United Nations Human Rights Council – 43rd Session
Joint Oral Intervention – Item 7: General Debate
15 June 2020
Let me begin by commending the High Commissioner and her office for the initial release of the report on the database of businesses involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, despite undue political pressure on her office to suppress this important tool.
The database represents a historic touchstone and important precedent in broader efforts to ensure corporate accountability, including in the areas of environmental rights and violations of international humanitarian law. In line with HRC resolution 31/36, we urge the OHCHR to ensure that the database is updated annually and made publicly accessible until illegal settlements are dismantled, Israel's prolonged military occupation comes to an end, and the Palestinian people are able to fully exercise their right to self-determination, including sovereignty over their natural resources.
As states present today are struggling with the current pandemic sweeping the globe, the government of Israel continues to exploit an occupied population and its resources, in part to blunt the impact of the virus to their economy.
Such a blatant case of illegal colonial exploitation being treated as “business as usual” deeply undermines international order based on the rule of law. The progress made over the years in the development of international humanitarian law and the eradication of colonialism, will continue to be threatened so long as Israel is able to continue to exploit occupied territory and its civilian population as a “business venture.”
As such, support by UN member states in the development and updating of the database, including by ensuring the allocation of sufficient resources to carry out this work, will play an important role in challenging Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territory and in preserving the integrity of the rule of law over corporate profit.