ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies called on United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet to take urgent measures against UAE investments in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.
ImpACT called on Bachelet to consider the consequences of the incentivisation of settlement enterprises. These settlements have caused mass dispossession of Palestinian land and the people’s right to self-determination.
Ottavia Ciani, researcher at ImpACT, said investments surge began following the Abraham agreement between Israel, UAE, and Bahrain on September 15. This will lead to further restrictions on the livelihood of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
UAE investment in commercial projects inside Israeli settlements drive is worrying, Ciani added. These investments only contribute to expanding illegal Israeli settlements, and violate the rights of the Palestinians.
Moreover, when importing goods, the UAE does not distinguish between Israeli products coming from illegal settlements and the mainland.
The settlement products include wine, tahini, olive oil and honey.
This month, Dubai-based FAM Holding signed a deal with companies operating in Israeli settlements to export products to UAE.
The UAE investments include the Abraham Fund to finance Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.
Hence, the UAE will directly participate in violations against Palestinians at checkpoints, including humiliation and systematic attacks.
ImpACT called on both the government and private sector in UAE to stop all their business with companies that operate in or benefit the illegal settlements.
ImpACT appealed to Bachelet to address UAE’s flagrant neglect of its duties towards protecting human rights in its commercial activities.
Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, it is the responsibility of companies to respect human rights.
ImpACT’s letter asked Bachelet to make it clear to the UAE that if states import Israeli products, these business operations must comply with international humanitarian law.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had issued a list of companies and commercial entities engage in commercial activities in settlements.
The move came after a request from Human Rights Council (HRC) calling Human Rights Office to make such database in a March 2016 decision.
In its report, the Human Rights Office identified 112 commercial entities having activities related to settlements.
ImpACT called on the High Commissioner to expand the list periodically to include any other companies investing or supporting institutions operating in settlements.