The United Nations and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions): Modern Antisemitism

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Reports

  • June 12, 2017: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the UN Human Rights Council: Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem: comprehensive review on the status of recommendations addressed to all parties since 2009, A/HRC/35/19

    "40. Eleven recommendations concern businesses, civil society and Member States, and call for investigations of the activities of companies and financial institutions profiting from Israeli settlements, and for such practices to be ended and for reparation to be provided to Palestinians affected.
    ...
    76. The role of States and businesses in addressing the human rights impact of businesses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been the subject of increasing attention. Under the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, 'business enterprises should respect human rights. This means that they should avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved' (principle 11). In 2014, the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises stated in the context of Israeli settlements that 'where an enterprise cannot effectively prevent or mitigate an adverse human rights impact ... it should consider whether its continued operation can be reconciled with its responsibility to respect human rights and act accordingly'. The Working Group also noted that: 'States that are 'home State' of business enterprises operating in or connected with settlements in the OPT should engage with such enterprises at the earliest possible stage to provide advice and guidance, and should make clear the State's policy in regard to the settlements.'"
  • January 8, 2016: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the UN Human Rights Council: Implementation of recommendations in the report of the fact-finding mission on the implications of Israeli settlements on rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, A/HRC/31/42

    "1. In its resolution 28/26 on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, the Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report to the Council at its thirty-first session, specifying the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the implications of 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).
    ...
    6. Lastly, in paragraph 117 of its report, the fact-finding mission recommended that private companies must assess the human rights impact of their activities and take all necessary steps - including by terminating their business interests in the settlements - to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people, in conformity with international law and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In that regard, the mission called upon all Member States to take appropriate measures to ensure that business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, that conduct activities in or related to the settlements, respect human rights throughout their operations. The mission recommended that the Working Group on and the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises be seized of the matter.
    ...
    34. In its resolution 25/28, the Human Rights Council reiterated the call it had already made in its resolution 22/29 for the relevant United Nations bodies to take all necessary measures and actions within their mandates to ensure full respect for and compliance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international laws and standards, and to ensure the implementation of the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework, which provides a global standard for upholding human rights in relation to business activities that are connected with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The international fact-finding mission recommended that the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises remain seized of the matter of corporate engagement with settlements (see A/HRC/22/63, para. 117).

    35. Actions taken by the Working Group were reported in the previous report of the High Commissioner (A/HRC/28/43 and Corr.1).

    36. In its report to the General Assembly at its seventieth session, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reported on information it received that several companies were profiteering, directly or indirectly, from a wide range of illegal Israeli practices. The Special Committee noted that such activities took an enormous toll on the daily lives of Palestinians and that private companies had allegedly played a major role in funding, facilitating and supporting the Israeli occupation (see A/70/406 and Corr.1, para. 18).

    37. In that same report, the Special Committee grouped the activities of corporations involved in settlements into three broad categories (para. 19): (a) Israeli industry engaged in the construction of Israeli settlements, in production in settlements or in the provision of services to settlements; (b) control of the Palestinian population by constructing the wall and checkpoints, and the provision of private security or specialized equipment, such as surveillance and crowd control weapons; and (c) economic exploitation by using Palestinian workers, Palestinian natural resources or the Palestinian captive market. In addition, it referred to corporate activities of concern from a business and human rights perspective in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan.

    38. To exemplify the different categories, a number of case studies were presented to the Special Committee, for instance on financing the Israeli occupation, the exploitation of natural resources, corporate interdependency and the mislabelling of settlement products (see A/70/406 and Corr.1, paras. 20-27).

    39. The Special Committee stressed that corporate actors needed to be held accountable for the impact of their activities on human rights. Both Governments and businesses played a role in and were responsible for protecting and respecting the human rights of the Palestinian people. Moreover, the Special Committee stressed that third countries too should be held responsible for ensuring corporations' respect for human rights and that they should cease to fund or enter into commercial transactions with organizations and bodies involved in settlements or the exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories.

    40. The Special Committee recommended that the General Assembly call on the State of Israel to inform Israeli and multinational corporations working in the occupied territories of their corporate social responsibility to act with heightened due diligence and of the international legal ramifications of business activities with negative human rights impacts, and to take appropriate measures to prevent, investigate, punish and provide redress for corporate abuse and/or exploitation of resources in the occupied territories through, inter alia, effective policies, legislation, regulations and adjudication."

  • January 12, 2015. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the UN Human Rights Council: Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the implications of 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), A/HRC/28/43

    "3...The fact-finding mission made six recommendations, of which four were addressed to the State of Israel. Basing itself on article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the mission called upon Israel to cease all settlement activities without preconditions; to immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and to ensure adequate, effective and prompt remedy for all Palestinian victims for the harm suffered as a consequence of human rights violations that were a result of the settlements, in accordance with its international obligation to provide effective remedy.
    ...
    6. Lastly, the fact-finding mission stated that private companies must assess the human rights impact of their activities and take all necessary steps - including by terminating their business interests in the settlements - to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people, in conformity with international law and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In this regard, the mission called upon all Member States to take appropriate measures to ensure that business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, that conduct activities in or related to the settlements, respect human rights throughout their operations. The mission recommended that the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises be seized of this matter (para. 117).
    ...
    20. In its resolution 25/28, the Human Rights Council reiterated its call (made previously in resolution 22/29) upon the relevant United Nations bodies to take all necessary measures and actions within their mandates to ensure full respect for and compliance with Human Rights Council resolution 17/4 on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international laws and standards, and to ensure the implementation of the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework, which provides a global standard for upholding human rights in relation to business activities that are connected with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

    21. The international fact-finding mission recommended that the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises remained seized of the matter of corporate engagement with settlements (A/HRC/22/63, para. 117). On 6 June 2014, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 22/29, the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises issued a statement on the implications of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    22. In the statement, the Working Group indicated that, in carrying out due diligence, in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, corporations should be cognizant of the illegal status of settlements under international law, and should be informed by the publicly available information about the relation between settlements and human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Working Group further stated that the fact that the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including areas with settlements, was a conflict-affected area resulted in a heightened risk of negative human rights impacts which in turn required that companies act with heightened due diligence. The Working Group noted that where a business could not prevent or mitigate human rights risks, it might need to consider termination of operations (guiding principle 19).

    23. In its report to the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reported on information received regarding the continuing exploitation of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israeli and foreign companies, and on corporate involvement in a number of Israeli measures with adverse human rights impacts, including involvement in Israeli settlements. It noted, as examples of corporate activities of concern from a business and human rights perspective, three companies with activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and one company in the occupied Syrian Golan..."

  • January 10, 2014. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the UN Human Rights Council: Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the implications of 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), A/HRC/25/39

    "1. In its resolution 22/29 on the follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of 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 Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report detailing the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report to the Council at its twenty-fifth session.
    ...
    4. In its report, the fact-finding mission called upon all Member States to comply with their obligations under international law and to assume their responsibilities in their relations with a State breaching peremptory norms of international law, and specifically not to recognize an unlawful situation resulting from Israel's violations.

    5. Lastly, the fact-finding mission stated that private companies must assess the human rights impact of their activities and take all necessary steps including by terminating their business interests in the settlements to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people, in conformity with international law and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In this regard, the mission called upon all Member States to take appropriate measures to ensure that business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, that conduct activities in or related to the settlements, respect human rights throughout their operations. The mission recommended that the Working Group on Business and Human Rights be seized of this matter."

Statements

  • October 16, 2017: Statement by the High Commissioner during the interactive dialogue with the Third Committee of the General Assembly

    Responding to a question from the Palestinian representative regarding the creation of the database mandated in Human Rights Council resolution 31/36: "The report, as we have made clear to the Human Rights Council, and was then sort of echoed by the Human Rights Council which was made clear to us, will be produced by the end of September this year. December, sorry, December, and we're working on it."

  • January 25, 2017: Letter from the High Commissioner to the President regarding Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, UN Human Rights Council

    "I am writing regarding Human Rights Council resolution 31/36 of 24 March 2016, entitled 'Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, [and in the occupied Syrian Golan]'. Operative paragraph 17 'requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close consultation with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises [...] to produce a database of all business enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of the afore-mentioned report [A/HRC/22/63, concerning settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory], to be updated annually, and to transmit the data therein in the form of a report to the Council at its thirty-fourth session'.

    Let me assure you that my Office is doing its utmost to prepare this report. All interested persons, entities and organisations were invited by an open call to submit their contributions by 31 December 2016. We have also undertaken close consultations with the members of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises as requested by the resolution. Finally, we have held a number of meetings with parties concerned.

    Bearing in mind the complexity of the requested report,...that the Council defers for one time only its consideration of my report... to allow for the submission of the report as soon as possible but no later than the end of December 2017. My request is based on the need for more time to carefully consider the inputs submitted in relation to the open call for submissions..."

  • October 11, 2016: Call for Submissions HRC Resolution 31/36

    "On 24 March 2016, at its 31st session, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted resolution 31/36 entitled 'Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan'.

    Operative paragraph 17 of this resolution '[r]equests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close consultation with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, in follow-up to the 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], and as a necessary step for the implementation of the recommendation contained in paragraph 117 thereof, to produce a database of all business enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of the afore-mentioned report, to be updated annually and to transmit the data therein in the form of a report to the Council at its thirty-fourth session'.

    The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) invites all interested persons, entities and organizations to submit relevant information and documentation that will assist in the implementation of the above mandate. Submissions should focus on business enterprises allegedly involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of A/HRC/22/63..."

  • March 21, 2016: Oral statement by Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Council, 31st session, Agenda Item 7

    "In line with Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1, I present the High Commissioner's eighth periodic report on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory... [M]ost issues of concern raised by the fact finding mission on settlements continue to be reported, including in relation to the involvement of business establishments in exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories, and sustenance and expansion of settlements."

Articles on actions of the High Commissioner

  • October 17, 2017: UNHRC Pressures Israeli Company to Cut Off Internet Services to Settlements, Jerusalem Post

    "The United Nations Human Rights Council has been pressuring Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq to cut off its services to settlements, saying that the company is promoting the illegal communities and their expansion, the Washington Free Beacon reported."

  • October 16, 2017: UN Threatens to Blacklist Bezeq Phone Company, Bezeq CEO Calls Them Out, Jewish Press

    "The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has threatened to blacklist Bezeq, Israel's most prominent telecommunications corporation, because the company provides services to Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem."

  • October 16, 2017: Israeli company, Bezeq, reveals astonishing UN blackmail, Washington Free Beacon

    "The United Nations Human Rights Council is pressuring a major Israeli telecommunications company to cease operations in disputed areas of the Jewish state or face a potential designation as a human rights abuser, according to a copy of communications sent by the Human Rights Council that is being viewed as an attempt to blackmail international corporations into boycotting the Jewish state."

  • September 29, 2017: US Jewish leaders slam UN rights chief over West Bank blacklist, The Times of Israel

    "US Jewish leaders have charged the UN Human Rights chief with abusing his authority by directly informing some 150 Israeli and international companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights that they could be blacklisted for their activities."

  • September 27, 2017: UN sent warning letter to 150 companies for doing business in Israeli settlements, Haaretz

    "The UN's Human Rights Commissioner began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem...[T]he letters, sent by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said these firms were doing business in the 'occupied Palestinian territories' and could thus find themselves on the UN blacklist for companies acting in violation of 'internal law and UN decisions.' The letters...request that these firms send the commission clarifications about their business activities in settlements."

  • September 3, 2017: High Commissioner Zeid sent a draft of the "blacklist" to the countries where listed businesses are based, Jewish Press

    "U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein submitted a draft of the blacklist to the countries where the businesses are based. He is expected to receive a response from those nations by Sept. 1, and the UNHRC will publish the database by the end of this year."

  • August 21, 2017: U.S. pushing to quash U.N. 'blacklist' of firms doing business in Israeli settlements, Washington Post

    "Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has told U.S. officials he plans to publish the list by the end of the year and has asked for comments by Sept. 1 from countries where affected firms are headquartered, diplomats said...Zeid, a Jordanian diplomat who was his country's ambassador to the United States, had agreed to one postponement this year, partly in response to a U.S. request. He has indicated he plans to move ahead now, arguing that the list is a resource for consumers and travelers, according to diplomats from several affected countries who requested anonymity to describe behind-the-scenes jockeying over the issue."