NGOs defend database on business and human rights in Palestine

The list published by the UN aims to increase transparency on the activities of corporations

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched a database in December 2017 that lists companies that have directly or indirectly enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Several civil society organizations have expressed their support for the list.

The more than fifty organizations that signed a joint statement in the UN Human Rights Council believe it is important to ensure that the database remains dynamic and they called on the OHCHR and Member States for it to be regularly updated in consultation with civil society.

“The database is a much-needed initiative which could facilitate States’ regulation of business conduct in the OPT, where hundreds of Israeli and foreign businesses participate in, contribute to or profit from abuses and violations of human rights of Palestinians,” defended the organizations.

They believe that the database has the potential to create a degree of transparency in relation to companies and their products, which would be beneficial for transnational investors and consumers. The organizations also pointed out that the mechanism would alert companies to the consequences of conducting business activities in a settlement and could provide guidance on the measures they should adopt to comply with their responsibility to respect human rights.

The statement was signed by Conectas and another 52 organizations, including Amnesty International, CIVICUS and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

Read the statement in full here.

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