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Amnesty: Powerful states block data on firms in Israeli illegal settlements

A campaign against Israeli settlement goods [Amnesty UK/Twitter]

A campaign against Israeli settlement goods [Amnesty UK/Twitter]

London (QNN)- Amnesty International called on UN members to pressure towards releasing a database of companies operating and producing products in the illegal Israeli settlements.

The rights organization stressed in a new report issued on Friday that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has repeatedly delayed publication of the database, despite initial plans to release it in March 2017 itself.

Amnesty International accused “certain states” of making pressure to block the release of the data.

“It has become increasingly clear that the delay is in part because certain states are bringing extensive political pressure to bear, not just to put off the database’s release, but to stop it being made public at all,” said the report.

“In other words, some powerful states in the UN are lobbying the High Commissioner to simply ignore the mandate she has been given by the Council, or to interpret the mandate in a way that strains all credibility: either by not mentioning companies’ names or not releasing the database at all.”

In March 2016, the UN Human Rights Council charged the High Commissioner for Human Rights with creating a database to be updated annually of businesses involved in activities that “directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the Israeli settlements” and “raise particular human rights violations concerns”.

Activities include the supply of construction and surveillance equipment; the supply of surveillance, security, banking and financial services; the exploitation of natural resources, and the supply of services and utilities supporting the maintenance and existence of settlements, the report said.

The database is meant to ensure transparency and help businesses and the countries where they are based to ensure they are not committing human rights violations of Palestinians.

Nearly 600,000-750,000 Israeli illegal settlers live in about 150 illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank and the occupied Jerusalem, built on Palestinian land. The occupation state has been supporting construction of illegal settlements as a parts of plans to expand and apply its sovereignty over the whole area.

New data published last week by the Associated Press shows that settlement construction in occupied Jerusalem has spiked since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

The United Nations states that Israeli settlements have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law.