31 October 2013
UN Special Rapporteur: complicity of companies with housing settlements in occupied Palestinian territory can lead to liability
In a news conference at the United Nations headquarters, Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said that financial institutions and real estate companies involved with housing settlements in occupied Palestinian territory – which are considered illegal under according to the Fourth Geneva Convention – may be held criminally accountable.
The Special Rapporteur commented on his report that he presented to the UN General Assembly on 10 September 2013. This report focused on businesses profiting from Israeli settlements, with reference to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It contains a model for legal analysis to assess the probability of liability, including international criminal liability, for corporate complicity in breaches of international law related to illegal settlements.
At the news conference Falk said ‘I strongly encourage all business to use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as a guide for how to conduct their business, and to exercise due diligence to ensure they do not contribute to human rights violations and abuse, and in order to avoid responsibility for complicity in breaches of international law.’