70 french organizations, associations, parties and unions have published a call to AXA to respect international law and cut ties with Israel’s colonial and apartheid policy.
AXA must comply with international law and break with Israel’s colonial, apartheid policy!
Article 4.1 of AXA’s Professional Code of Ethics, adopted in 2011, commits to respecting the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and concerns human rights, labor, the environment and the fight against corruption. In particular, it states that “companies should promote and respect internationally recognized human rights and should not be complicit in violations of fundamental rights.’’
In its June 2014 “recommendations’’ to French companies, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that any “economic activity which takes place within Israeli settlements, or that benefits the settlements, carries legal and economic risks given that Israeli colonies are, according to international law, built on occupied land and are not recognized as part of Israel’s territory. Activity linked to the purchase of or investment in land, water, and mineral or other natural resources is likely to result in legal action, as well as reputational risk.”
The United Nation’s guiding principles for businesses and human rights requires companies across the globe to exercise due diligence in limiting the potential negative impacts of their activities on human rights. These principles apply to businesses and financial institutions, and their supply chains, located anywhere in the world.
AXA’s commitment to respecting the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact rings hollow as long as it continues to profit from the oppression of the Palestinian people and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands.
– AXA is a shareholder of three Israeli banks, Hapaolim, Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, involved with settler colonization. A report by the Israeli research centre, Who Profits, documented that all Israeli banks are involved in providing financial infrastructure for all the activities companies, Israeli governmental agencies and individuals linked to the continuation of the occupation.
– Elbit produces 85% of drones used by the Israeli military. In fact, Elbit markets its equipment by emphasizing that they have been “field tested”, in other words they are tested on Palestinian bodies. Elbit’s Hermes drones and the 7.5 Skylark mini-drone were used during Israel’s successive attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. A United Nation report into Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, where more than 2,191 Palestinian civilians were killed, suggests that Israel’ actions could amount to war crimes under international law.
- Elbit supplies electronic equipment for the apartheid Wall in the occupied West Bank, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
- Elbit manufactures white phosphorous, and is accused of having used it against the civilian population of Gaza.
By investing in these companies and banks AXA is complicit in perpetuating decades of Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law, in direct contradiction with its own guidelines and international directives.
The response by AXA’s president, at its latest Shareholders’ Meeting, was to affirm that Elbit Systems “does not fall within the framework of its exclusion policy for responsible investments.”
It is important to recall that companies such as Veolia and Orange were forced to abandon their involvement in Israeli settler colonization due to international citizen pressure. At the same time, pension funds such as PGGM in the Netherlands, FDC in Luxembourg and Danske in Denmark have divested from Israeli banks on account of their support for Israeli settlements. In 2009 the Norwegian pension fund divested from Elbit systems due to the company’s involvement in Israel’s apartheid Wall.
For all of the above stated reasons, we call on AXA to divest from any involvement and activity that legitimizes the violations of international law perpetrated by the state of Israel.
List of signatories :
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