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Rights groups demand UN reveal database of companies involved in Israel settlement activities

More than a hundred organisations have called on the UN to release the database [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 3 September, 2019

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A hundred organisations have called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to release the database of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements.
Over a hundred organisations have called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to release information contained in UN databases revealing companies with business ties to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In the letter, published by the Palestinian organisation Al-Haq, various Palestinian, regional and international organisations expressed deep concern about the delay.

The delay comes more than three years after the Human Rights Council agreed to create the database, and more than two years after the initial release date of March 2017.

The organisations urged Bachelet to issue the database and send it to the Human Rights Council.

If released in the coming weeks, the database can be considered at the next Security Council meeting in September.

The letter noted that no other mandate given to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been subject to such a long delay.

 "The prevailing culture of impunity for Israel's persistent violations of international law and infringements on the rights of the Palestinian people has also allowed business enterprises to contribute to and benefit from the prolonged occupation and gross human rights violations in the OPT," said Al-Haq General Director, Shawan Jabarin.

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The release of the database was postponed in March this year. Bachelet claimed further work was needed due to the "novelty of the mandate and its legal, methodological and factual complexity", Reuters reported.

At that time she said the database would be issued in "coming months".

Israel has slammed the database calling it a "blacklist". 

The issue is highly controversial as companies listed in the database would fall under the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The non-violent BDS movement seeks to end Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and push it to adhere to international law by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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