Azzad signs letter endorsing database of business activities in Israeli settlements

Following a decision by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights not to release a UN database cataloging business activities in illegal settlements built in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Azzad has joined a group of more than 90 investors calling on the organization to make the listings public.

Addressed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the letter says in part:

The undersigned organizations commend your Office on the three years of work undertaken to fulfill the mandate outlined by the UN Human Rights Council (‘the Council’) in resolution 31/36 to “produce a database of all business enterprises involved” in Israeli settlements. However, we note with concern the recent media reports indicating your intention to further delay release of the report.

Continued delay in releasing the database would inhibit the Council’s ability to provide transparency to the Palestinian people, all member-states, as well as investors that require authoritative sources of data on which to make sound investment decisions.

The letter goes on to note that the database is essential to understanding the implications of settlement activities on the human rights of Palestinians. It states with concern that “some private entities have enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements, either directly or indirectly.”

The decision by signatories to send the letter to Commissioner Bachelet comes after reports that the Commissioner’s office had withdrawn support for the database, which is intended to show which companies may profit from the occupation of Palestinian land. In addition to serving as a practical tool to end business support for illegal settlements, signatories said that the database will also constitute an important example of a measure for advancing normative clarity around the responsibilities of businesses operating in other areas under occupation.

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