British excavation giant JCB warned about potential violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories

In August 2018, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) raised human rights concerns with JCB regarding its involvement in the imminent demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank. JCB’s products have reportedly already been used to level access roads to the village. According to LPHR, Israel's planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar would lead to the forcible transfer of 181 inhabitants, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The letter further argues that while JCB does not directly supply the Israeli authorities with its products, the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines oblige JCB to: “prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts.” Given JCB’s business relationship with Comasco (it’s distributor in Israel), JCB has a responsibility to prevent human rights abuses linked to entities in its value chain.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited JCB to respond to these allegations, but the company did not respond.

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Company non-response
18 September 2018

JCB did not respond

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited JCB to respond to allegations relating to its involvement in the imminent demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. JCB did not respond 

Article
18 September 2018

LPHR urges JCB to ensure its products are not involved in the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

Author: Tareq Shrourou, Claire Jeffwitz and Natalie Sedacca, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

... Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) is writing to you following the publication of images of a JCB excavator assisting in the levelling of access roads to Khan al-Ahmar on 4 July 2018, a village which the Israeli government is preparing to imminently demolish... United Nations human rights experts have urged the Israeli government not to proceed with this demolition, stating that it would lead to “the eviction of 181 inhabitants and constitutes an involuntary move that would likely amount to forcible transfer”... JCB may be in the process of committing the criminal offence of aiding and abetting the... Israeli authorities in perpetrating the forcible transfer of protected persons which is prohibited by Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This could lead to the criminal liability of individuals within the company... On the basis of the above, we urge you to:

1. immediately implement all necessary measures to bring JCB into transparent compliance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises in regard to the use of JCB products by the Israeli authorities; and

2. take all available steps and use all available leverage to ensure that JCB's products are not used to contribute to the demolition process in Khan al-Ahmar or the prohibited forcible transfer of its residents and that no further equipment is supplied in relation to such purpose...

 

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