Volvo Group equipment used to demolish homes in occupied East Jerusalem, allegedly leaving 6 children homeless - Volvo Group responds

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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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Company non-response
21 December 2011

Hyundai Heavy Industries did not respond to: Use of company’s equipment in demolitions of homes.

Company response
13 December 2011

Volvo Group response re alleged complicity in human rights abuses in Israel & Occupied Territories

Author: Volvo Group

The Volvo Group’s vehicles and machines are sold openly throughout the world and contribute to developing communities and creating prosperity: our construction equipment, buses, trucks and engines are used to build roads, produce electricity, irrigate harvests, transport people and goods. But just as an excavator can be used to lay the foundations of a building, it can also be used for the opposite. We regret if they are used for destructive purposes, but it does not stop us from believing that our excavators and vehicles largely play a part in making the world a little better...We understand your reaction to these pictures but Volvo neither can nor wants to take a position in international conflicts. We regard these as issues for elected politicians and diplomats to handle. What we can do is to comply with any political decisions, such as UN recommendations, in terms of blockades or trade embargoes – something we always do. As a result of this, we do not adopt a position in the Middle East conflict. We do not cooperate with the Palestinian or the Israeli authorities and naturally, as a company, we are not directly involved in the activities that you have described.

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Article
3 December 2011

Home demolitions in Beit Hanina executed with Volvo and Hyundai equipment [Israel & the Occupied Territories]

Author: Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada

On 24 November, Israeli forces protected the Volvo and Hyundai equipment that was used to demolish three homes in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem...The destructive action left twenty people homeless, including six children....The impact of home demotions on children has been researched by the Palestinian Counseling Centre, Save the Children and the Welfare Association...Volvo has refused to take responsibility for the destructive use of its products by the Israeli forces...Volvo is a participant in the UN Global Compact...Participants in the Global Compact are supposed to be committed to supporting and respecting the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence, and to ensuring that they are not complicit in human rights abuses...If Volvo lived up to its expressed commitment to human rights, the company would have tried to stop the use of its equipment in the Israeli destruction of Palestinian property.[also refers to Tadano. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Hyundai Heavy Industries to respond, but it did not respond.]

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