Report criticizes company over alleged complicity in Israel's demolitions of Palestinians' houses.

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Company response
23 January 2012

Caterpillar response re alleged complicity in human rights abuses in Israel & the Occupied Territories

Author: Caterpillar

Caterpillar...appreciates the concerns raised over unrest in the Middle East. We have compassion for all persons affected by the political strife in the Middle East and support a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Caterpillar’s products are designed to improve quality of life...[W]e do not condone the illegal or immoral use of any Caterpillar equipment, and consistent with Caterpillar’s Worldwide Code of Conduct, we expect our customers to use our products in environmentally responsible ways and consistent with human rights and the requirements of international humanitarian law. Further complicating the Middle East situation, Caterpillar and its related companies are subject to strict anti-boycott requirements under two U.S. laws – the Tax Reform Act of 1976 and the Export Administration Act. These laws are intended to stop U.S. and U.S. related companies from supporting or participating in boycotts not sanctioned by the U.S. government. Penalties for violations of the U.S. anti-boycott laws can be severe - they may include significant civil and criminal penalties and prohibitions on future exporting privileges and denial of tax benefits.

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12 January 2012

Volvo misses the mark on responsibility for the protection of human rights [Israel/Occupied Territories]

Author: Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada

In December I wrote about the use of Volvo and Hyundai equipment in the demolition of Palestinian homes in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem...Volvo wrote, “We understand your reaction to these pictures but...[w]e regard these as issues for elected politicians and diplomats to handle...[W]e do not adopt a position in the Middle East conflict.” Volvo Group misses the mark when it argues that protection of the human rights of the Palestinian people is a matter for politicians, because multinational enterprises have their own responsibility to protect human rights...[T]he OECD updated its Guidelines...aimed at ensuring that firms respect human rights in every country in which they operate. These Guidelines are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries...[T]he UN Human Rights Council has endorsed a new set of global guiding principles for business designed to ensure that companies do not violate human rights in the course of their transactions...Demolitions with Volvo and Caterpillar equipment continue. [Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Caterpillar to respond. Caterpillar response is below]

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