A member of Finland’s parliament has introduced a proposed legislation which seeks to ban the import of goods originating from territories under Israeli occupation.
The proposed act aims to cover all goods imported from “regions where occupying powers practice serious violations of international humanitarian law or human rights agreements.” An example of such violations includes cases where “homes of people living in the region are demolished and the residents deported or forcibly removed to make way for illegal settlements by the occupying power.”
As part of that, it primarily focuses on the occupied Palestinian territories and the Israeli settlements in the West Bank which are illegal under international law. Veronika Honkasalo, the MP who put the proposal forward, stated: “We must stop supporting the illegal Israeli settlements.”
If the proposal passes on to legislation, it could prevent business activities and dealings which enable the continuation of human rights violations and the breaking of international law. A government decree would also result in a list of the regions which fall under the category targeted by the act.The supervision of the import ban would also fall under the responsibility of Finnish Customs, which would make violations of the ban punishable under current regulations on smuggling, petty smuggling, unlawful dealing in imported goods, and petty unlawful dealing in imported goods.
The party’s statement insisted that “Finland stands among the defenders of international law, [and] is committed to the universal values of the United Nations and actively upholds international law, democracy and human rights. It is therefore our duty to stop enabling business activities that provide support for the economies of international law breaching occupying powers from causing or exacerbating human rights violations in the occupied regions.”
It added that Honkasalo will be collecting signatures from other MPs for the proposed law until 1 February 2022, in an effort to attain a majority and have the act passed into law.