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

Timeline for BDS at the UN


2017

  • The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution requiring that States warn businesses about "reputational and legal risks" "involved in settlement-related activities," and that businesses avoid "contributing" to settlements.

    UN Human Rights Council Resolution, A/HRC/34/L.41/Rev.1, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan," adopted March 24, 2017

    "The Human Rights Council,
    ...
    13. Calls upon all States:
    ...
    (c) To provide guidance to individuals and businesses on the financial, reputational and legal risks, including the possibility of liability for corporate involvement in gross human rights abuses and the abuses of the rights of individuals, of becoming involved in settlement-related activities, including through financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements, loans, the provision of services, and other economic and financial activities in or benefiting Israeli settlements, to inform businesses of these risks in the formulation of their national action plans for the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and to ensure that their policies, legislation, regulations and enforcement measures effectively address the heightened risks of operating a business in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
    ...
    14. Calls upon business enterprises to take all necessary measures to comply with their responsibilities under the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international laws and standards with respect to their activities in or in relation to the Israeli settlements and the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to avoid contributing to the establishment, maintenance, development or consolidation of Israeli settlements or the exploitation of natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory;"
  • The UN Secretary-General submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council pushing BDS efforts as "obligations" and urging businesses "to consider termination of operations" in settlements.

    Report of the UN Secretary-General A/HRC/34/39, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan," March 16, 2017

    "C. Production and Trade of Settlement Goods

    34. The production and trade of settlement goods raises concerns about the human rights impacts on Palestinians caused and exacerbated by business enterprises and States... Accordingly, third States are under the obligation not to recognize the unlawful situation resulting from Israeli settlements, nor to aid or assist in Israel's violations.
    ...
    36. Products that are wholly or partially produced in settlements are frequently labelled as coming from Israel, obscuring their actual origin. This allows the exports to be covered under preferential trade agreements with the EU that exclude settlements. Some measures have been taken to address these issues. During the reporting period, the EU issued new labelling guidelines for products coming from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights. Under these guidelines, any products originating from settlements must not be labelled as 'Made in Israel' but must clearly be labelled as produced in settlements.

    37. While States have a primary duty to protect human rights, there is an independent corporate responsibility to respect human rights applicable to all business enterprises, irrespective of where they operate. This is recognized in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which are based on existing responsibilities under international law and have been unanimously endorsed by all the Member States of the Human Rights Council.

    38. The role of Israeli and foreign businesses in supporting and maintaining the existence of the settlements has been highlighted previously. In its 2013 report, 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 (hereafter "the fact-finding mission), concluded that business enterprises have, 'directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements'. Furthermore, it found that businesses 'contribute to their maintenance, development and consolidation' with full knowledge of the liability risks. 39. Since the fact-finding mission's report, there has been increasing attention on the activities of business enterprises related to settlements. In 2014, the Working Group on human rights and transnational cooperation and other business enterprises emphasized that businesses connected to Israeli settlements 'need to be able to demonstrate that they neither support the continuation of an international illegality nor are complicit in human rights abuses; that they can effectively prevent or mitigate human rights risks; and are able to account for their efforts in this regard'. The Working Group stated that where companies cannot prevent or mitigate the risks of being involved with human rights violations through their operations and business relationships, they may need to consider termination of operations.
    ...
    64. Third-Party states should provide guidance on implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction which operate in conflict-affected areas, including in the context of military occupation, such as in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    65. Business enterprises should undertake human rights due diligence in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address any adverse human rights impact on Palestinians they may cause or contribute to, or which may be directly linked to their operations, products or services."

2016

  • The UN General Assembly votes to fund the UN Human Rights Council resolution creating a blacklist of companies doing business with Israeli settlements "directly or indirectly."

    UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/71/272, "Special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 20162017," adopted December 23, 2016

    NOTE: This is a General Assembly budget resolution that funds BDS. More specifically, it funds the implementation of the Human Rights Council's March 2016 resolution calling for the creation of a "database" of all companies that conduct business - directly or indirectly - relating to Israeli "settlements" in Arab-claimed territories. On its face, the resolution is unrecognizable, but this is what it means.

    After the adoption of the Human Rights Council BDS resolution, the Secretary-General produced a report, detailing how much it would cost to implement the resolution. The Secretary-General's report said that implementation would require the General Assembly to appropriate - as part of its overall regular budget - "additional resources of $138,700, including $36,300 under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and $102,400 under section 24, Human rights." The $36,300 was for "pre-session documentation" and the $102,400 was to pay for the services of one staff member at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for 8 months time.

    The Secretary-General's report was then considered by the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a group of 16 persons from different states artificially labelled "independent." In December 2016 - as is almost always the case - it had a U.S. member. The ACABQ concluded: "the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly approve the proposals of the Secretary-General."

    The recommendations of the ACABQ concerning all of the resolutions and decisions of the Human Rights Council over its past four sessions - including the BDS resolution - were then sent to the UN's "Fifth" or budget committee. The Fifth Committee is a committee of all 193 UN member states.

    The Fifth Committee put the funding for all Human Rights Council resolutions into Section XV of a more general funding resolution. When this resolution came to a vote in the Fifth Committee, the representative of Israel proposed an amendment to Section XV that would have added this sentence: "Decides not to approve any resources stemming from adoption of resolution 31/36 by the Human Rights Council". The Israeli amendment was defeated by a vote of 7 in favor (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), 148 against, 6 abstentions (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras). The more general budget resolution was then adopted by consensus in the Fifth Committee, with only Israel (and not the Obama administration) "disassociating" from the result - and the Fifth Committee's decision was then rubber-stamped by a resolution of the plenary of the General Assembly itself.

    The final resolution that funds the creation of the Human Rights Council BDS blacklist is as follows
    :

    "The General Assembly,
    ...
    XV
    Revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first, thirty-second and thirty-third sessions and twenty-fourth special session

    Having considered the report of the Secretary-General and the related report of the Advisory Committee,
    1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General;
    2. Endorses the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the Advisory Committee;
    3. Approves the establishment of 10 posts (1 P-5, 3 P-4 and 6 P-3) under section 24, Human rights, of the programme budget for the biennium 20162017, with effect from 1 January 2017;
    4. Also approves an additional appropriation, in the amount of 14,784,500 dollars, comprising 2,481,300 dollars under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, 12,259,500 dollars under section 24, Human rights, 8,400 dollars under section 28, Public information, and 35,300 dollars under section 29F, Administration, Geneva, of the programme budget for the biennium 20162017;
    5. Further approves the amount of 147,600 dollars under section 36, Staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 20162017, to be offset by an equivalent amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment;..."

    Adopted without a vote.

  • The UN Security Council tells all states to distinguish in their dealings between "settlements" and Israel and the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council every three months on the implementation of the resolution.

    UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/2334, "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question," adopted December 23, 2016

    "The Security Council
    ...
    1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
    ...
    5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
    ...
    12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;"

    Adopted by a vote of 14 in favor (Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela), 0 against, and 1 abstention (United States)
  • The Secretary-General produced another "progress" report on damages that the UN General Assembly claims Israel owes to Palestinians as a result of the barrier it built to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorism. The recent SG report says it has so far received 55,833 damage claims. There have been 8 such reports to date.

    Letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the General Assembly including the progress report from the Board of the UN Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, A/ES-10/730, August 23, 2016

    "1. The Board of the United Nations Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (the Register of Damage) provides this progress report, in accordance with paragraph 6 (h) of General Assembly resolution ES-10/17, covering the period from 20 June 2015 to 24 June 2016...
    ...
    4. By 24 June 2016, 55,833 claim forms for registration of damage and over 900,000 of supporting documents had been collected and delivered to the Office of the Register of Damage in Vienna.
    ...
    16. The Board of the Register of Damage will continue to provide periodic reports."
  • The UN Human Rights Council tells UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to create a database of all businesses involved in activities in Israeli settlements directly or indirectly, and the Secretary-General to produce a report on the "international law violations" involved in production and trade in "settlement goods."

    UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/31/36, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan," adopted March 24, 2016

    "The Human Rights Council,
    ...
    16. Takes note of the statement of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises in follow-up to Human Rights Council resolution 22/29;

    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, 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, 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;

    18. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution, with particular emphasis on the human rights and international law violations involved in the production of settlement goods and the relationship between trade in these goods and the maintenance and economic growth of settlements, at its thirty-fourth session;..."

    Adopted by a vote of 32 in favour (Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Vietnam), 0 against, 15 abstentions (Albania, Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Latvia, Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, United Kingdom)

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submits a report which includes a compilation of UN action to attack "business activities that are connected with Israeli settlements."

    Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the UN Human Rights Council, A/HRC/31/42, "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," January 8, 2016

    "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).
    ...
    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).
    ...
    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."

2015

  • The UN General Assembly calls on UN bodies to ensure compliance with the Guiding Principles on business and human rights, and the associated "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework" as applied to "business activities that are connected with Israeli settlements" by the Human Rights Council.

    UN General Assembly Resolution, A/RES/69/92, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan," adopted December 5, 2015

    "The General Assembly,
    ...
    9. Calls 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 of 16 June 2011, concerning 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 UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices calls on states to "ensure corporations...cease to fund or enter into commercial transactions with organizations and bodies involved in settlements or exploitation."

    Report of the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, A/70/406, October 5, 2015

    "27. [I]t was stressed that corporate actors needed to be held accountable for the impact of their activities on human rights. Governments and business both had roles and responsibilities with regard to the protection of and respect for the human rights of the Palestinian people. Moreover, it was stressed that the responsibility for ensuring corporations' respect for human rights should also lie with third countries, which should cease to fund or enter into commercial transactions with organizations and bodies involved in settlements or the exploitation of natural resources in the Palestinian and Syrian occupied territories.
    ...
    89. The Special Committee also calls upon:
    ...
    (e) Member States to review national policies, legislation, regulations and enforcement measures in relation to business activity to ensure that they effectively serve to prevent and address the heightened risk of human rights abuses in conflict-affected areas;
    (f) Member States to ensure that corporations respect human rights and cease to fund or enter into commercial transactions with organizations and bodies involved in settlements or exploitation;"

  • The UN Secretary-General begins complying with the General Assembly resolution on business activities connected with Israeli settlements, by directing "the United Nations country team" to conduct a review of UN "procurement policies."

    Report of the UN Secretary-General, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, A/70/351," August 31, 2015

    "4. In accordance with paragraph 9 of resolution 69/92, it is noted that the United Nations country team has embarked on a review of existing procurement policies to ensure full respect for and compliance with Human Rights Council resolution 17/4 and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights."

  • The UN Human Rights Council adopts a resolution that demands states ensure all businesses within their jurisdiction comply with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as applied to Israel and settlements and tells businesses not to contribute to the "establishment or maintenance" of Israeli settlements, and tells the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to present another report on the implementation of the Council's fact-finding mission on settlements, and tells the Secretary-General to produce another report on implenting this resolution.

    UN Human Rights Council Resolution, A/HRC/RES/28/26, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan," adopted March 27, 2015

    "The Human Rights Council,
    ...
    12. Urges all States:

    (a) To ensure that they are not taking actions that either recognize or assist the expansion of settlements or construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

    (b) To implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to take appropriate measures to help ensure that businesses domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, refrain from committing or contributing to gross human rights abuses of Palestinians, in accordance with the expected standard of conduct in the Guiding Principles and relevant international laws and standards;

    (c) To provide information to individuals and businesses on the financial, reputational and legal risks and the possible abuses of the rights of individuals of becoming involved in settlement-related activities, including economic and financial activities, the provision of services in settlements and the purchasing of property, and to consider informing businesses of these risks in the formulation of their national action plans for the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;

    13. Encourages business enterprises to take transparent action to comply with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights with respect to their activities relating to Israeli settlements and the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, to avoid contributing to the establishment or maintenance of Israeli settlements or the exploitation of natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory;..."

    Adopted by a recorded vote of 45 in favour, 1 against (United States), and 1 abstention (Paraguay)

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council which includes a compilation of UN action to attack business enterprises "that conduct activities related to the settlements."

    Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/28/43, "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)," January 12, 2015

    "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. 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..."

2014

  • The UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices invokes the statement of the Working Group on business and human rights on settlements and expands the application of the Guiding Principles on business and human rights beyond settlements to cover "corporate involvement in other measures related to the occupation," and calls upon states to apply these to their "national policies, legislation, regulations and enforcement measures in relation to business activity."

    Report of the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, A/69/355, August 26, 2014

    "83. The Special Committee was briefed on the continuing exploitation of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israel and Israeli and foreign companies, and on corporate involvement in a number of Israeli measures with adverse human rights impacts, including involvement in Israeli settlements.

    84. In June 2014, 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. In that statement, it recognized that the military occupation of the Palestinian territory constituted a conflict situation, even in the absence of active hostilities, and referred to the heightened risks of corporate involvement in human rights abuses in such situations.

    With respect to the illegal status of settlements under international law and the publicly available information about the relation between settlements and human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Working Group noted that this 'should necessarily preface and inform any human rights due diligence exercise carried out by a business operating in the settlements' and that 'the corporate responsibility to respect human rights exists over and above compliance with national laws and regulations'.

    85. With reference to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Working Group stated that, where a business could not prevent or mitigate human rights risks, it might need to consider termination of operations (Principle 19). The Special Committee would like to stress that the heightened risk of negative human rights impacts applies to the entire Occupied Palestinian Territory as a conflict-affected area and is relevant not only for corporate involvement in settlements but also for corporate involvement in other measures related to the occupation.
    ...
    91. The Special Committee notes reports that many States members of the European Union have issued statements warning of the legal and financial risks of doing business with Israeli settlements, including in the occupied Syrian Golan.
    ...
    97. The Special Committee calls upon:
    ...
    (c) Member States to review national policies, legislation, regulations and enforcement measures in relation to business activity to ensure that they effectively serve to prevent and address the heightened risk of human rights abuses in conflict-affected areas;"

  • The UN Human Rights Council's Working Group on business and human rights releases a statement that says the Guiding Principles on business and human rights require all "business enterprises doing business, or seeking to do business, in or connected to the Israeli settlements" not to support "international illegality" or to be "complicit in human rights abuses" and to "terminat[e] their business interests or activities" that do so. After it was created in 2011, the Working Group conducted country visits; there have been only 7 countries visited to investigate its concerns about business and human rights (2012 to 2016 inclusive) - in order: Mongolia, United States , Ghana, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Mexico.

    Statement of the UN Working Group on business and human rights on the implications of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, June 6, 2014

    "At its 5th session held in Geneva (17-21 June 2013) the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (the Working Group) considered the Council's request and decided to respond by issuing a statement outlining the implications of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights1 (hereafter the Guiding Principles) in the context of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem (OPT) before the 26th session of the Human Rights Council.
    ...
    The Working Group underscores that the Guiding Principles apply to all business enterprises, in all operating contexts, and that all business enterprises have a responsibility to respect internationally recognised human rights wherever they operate. Business enterprises that have activities in the settlements or have business relationships with entities in the settlements should take due note of reports and resolutions of the United Nations human rights system concerning human rights violations related to Israeli settlements in the OPT...Business enterprises doing business, or seeking to do business, in or connected to the Israeli settlements in the OPT need to be able to demonstrate that they neither support the continuation of an international illegality nor are complicit in human rights abuses; that they can effectively prevent or mitigate human rights risks; and are able to account for their efforts in this regard including, where necessary, by terminating their business interests or activities. Failure to undertake effective human rights due diligence can lead to adverse human rights impacts or to complicity in abuses committed by other actors. Where a business enterprise finds that it causes or contributes to, or that it may cause or contribute to an adverse human rights impact, it should take the necessary steps to end or prevent such impact and use its leverage to mitigate any remaining impact by other parties involved, including parties with which it has a business relationship, such as a supplies and subcontractors...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. States may also consider additional measures. Businesses that have activities or business relationships in or connected with the settlements in the OPT should be cognizant of the risks of negative human rights impacts that any such activities would entail. In exercising due diligence, enterprises should familiarise themselves with available information on the human rights impacts of Israeli settlements in the OPT and on the existence or absence of measures taken by Israel as the occupying power to effectively protect against such impacts. Business enterprises must also actively avoid complicity in human rights violation by carefully considering how their activities might contribute to adverse human rights impacts caused by other parties, including their 'suppliers' and other 'business relationships'...Where business enterprises identify that they have caused or contributed to adverse human rights impacts through settlement-related activities such as construction or servicing of the settlements, they should provide for or cooperate in their remediation through legitimate processes."

  • The UN Human Rights Council repeats the demand that UN bodies ensure compliance with the Guiding Principles on business and human rights as applied to "business activities connected with Israeli settlements."

    UN Human Rights Council Resolution, A/HRC/RES/25/28, "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan," adopted March 28, 2014

    "The Human Rights Council,
    ...
    11. Urges all States:

    (a) To ensure that they are not taking actions that assist the expansion of settlements or construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

    (b) To implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, to take appropriate measures to encourage businesses domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, and to refrain from committing or contributing to gross human rights abuses of Palestinians, in accordance with the expected standard of conduct in the Guiding Principles and relevant international laws and standards;

    (c) To provide information to individuals and businesses on the financial, reputational and legal risks, as well as the possible abuses of the rights of individuals, of becoming involved in settlement-related activities, including economic and financial activities, the provision of services in settlements and the purchasing of property;..."

    46 in favor, 1 against (United States), 0 abstentions

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council which includes a compilation of UN action to attack business enterprises "that conduct activities related to the settlements" and requests that the "Working Group on Business and Human Rights be seized of this matter."

    Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/25/39, "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)," January 10, 2014

    "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."

  • The UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories recommends an investigation of business activities that profit from Israeli settlements of Israel, and also recommends that Member States ban the import of settlement products.

    Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, A/HRC/25/67, January 13, 2014

    "81. In this, his final report, the Special Rapporteur takes the opportunity to reiterate some past recommendations and add several new ones, namely that:
    ...
    (d) The international community comprehensively investigate the business activities of companies and financial institutions registered in their own respective countries, which profit from the settlements of Israel and other unlawful Israeli activities, and take appropriate action to end such practices and ensure appropriate reparation for affected Palestinians. Member States should consider imposing a ban on imports of settlement produce;"