JCB excavators used to demolish Palestinian homes
One of Boris Johnson’s biggest donors ,JCB, has been found by the Department of International Trade to be in breach of its human rights obligations when it sells excavators to the Israeli army who use them to demolish Palestinian homes.
Here is a press release from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR):
UK Government body criticises British manufacturer for its inaction and requires it to address human rights impacts
12th November 2021
Today, the British construction equipment company, JCB, has been found by a UK Government body to be in breach of its human rights responsibilities under the government-backed OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The UK National Contact Point (UK NCP), that is part of the Department for International Trade, has found that JCB is critically failing to undertake human rights due diligence and to have a human rights policy, within the context of the frequent use of its heavy machinery products in Israel’s home demolitions and settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The use of JCB’s products – predominantly its “world’s number one backhoe loader” – in carrying out these illegal activities is material and prolific, resulting in serious human rights violations. Palestinian children are particularly affected by the impacts of being rendered homeless and traumatised, as recently documented by Save the Children. This video of a home demolition in the occupied West Bank vividly illustrates the key use of JCB’s products in human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law.
The UK NCP’s examination was initiated by a comprehensive evidence-based OECD complaint submitted by the UK legal charity, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR), in December 2019. We submitted that JCB is failing to take the actions needed to identify, prevent, mitigate and address the material use of its heavy machinery products in serious human rights violations. This has been substantiated during the UK NCP complaint process.
LPHR notes the following points from this process and the UK NCP final decision:
JCB is now on public record in admitting its awareness of the use of its products in demolitions of Palestinian homes and property in the occupied Palestinian territory. (para. 64 of UK NCP decision)
JCB does not have the minimum basics of a human rights due diligence process to identify and address human rights violations within its value chain, nor a human rights policy. This is despite the compelling evidence within LPHR’s complaint in 2019 on specific use of JCB products, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) subsequent listing of JCB on its database of companies with a “clear and direct link” to human rights harms in February 2020.
The UK NCP is clearly concerned and surprised by JCB’s inaction over the known use of its products in demolitions. It states that JCB’s claim that it has “no control over its products… does not reflect the spirit of the OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct”, and that “It is unfortunate that JCB, which is a leading British manufacturer of world-class products, did not take any steps to conduct human rights due diligence of any kind despite being aware of alleged adverse human rights impacts and that its products are potentially contributing to those impacts”.
The UK NCP has placed clear requirements on JCB to act. It states that the “scale of alleged adverse human rights impact and the evidence of JCB products used in demolition of houses” requires JCB to “set out a plan on how it will integrate and act upon the findings of its due diligence – including how impacts will be addressed – if adverse human rights impacts are identified in its supply chain.”The Department of International Trade made it clear that JCB does not have a “direct link” with its Israeli distributor and that it could not “conclusively” prove that the excavators used by the Israeli army were bought from JCB rather than on the second-hand market. PDF version of statement available here
“Conservatives: Who funds them, and what’s in it for them?“
Here is a press release from the BBC dated October 2:
Conservatives: Who funds them, and what’s in it for them? By Chris Mason
Political correspondent, BBC News
Boris Johnson at the wheel of a JCB, a polystyrene wall smashed, his ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan in the mechanical shovel.
JC Bamford Excavators Limited has given just over £2.5m in the last two years. Lord Bamford, the chairman of the family owned company, has personally given £100,000 since 2010, when the Conservatives returned to government. He became a Conservative peer in 2013.
Read full BBC press release
Top ten Conservative Party donorsTotal donations since Boris Johnson became PMJC Bamford Excavators Limited £2,544,734 See more JCB donations