UN rights office issues report on business activities related to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
One of the most important recent developments in sanctions (the S in BDS) happened in 2020 within the United Nations human rights struggle on illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine and the companies in Israel and internationally doing business in those settlements. The international civil society and faith-based movements has already been responding to this issue with boycotts and divestment advocacy and actions, including key divestment and boycott policy votes taken by those organizations. The following interpretation of both the UN resolutions regarding the list are taken from publications from the United Nations agency.
This list also provides guidance to BDS action groups with regard to companies to be considered in local/national/international actions, as well as part of the educational materials that might be produces in regional contexts.
Of the 112 business entities identified in the report, 94 are domiciled in Israel and 18 in six other States. During the complex process of drawing up the database, the Office consulted the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and held widespread discussions with numerous States, civil society organizations, think tanks, academics and others, as well as having extensive interactions with the companies themselves.
The report makes clear that the reference to these business entities is not, and does not purport to be, a judicial or quasi-judicial process. While the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them. Any further steps with respect to the continuation of this mandate will be a matter for the Member States of the Human Rights Council, which will consider the report during the Council’s next session, beginning on 24 February.
Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, adopted on 24 March 2016, requested the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a report to follow up on the 2013 report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/22/63). The resolution defined the parameters of the current report by reference to ten specific activities listed in Paragraph 96 of the Fact-Finding Mission’s report. Human Rights Council resolution.
The report released on February 12, 2020, sets out conclusions following further communications with business entities, as well as a thorough review and assessment of all information available. It identifies 112 business entities which the UN Human Rights Office, on the basis of the information it has gathered, has reasonable grounds to conclude have been involved in one or more of the specific activities referenced in Human Rights Council resolution 31/36.
To read or download the UN report on business activities related to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory see below.