Ireland is wholly opposed to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, which are contrary to international law, and is committed to upholding relevant UN Security Resolutions on settlements. It is critical however that action against settlements must be both lawful and well-considered, since actions which are not fully thought-through risk ultimately being unwound, thereby undermining the cause they aim to support.
In March 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 31/36, calling upon the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a database of all business enterprises involved in activities relating to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
The terms of the Resolution as adopted by the UN Human Rights Council were very broad, with the associated risk that this could potentially lead to unfair and counter-productive outcomes. The EU Members of the HRC therefore abstained in the vote on the Resolution. Despite these reservations, Ireland fully cooperated with requests for assistance by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the task they had been assigned.
Ireland has always sought to protect the independence of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and notes the High Commissioner’s commitment to discharge the mandate of the HRC Resolution 31/36 in a legally, factually and methodological sound manner. The database was published by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in February 2020. The Human Rights Council did not specify implications for entities listed in the database or put forward recommendations on how the information therein be used. In her report to the Human Rights Council’s 46th Session, the High Commissioner reported that it was not possible for her Office to update the database on an annual basis due to the substantial resource implications.