SOMO and its partner organisation Al-Haq have submitted a report to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, suggesting to include German multinational HeidelbergCement in the yearly update of the UN Database of companies with business activities related to illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The initial release of the database earlier this year marked a significant milestone in the pursuit of accountability for corporate involvement in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise. This milestone would not have been achieved without the resilient efforts of the High Commissioner and her office, as well as supporting States and members of civil society. Despite some initial confusion, the subsequent statements of support by numerous Member States of the Human Rights Council (HRC) have not only reinforced the importance of the annual updates, but also reaffirmed their expectations of receiving such updates based on the original mandate created under HRC Resolution 31/36.
As civil society representatives, Al-Haq and SOMO consider it their responsibility to support the office in the implementation of the mandate by continuing to provide information regarding the involvement of businesses in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.
The report submitted today documents the direct and indirect implications of HeidelbergCement’s operations in the Nahal Raba stone quarry through its subsidiary, Hanson Israel. The extraction of Palestinian natural resources, namely stone, has taken place in a context of deliberate institutional policies aimed towards the confiscation and exploitation of Palestinian land and resources by Israel, the Occupying Power, while also providing construction materials used to establish and expand illegal Israeli settlements.
SOMO and Al-Haq expect that the annual update will continue to develop to include all businesses playing a role in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, including HeidelbergCement, as a means to challenge the economic incentive structure perpetuating the occupation and the continued denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and to permanent sovereignty over natural resources. This submission will be followed by others and we call on all stakeholders to continue to support OHCHR in the effective implementation of all of its mandates.
Mind the Gap
The report on HeidelbergCement is part of ‘Mind the Gap’, a four-year project involving civil society organisations from 9 countries across the globe, coordinated by SOMO. The overall aim of the project is to increase respect for human rights and effective access to justice and remedy for individuals and communities whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by multinationals.