31/36;
  2. Ensure that adequate resources are allocated to ensure that the Database is kept up to date, as mandated by the Human Rights Council;
  3. Encourage States, particularly those in the process of developing National Action Plans (NAPs) on business and human rights, to highlight the significance of the UN Database in their advice to companies, domestic authorities, and diplomatic missions with regards to operations and activities in the OPT and Israel.

To read the full letter, click here.

[1] Several other joint open letters were sent to OHCHR in this regard. For example, see: Al-Haq, Joint Open Letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 22 February 2018, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/targets/united-nations/1185-joint-open-letter-to-the-high-commissioner-for-human-rights; CIHRS, Joint NGO Statement in Support of the UN Human Rights Database on Business Activities Related to Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 30 November 2017, available at: https://cihrs.org/joint-ngo-statement-in-support-of-the-un-human-rights-database-on-business-activities-related-to-settlements-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory/?lang=en.