Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the adoption by the UN of the Human Rights Council resolution calling for annual updating of the UN database of companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements.
This includes removing companies that have ceased activities in the illegal settlements from the database, and adding the names of businesses that have commenced operations within settlements.
The UN database was set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2020 following a UN resolution in 2016.
The Wicklow TD added the resolution has completely undermined government attempts to scupper the Illegal Israeli Settlement Divestment legislation through delaying tactics based on disingenuous opposition to the UN database.
Teachta Brady said:
“The international community must now fully support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to fulfil and implement the provisions of this resolution, and to provide the necessary information about companies that insist on violating international law.
“States must adopt laws and legislation to hold such companies and individuals accountable as violators of human rights and the rights of the Palestinian people.
“In May, Sinn Féin brought forward legislation in the Dáil at second stage designed to compel the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which manages investment of Irish taxpayer funds, to divest its investments in companies contained in the database, and which in effect make the Irish taxpayer complicit in war crimes under international law.
“Rather than support the Sinn Féin Bill, the government instead brought forward an amendment in an attempt to kick the Divestment Bill down the road for nine months, to allow for a review of the legislation to take place as the government did not view the database as a live document, arguing that it was not capable of being updated.
“Shamefully, the government is guilty of adopting the same arguments as the Israeli government has in the past, in a clear attempt to undermine a comprehensive ongoing project to establish, maintain and continually update the UN Database.
“Since then, continuing engagement and dialogue between the UN and business entities on the database has led to the removal of 15 business enterprises from the database as they were either no longer involved in activities in occupied Palestinian territories or were in the process of ceasing their involvement.
“Of the 15 business entities removed, one, General Mills, was on the original list of business entities which the ISIF had invested in. The ISIF remains invested in eight business entities impacted by the legislation.
“The fact that the UN has now gone a step further and adopted a resolution calling for annual updating of the UN database, including removing companies that have ceased activities in the illegal settlements and adding businesses which have commenced operations within the settlements, makes the government position even more hypocritical and untenable.
“We are now in the position where not only does the government have no option but to abandon its pretences for delaying the Illegal Israeli Settlement Divestment Bill, but they must also rigorously advocate for the European Union to introduce similar legislation.”