LONDON, Saturday, March 18, 2023 (WAFA) – Hyundai Construction Equipment (Hyundai CE) must take immediate action to prevent its products’ involvement in demolitions in Masafer Yatta region, south of the occupied West Bank, Amnesty International said in a recent report.
The organization documented five instances where Israeli occupation forces used excavators manufactured by Hyundai CE to raze Palestinian property in Masafer Yatta, an area of the occupied West Bank where some 1,150 Palestinians are at imminent risk of forcible transfer. The demolitions in question displaced at least 15 Palestinians, including six children, and constitute war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Amnesty International said it wrote to Hyundai CE with its findings, and asked it to explain what human rights due diligence procedures it had undertaken to prevent its products being used by Israeli forces to commit violations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
According to the organization, Hyundai CE stated that it was not “engaged in Israeli settlement activities”, but did not provide details on due diligence, nor did the company address Amnesty International’s concerns about the Israeli military’s use of Hyundai CE products to carry out demolitions in Masafer Yatta. Amnesty International also wrote to EFCO Ltd (EFCO), Hyundai CE’s sole distributor in Israel, but at time of publication had received no response.
“Palestinians in Masafer Yatta are living in a state of constant dread – watching the horizon for the arrival of Israeli forces, and the excavators which mean the end of life as they know it. Some residents have already seen the Israeli military use excavators to demolish the homes of their neighbours and rip out essential village infrastructure – excavators which bore Hyundai’s logo,” said Mark Dummett, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
“Hyundai CE must act urgently to end its products’ involvement in forcible transfer and unlawful home demolitions. These violations help maintain Israel’s apartheid system and are crimes under international law – no business should be linked to or benefiting from them. We are calling on Hyundai CE to cut ties with its Israeli distributor EFCO, until EFCO has taken concrete steps to ensure Hyundai CE products are not being used to commit human rights violations.”
According to Amnesty International, Hyundai CE has failed to conduct proper human rights due diligence on its business operations in Israel.
Amnesty International called on Hyundai CE to suspend distribution of its products in Israel through EFCO, until the latter commits to conducting human rights due diligence, and until it ensures that end users do not employ Hyundai CE machinery for unlawful activities.