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JCB faces human rights complaint over Israeli demolitions of Palestinian properties

December 11, 2019 at 10:47 am

Israeli soldiers leave Palestinians homeless as they demolish a 2 storey building with bulldozers in East Jerusalem on 22 July 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) filed Tuesday “a comprehensive evidence-based human rights complaint” against construction equipment giant JCB, citing the company’s involvement “in human rights breaches in the occupied Palestinian territory”.

LPHR lodged the complaint with the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, situated in the Department of International Trade, with the complaint being brought under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

According to LPHR, the complaint is based on “credible, clear and compelling video, photographic and written contemporaneous evidence”, showing the “prolific use of JCB products in a number of specific demolition and displacement incidents, and in settlement-related construction”.

One item of video evidence submitted as part of the complaint, taken on 11 September, 2019, in the southern Hebron Hills region of the occupied West Bank, “shows a JCB vehicle, identifiable as the model 3CX, demolishing structures” likely to be six family homes.

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Overall, the complaint alleges that JCB products have been used in incidents in ten villages or areas in the occupied Palestinian territory, covering a time period of 2016 to 2019. 89 homes were demolished in these incidents, displacing at least 484 individuals.

According to LPHR, JCB is in breach of five human rights responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines, and has requested that the company “immediately suspend supply of products to Comasco (an Israeli company which is the exclusive dealer of JCB products in Israel) that could be identified as being part of the supply chain that results in demolitions or settlement-related construction”.

“JCB’s facilitating of these tightly connected policies and practices that result in human rights violations against Palestinians must cease immediately”, said Tareq Shrourou and Claire Jeffwitz of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights.

“Furthermore, a remediation mechanism should be established to provide adequate remedy for individuals who have suffered damages as a result of JCB’s material contribution to violations”.

“We hope that JCB will do the right thing and shall now take all necessary measures to fully meet its human rights responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises”.

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