Reaction: UN report on complicity of 206 corporations in Israel’s violation of international law

1 February 2018 - 11:15am
Press release

Responding to a new report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, indicating corporate complicity in illegal Israeli settlements, Ryvka Barnard, War on Want Senior Campaigner said:

"Israel’s oppression of Palestinians depends on a chain of complicity that includes corporations around the world. Arms companies like BAE Systems sell weapons to Israel used in deadly attacks on Palestinians. JCB and Caterpillar sell equipment to the Israeli military used to demolish Palestinian homes. HSBC provides financial services and loans to these companies and others.

All of these companies, and many more, are guilty of shirking their obligations under international law to respect human rights.

We welcome the UN Human Rights Commission report detailing the disturbing picture of corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of international law. We particularly welcome its emphasis on holding the companies to account, and the role that states are obligated to play in doing so.

While the comprehensive list of 206 companies investigated by the UN has not yet been released, we have no doubt that some of them will be UK-based.

The UK government has an action plan on business and human rights, setting out clear expectations on UK companies to protect human rights, but the policy is almost never enforced. In fact, more often than not, it seems that the UK government continues to award government contracts to companies known to be complicit in abuse, like the private security firm G4S.

We join Palestinian human rights organisations in calling for the full list of complicit companies to be published in a timely manner, and for the UK government to take an active role in ensuring that it will be, in order to take action to end UK complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights."

- Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigns Officer (Militarism & Security), War on Want

Press Contact

Ryvka Barnard
rbarnard@waronwant.org
07983 550 728

Notes to Editors

About War on Want

War on Want is a charitable membership organisation of people who are committed to social justice. War on Want’s vision is a world free from poverty and oppression, based on social justice, equality and human rights for all. War on Want works in partnership with grassroots social movements, trade unions and workers’ organisations to empower people to fight for their rights. It runs hard-hitting popular campaigns against the root causes of poverty and human rights violations.

About Our Spokespeople

Ryvka campaigns against human rights abuses associated with the growing power of the military and security industry, with a special focus on the UK-Israel arms trade. She speaks and writes prolifically on the global grassroots movement for Palestinian rights. Ryvka has a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University.

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