UN Database on Businesses Operating in Israeli Settlements Should be Published

We, the undersigned organizations from the Asian region, call on UN Secretary General António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein, and member States of the UN to ensure the publication and annual update of the database established under UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 31/36.

In March 2016, the HRC adopted resolution 31/36, urging all states to ‘implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’, and requesting the High Commissioner to produce a database of all business enterprises that ‘directly and indirectly enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements’. Such business activities include, inter alia, the supply of equipment, services (including security and transport services), banking and financial operations, and ‘the use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes’. The activities need not necessarily be geographically connected with the settlements.

On 26 January 2018, the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) published a report (A/HRC/37/39) pursuant to this resolution, stating that the Office had conducted a preliminary screening of companies alleged to fall under the terms of the Resolution, and was in the midst of contacting companies that it believed warranted further research. The information provided by OHCHR indicates that the majority of companies OHCHR had identified were located in Israel, the United States, or European countries. Nevertheless, we note with concern that three companies from the Republic of Korea, two from Japan, and one from Singapore have been listed. A third Japanese company was excluded from further consideration at the preliminary screening stage.

None of the companies have been named, and while the report states that OHCHR ‘expects’ (page 8, para. 26) to provide the names of the relevant companies, it has been widely reported that strong pressure is being brought on the High Commissioner by some UN member States not to release company names, and even to discontinue altogether work on the database.

We therefore urge the following:

  • The names of all companies identified by OHCHR, including those that have been excluded in the preliminary screening, should be published immediately.
  • OHCHR should continue to work closely with civil society and human rights defenders in full transparency, to ensure completion and continuous update of the database.
  • The UN Secretary General and UN member states should support fully OHCHR in the above, including through the provision of resources as necessary.

April 11, 2018

South Korea
  • Anti-Imperialism and Decolonization Studies in Seoul
  • Anti-War Peace Solidarity in Korea
  • asian dignity initiative
  • Institute for Law and Human Rights in Society (ILHRS)
  • Korea Human Rights Research Center
  • Korean House for International Solidarity
  • NANUMMUNHWA
  • Network for Glocal Activism
  • Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea
  • PEACEMOMO
  • People’s Solidarity for Social Progress
  • Seoul Human Rights Film Festival
  • Solidarity for Another World

Japan

  • Artists Against Occupation
  • Association for support of Al Ahli Arab Hospital
  • ATTAC Kansai
  • BDS japan preparatory committee
  • End the Collaboration to War! Kansai Network
  • Group for Palestine Studies, Osaka
  • Kansai Joint Action
  • Network against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)
  • Palestine Forum Japan
  • Palestine-Sendai Solidarity Group
  • Queering Futu-no-LGBT

Malaysia

  • BDS Malaysia
  • MyCARE
  • Viva Palestina Malaysia
  • MAPIM
  • Harmoni
  • Palestinian Cultural Organization of Malaysia (PCOM)
  • AL QUDS Foundation of Malaysia
  • Muslim Professionals Forum Berhad

Thailand

  • Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Thailand
  • Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) Movement Thailand
  • Islamic Centre, Siam Technology College Thailand

India

  • India Palestine Solidarity Forum
  • All India Peace and Solidarity Organization
  • Badayl, Goa
  • Delhi Queerfest
  • National Dalit Christian Watch- New Delhi
  • Housing and Land Rights Network India

Pakistan

  • Palestine Foundation Pakistan (with all political and religious parties including civil society attached to the Organisation)

 

For any inquiries, please contact Palestine Forum Japan:
takahashi.borderline[at]gmail.com (Saul Takahashi) or
yoshihiro.yakushige[at]gmail.com (Yoshihiro Yakushige)

Korean: http://pal.or.kr/wp/?p=752

Japanese: http://palestine-forum.org/doc/2018/04-un_db.html

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Boycott Hyundai to end its involvement in Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in Jerusalem and the Naqab

We, Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea strongly support for this call from BDS48. Our actions will be followed later this month with other human rights groups in South Korea.


Haifa, 7 February 2017

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Committee of Palestinian Citizens of Israel (BDS48) calls upon our Palestinian people in the homeland and the Diaspora, the peoples of the Arab world, and people of conscience worldwide to boycott and divest from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), until it ends its involvement in Israel’s violations of our human rights, particularly in Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev).

BDS48 is launching this boycott campaign at this particular moment in light of the extensive use of Hyundai equipment by the Israeli authorities in the recent demolitions of many homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab, on 18 January 2017, and in Qalansawa, further north, on 10 January 2017. According to Arabic media reports, the Israeli authorities are planning a second wave of home demolitions in Umm al-Hiran in the coming few days.

Despite being faced with documented evidence of its persistent complicity in Israeli ethnic cleansing policies against Palestinians and Syrians in the territories occupied since 1967, Hyundai has failed to stop its business-as-usual involvement. It has thus forfeited its responsibilities as stated in the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

In Umm al-Hiran, Israeli armed forces destroyed many homes in the village, forcibly removing its Bedouin Palestinian population for the second time since the 1948 Nakba, injuring tens of peaceful protestors, and murdering the educator Yaquob Abu al-Qiyan in cold blood. The objective of this bloody conquest is to establish a Jewish-only colony on the ethnically cleansed village’s lands.

This latest crime by Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid comes as part of its ongoing policy of gradual ethnic cleansing since 1948 and that has led to the forcible displacement of most of the indigenous Palestinian people from our ancestral land. Israel today has more than 60 racist laws that legalize and institutionalize its special form of apartheid against its indigenous Palestinian citizens.

Inspired by the massive global solidarity movement that helped to end apartheid in South Africa, and stemming from the moral responsibility that falls on the shoulders of citizens and institutions everywhere to end any involvement in human rights violations, we, as Palestinian human rights defenders in Israel, call on:

  • People of conscience around the world to boycott Hyundai products;
  • Institutions, investment funds and churches to divest from Hyundai and local councils to exclude the company from public tenders;
  • Hyundai workers and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to stand in solidarity with our peaceful struggle by pressuring the Hyundai management to stop the company’s complicity in Israeli violations of human rights. Our campaign is not intended at all to harm the interests of the company’s workers but to protect the rights of our people as stipulated in international law.

The achievements and impact of the global, Palestinian-led BDS movement for Palestinian rights have grown immensely in recent years, to the extent that Israel has recognized the movement’s “strategic” impact. BDS is today an essential pillar of the nonviolent Palestinian popular struggle for our inalienable rights under international law, most importantly the right to self-determination and the right of our refugees to return to their homes of origin.

Through this campaign to boycott Hyundai and your effective participation in it, we can pressure the company to end its involvement in Israel’s violations of human rights, just as several multinational giants were compelled by effective BDS campaigns to exit the Israeli market.

Veolia was the first to end its complicity in Israel’s human rights violations in 2015, followed by Orange telecommunication, CRH, and most recently G4S, the largest security company in the world, which sold almost all its illegal business in Israel.

Our people have decided to besiege our siege. Our campaign against Hyundai is part of this nonviolent human rights movement that has proven itself to be strategic and effective in isolating Israel’s regime of oppression academically, culturally and economically in order to exercise and protect our right as a people to live on our land in freedom, justice and dignity.

Fact Sheet

Hyundai’s complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights

  1. Hyundai, one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers that specializes in excavation and construction equipment, sells its products to Israel with full knowledge that they are used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, particularly in the occupied-Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Beit Hanina, Surbaher, al-Issawiyya and at-Tur. These Israeli collective punishment measures are part of an ongoing policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid that was compared by a leading UN official to the policies of the defunct South African apartheid regime.
  2. Human rights defenders have documented Israel’s use of Hyundai equipment in the construction of Israel’s illegal settlements, such as Halamish, near Ramallah, and the Barkan industrial zone, in the northern West Bank. This involvement by Hyundai is a flagrant form of complicity in Israel’s settlement policy, which was recently condemned by the UNSC resolution 2334 and which constitutes a war crime according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  3. The human rights organization Adalah has documented the Israeli authorities’ decision in 1956 to allow the establishment of the village, Atir-Umm al-Hiran, to house the Bedouin Palestinians who were forcibly displaced during the 1948 Nakba from their original village, Khirbet Zubaleh. In 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plan to forcibly displace them again from “Umm al-Hiran” to build a Jewish-only colony called Hiran.
  4. In response to the Israeli crime of demolishing Umm al-Hiran, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has called for boycotts and divestment against international corporations that are involved in Israel’s policy of home demolitions and ethnic cleansing, especially Caterpillar, Volvo, Hitachi and Hyundai. It has also called for expelling the Israeli parliament (Knesset) from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) due to its pivotal role in legislating these colonial and apartheid policies.
  5. In 2012, then UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, international law expert Richard Falk, called on the UN General Assembly to endorse a boycott of international corporations that are complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Falk’s list of companies included Caterpillar and Volvo, due to their involvement in the construction of Israeli colonies and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Hyundai is accused of involvement in similar crimes.

Israel: End Administrative Detention Now!

Every year April 17 marks Palestinian Prisoners’ Day in the hope of bringing attention to the plight of the thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails. This year’s focus is on ending the use of administrative detention which is widely regarded as a punitive measure employed by Israel to detain and silence Palestinians. It stands as a huge barrier to any sustainable solution to the question of Palestine and betrays the brutal nature of the Israeli colonial occupation of Palestinian land.

Palestine Peace & Solidarity activist in front of the Israeli Embassy, Seoul on April 16.
Palestine Peace & Solidarity activist in front of the Israeli Embassy, Seoul on April 16.

Since Israel’s occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 an estimated 800,000 Palestinians have been detained under military order. This amounts to some 40 percent of the entire male population of the occupied territories being detained. There were some 4,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons including 169 in administrative detention as of February this year. Most have been forcibly transferred from the occupied Palestinian territories to prisons located in Israel in violation of international law. It is estimated that 204 Palestinian prisoners have died while in Israeli custody since 1967 and human rights organizations have alleged that doctors have at times colluded in torture of those in custody.

The practice of administrative detention is routinely used by Israel to imprison Palestinians –who the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) refers to as “security prisoners” – without charge for up to six months at a time. As detention orders can and often are renewed, detainees can potentially be held indefinitely. The use of administrative detention has been widely condemned by human rights organizations around the world. Essentially, it is a process that denies judicial accountability by preventing access to detainees to proper legal recourse and therefore is an effective way to silence and punish Palestinians in the occupied territories determined to be a “threat” to “public security”.

Israel uses Military Order 1651, the Emergency Powers (Detention) Law and the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law to hold Palestinian administrative detainees in three prisons, two of which are located inside Israel.

Alleging to have been in a perpetual “state of emergency” since 1948, Israel uses administrative detention as a form of collective punishment to arrest and silence Palestinians exercising their basic civil and political rights to criticize the Israeli occupation. Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization Addameer points out that the simple act of holding a Palestinian flag or pouring a cup of coffee to a member of an organization deemed illegal by Israel is possible grounds for one’s arrest under the Israeli military occupation.

PPS activists in front of the Israeli Embassy, Seoul on April 16.
PPS activists in front of the Israeli Embassy, Seoul on April 16.

Detainees are routinely detained without knowledge of the reason for their arrest, which is rarely disclosed by military judges, and a number of their rights are violated once in detention such as having to endure poor prison conditions, inadequate medical care and denial of family visits.

Furthermore, Amnesty International reports that Israel’s use of administrative detention is likely more often than not accompanied by forms of torture or cruel and degrading practices for which Israel has exercised with “complete impunity” for more than a decade. The UN Committee Against Torture reported in 2001 and again in 2009 that the practice of administrative detention itself as used by Israel did not conform to the prohibition against torture which is absolute.

It has also long been well known that the ISA which oversees the prison system used to hold Palestinians routinely employs the practice of torture against detainees. Israeli human rights organization B’tselem lists the specific techniques used by the ISA in interrogations as including sleep deprivation, exposure to loud music and extreme temperatures, placing dirty sacks over interrogees’ heads, forcing interrogees into stress positions, violent shaking and food deprivation – usually used in combination.

Less well known is that Israel runs a secret prison facility known as ‘Camp 1391’ in an undisclosed location 100 kilometers from Jerusalem as revealed in 2002. Unlike Guantanamo Bay, which it is regularly compared to, the International Committee of the Red Cross has not been granted access to this facility to assess the treatment of its prisoners. While there is no way to confirm whether or not this facility remains in use, testimony from former prisoners indicates that torture and physical abuse were commonplace.

Looking at the case of administrative detainee Sameer Issawi throws a lot of this into relief. Having been arrested for the first time at age 17, he was arrested again during the second intifada and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. After being released 10 years later in the 2011 prisoner swap negotiated between Israel and Hamas in which 1,027 Palestinians prisoners and detainees were exchanged for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, he found himself rearrested by the IDF on July 7 of 2012 for supposedly violating the terms of his release. He is one of the many prisoners released in the prisoner swap who have since been since rearrested under questionable circumstances.

With one brother already killed by the IDF in 1994 at the age of 16, Assawi’s remaining five siblings have served prison terms including one brother who is currently serving his nineteenth year. His family members including his elderly mother face constant harassment. To protest his arrest he has been on hunger strike since August of 2012 and is apparently very close to losing his life.

While the hunger strike has consistently proven to be a useful strategy for detainees to bring international attention to their case and in pressuring the Israeli authorities into making a deal for their release, it can also lead to further deprivation and punishment at the hands of the prison authorities who sometimes place them in solitary confinement, deny family visitation rights and slap fines on them.

But it is a powerful act of defiance for those with few options left like Assawi. It was recently reported that his whole village has joined a hunger strike in solidarity with him. Last year’s Prisoners’ Day was marked by some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners launching a hunger strike in Israeli jails.

This Prisoners’ Day it is time for the international community to call for an end to the practice of administrative detention by Israel and to demand the release all of those like Sameer Assawi who are not formally charged and given a fair trial. Putting an end to this reprehensible practice will constitute a small but important step towards achieving justice for those living under Israeli military occupation.