The Ramallah-based Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq, yesterday received the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award, presented by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), for its outstanding work in the field of corporate accountability for human rights and international law violations in the occupied Palestinian territory, an Al-Haq press release said today.
Al-Haq’s co-laureate, Alejandra Gonza from Global Rights Advocacy, a lawyer and professor of law in the United States, was also recognized for her advocacy efforts against human rights violations, and her true dedication to ensuring that companies are held accountable for their human rights violations, added the press release.
In his speech during the award ceremony, Shawan Jabarin, Al-Haq’s General Director, affirmed that: “corporations have historically been used to achieve colonial conquest, but what makes Israel’s actions unique, is that it has made its conquest multinational in nature with corporations from around the world participating.”
Al-Haq dedicates part of its efforts to challenge the Israeli colonial policies by trying to hold multinational companies accountable for their human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Most recently, Al-Haq has worked to hold JCB, a British multinational company that produces heavy construction machinery, and HeidelbergCement, a German multinational company that produces building materials, accountable for their complicity in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws.
JCB heavy machinery is used in the destruction of Palestinian property that is not justified by military necessity and HeidelbergCement is involved in the pillaging of Palestinian natural resources from the “Nahal Raba” quarry in the occupied West Bank.
Furthermore, Al-Haq has diligently advocated for the establishment of the UN database of businesses involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, utilizing different possible avenues to do so, including the Human Rights Council.
Al-Haq reiterated its gratitude to ICAR and expressed its pride to have been named a co-recipient of Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award, recognizing the importance of this award, especially as it represents a continuation of the legacy of Professor Skinner. She was also a prominent human rights defender, a mentor and critical thinker, who was instrumental in bringing the Corrie vs Caterpillar case in the US, and worked as a law professor at Willamette University and a consultant at the ICAR for more than six years, which put her on the front lines of corporate accountability defenders.