NGO files OECD complaint against British excavation giant JCB over 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.

In December 2019, LPHR filed a complaint against JCB with the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The complaint alleges that between 2016 and 2019, JCB products were used in "incidents in ten villages or areas in the occupied Palestinian territory" in which 89 homes were demolished and at least 484 individuals displaced.

The complaint calls for JCB to cease business with Comasco, to publish its human rights policy and due diligence procedures, and to ensure effective access to remedy for impacted individuals.

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11 December 2019

JCB faces human rights complaint over Israeli demolitions of Palestinian properties

Author: Middle East Monitor

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) filed Tuesday “a comprehensive evidence-based human rights complaint” against construction equipment giant JCB...

LPHR lodged the complaint with the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises...

[alleging] that JCB products have been used in incidents in ten villages or areas in the occupied Palestinian territory, [between] 2016 to 2019. 89 homes were demolished...displacing at least 484 individuals...

“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 LPHR]...

“a remediation mechanism should be established to provide adequate remedy for individuals who have suffered damages..."

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10 December 2019

LPHR files OECD Guidelines complaint against JCB for involvement in human rights breaches in the occupied Palestinian territory

Author: Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR)

LPHR has gathered credible, clear and compelling... evidence that substantiates the material and prolific use of JCB products in a number of specific demolition and displacement incidents...

LPHR submits JCB is in breach of five human rights responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines...

LPHR requests three actions for JCB to resolve its involvement in human rights violations...

  1. immediately suspend supply of products to Comasco (an Israeli company which is the exclusive dealer of JCB products in Israel)...
  2. develops and publishes on its website a human rights policy which specifically sets out the due diligence methodology it applies...
  3. agrees to participate with LPHR and other appropriate stakeholders in establishing an effective grievance mechanism to enable remediation.

Download the full document here

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 

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...


Download the full document here