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UN Human Rights Council delays release of blacklisted firms in Jerusalem, West Bank

The move by High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet came amid outside pressure, including from NGO Monitor, which tracks nongovernmental organizations and how they view Israel.

Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, the meeting room of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Credit: Ludovic Courtès via Wikimedia Commons.
Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, the meeting room of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Credit: Ludovic Courtès via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has delayed the release of a blacklist of firms operating in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The move by High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, citing the “complexity” of the job mandated in 2016 by the UNHRC, came amid outside pressure, including from NGO Monitor, which tracks nongovernmental organizations and how they view Israel.

“For more than a two years, NGO Monitor has repeatedly warned that there are significant moral, legal and due process concerns with the creation of a U.N. blacklist of companies,” said Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s legal adviser and U.N. expert. “The High Commissioner’s letter, as well as past U.N. reports, acknowledge the centrality of these issues.”

“BDS NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Al-Haq, have been advocating for this discriminatory blacklist for many years to advance a BDS agenda,” she continued. “However, the blacklist is an act of economic warfare against Israel and its allies, and does nothing to further human rights. The U.N. should not devote further resources to this charade.”

Although the World Jewish Congress applauded the development, it called for the initiative to be scrapped altogether.

“While we appreciate her stance that time is needed to fully consider the input submitted and ensure that due process is respected, we underscore our position that this publication should not only be postponed, but canceled in its entirety,” said WJC CEO and executive vice president Robert Singer.

The delay of the blacklist on Tuesday was not the UNHRC’s first. It was first delayed in February 2017 and again in January 2018.

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