What the United Nations called an “independent expert” on Thursday called on the UN General Assembly “as well as civil society” to take action against and boycott Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola.
In a news release emailed by the UN, Richard Falk accused the companies of profiting from the operation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
They “should be boycotted until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” he said.
Falk carries the title of UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Falk also called for UN action and civil boycotts against Veolia Environment of France, G4S of the United Kingdom, the Dexia Group of Belgium, Ahava of Israel, the Volvo Group of Sweden, the Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands, Elbit Systems of Israel, Mehadrin of Israel, Assa Abloy of Sweden, and Cemex of Mexico.
“All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been established in clear violation of international law,” Falk said.
“Israeli settlements control over 40 percent of the West Bank and between 500,000 and 600,000 Israeli citizens are living in Palestinian territory,” he added. “In the last 12 months alone, the settler population has increased by over 15,000 persons.”
Falk claimed the companies are in violation of “international law and standards concerning businesses and human rights, including the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights.”
“The principles outlined in the Global Compact are clear,” Mr. Falk said. “Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.”
“In short, businesses should not breach international humanitarian law provisions. Nor should they be complicit in any breaches. If they do, they may be subject to criminal or civil liability. And this liability can be extended to individual employees of such businesses,” Falk said.
The UN said that “independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not United Nations staff, nor are they paid for their work.”
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