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

Timeline of BDS at the UN


2020

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights releases the blacklist of businesses "conducting activities in or related to" Israeli "settlements":

    Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/43/71, Database of all business enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 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, February 12, 2020

    "A. Background
    1. The present report is submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to resolution 31/36, on "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan", adopted by the Council on 24 March 2016.

    2. In paragraph 17 of resolution 31/36, the Council requested production of a database of all business enterprises involved in certain specified activities related to the Israeli 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.
    ...
    B. Mandate
    6. Human Rights Council resolution 31/36 requesting production of a database was 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). In its report, the fact-finding mission set out a list of activities that raised particular human rights concerns for it ("listed activities"). In resolution 31/36, the Council defined the database by reference to the listed activities compiled by the fact-finding mission in its report, which were:

    (a) The supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction and the expansion of settlements and the wall, and associated infrastructures;
    (b) The supply of surveillance and identification equipment for settlements, the wall and checkpoints directly linked with settlements;
    (c) The supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property, the destruction of agricultural farms, greenhouses, olive groves and crops;
    (d) The supply of security services, equipment and materials to enterprises operating in settlements;
    (e) The provision of services and utilities supporting the maintenance and existence of settlements, including transport;
    (f) Banking and financial operations helping to develop, expand or maintain settlements and their activities, including loans for housing and the development of businesses;
    (g) The use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes;
    (h) Pollution, and the dumping of waste in or its transfer to Palestinian villages;
    (i) Captivity of the Palestinian financial and economic markets, as well as practices that disadvantage Palestinian enterprises, including through restrictions on movement, administrative and legal constraints;
    (j) Use of benefits and reinvestments of enterprises owned totally or partially by settlers for developing, expanding and maintaining the settlements.

    7. Paragraph 5 of the previous report outlined parameters of the database, which encompasses business enterprises, whether domiciled in Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory or abroad, carrying out listed activities in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
    ...
    F. Database of business enterprises

    31. OHCHR identified that 112 of the 188 business enterprises considered for inclusion in the database met the required standard of reasonable grounds to believe involvement in one or more of the listed activities. These are set out immediately following.
    ...
    H. Recommendation

    33. Resolution 31/36 contemplated that the database be updated annually. OHCHR would recommend that the Human Rights Council establish a group of independent experts, with a time-bound mandate, to report directly to the Council for such a purpose."

2019

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council calling for states to not "aid or assist" settlements:

    Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/40/43, Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, March 13, 2019

    "51. Given the obligations of third States not to recognize as lawful a situation violating international law and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining that situation, States should not recognize the unlawful situation resulting from Israeli settlements or aid or assist in maintaining it. In this regard, Security Council resolution 2334 of 23 December 2016, having reaffirmed that that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law, called upon all States 'to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.'"
  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights writes a letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council supporting the creation of the database but explaining the delay of its release due to "the novelty of the mandate and its legal, methodological and factual complexity":

    Letter from the High Commissioner to the President of the Human Rights Council regarding Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, March 4, 2019

    "I write further to 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".

    In a letter dated 25 January 2017 to the then President of the Human Rights Council, my predecessor as High Commissioner, Zeid Ra' ad Al Hussein, recommended a deferment of the report requested in resolution 31/36, based on the need to consider inputs submitted and ensure that due process was fully respected. In a report to the Council dated 1 February 2018 (A/HRC/37/39), my predecessor described the state of progress made, and advanced a preliminary analysis. On 7 August 2018, by way of letter to the then President of the Human Rights Council, further detail was provided as to process as it stood at that time, with indication that OHCHR expected to provide the Council with an update on the matter in the future.

    Since my assumption of functions as High Commissioner in September 2018, I have been engaged in a process of consideration and assessment of the steps undertaken to date. The steps taken pursuant to resolution 31/36 have led to important, and welcome, engagement with Member States, business entities, civil society and other stakeholders, which is ongoing. I am committed to discharging the mandate of the Human Rights Council set out in its resolution 31/36, and intend to report to the Council accordingly. Given the novelty of the mandate and its legal, methodological and factual complexity, further consideration is necessary to fully respond to the Council's request.

    My Office shall continµe to devote requisite attention to the matter, with a view to finalizing this mandated activity in coming months, and I look forward to engagement with the Council in that regard."

2018

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council calling for states to "take appropriate measures" against corporations operating in settlements:

    Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/37/41, Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, March 19, 2018

    "42. Human Rights Council resolution 34/28 also calls upon all duty bearers to pursue the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations 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. In its recommendations, the report of the fact-finding mission also refers to third States' responsibility concerning situations where a State is breaching peremptory norms of international law. States should not recognize as lawful a situation violating international law, nor render aid or assistance in maintaining that situation. Accordingly, third States should not recognize the unlawful situation resulting from Israeli settlements, nor to aid or assist Israel in this regard. In addition, third States shall also cooperate to bring to an end, through lawful means, any serious breach arising under a peremptory norm of general international law. Such cooperation is also implied by the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms, as expressly recalled by most of the international human rights treaties.

    43. Recognizing that "business enterprises have, directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements", the fact finding mission also 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 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council on corporations that are "conducting activities in or related to" Israeli "settlements" and asks for more "resources" to publish the full list of companies:

    Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/37/39, Database of all business enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of 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," January 26, 2018:

    "1. The present report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to resolution 31/36, on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by the Council on 24 March 2016. In paragraph 17 of resolution 31/36, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a database of all business enterprises engaged in certain specified activities related to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in consultation with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and to transmit the data therein in the form of a report to the Council at its thirty-fourth session. The Council also requested that the database be updated annually.
    ...