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INDUSTRIAL | Manufacturing / Industrial Equipment & Component Manufacturing
comasco.co.il

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About Comasco

Comasco provides different models of mechanical engineering equipment to its customers and contractors. The company is based in Tzur Yigal, Israel.

Comasco Headquarter Location

Mitzpe Sapir Industrial Area1 Tzur Street

Tzur Yigal, 4486200,

Israel

Latest Comasco News

JCB failed to do human rights checks over destruction of Palestinian homes

Nov 12, 2021

UK government watchdog finds lack of due diligence over potential use of equipment in occupied territories The watchdog said JCB ‘did not take any steps to conduct human rights due diligence of any kind’. Photograph: Martyn Goddard/Alamy The watchdog said JCB ‘did not take any steps to conduct human rights due diligence of any kind’. Photograph: Martyn Goddard/Alamy Last modified on Fri 12 Nov 2021 09.31 EST JCB, the British tractor firm, has been found by a UK government watchdog to have failed to carry out due diligence human rights checks over the potential use of its equipment to demolish homes in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT). The watchdog ruled: “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.” But the watchdog dismissed claims that JCB failed to use its leverage to persuade its exclusive Israeli distributor, Comasco, not to allow its equipment to be used to bulldoze homes. It said there was no conclusive evidence that the JCB equipment used in the bulldozing had been supplied by the distributor, or how JCB could influence the distributor. The findings were published by the UK National Contact Point (UK NCP), which is charged with assessing whether firms are meeting OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises on human rights. The UK NCP is staffed by officials from the Department for International Trade, and is independent of the OECD. The case marks an interesting test of the human rights duties of UK firms. It was brought by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights in December 2019 so has taken nearly two years to reach a judgment point. The lawyers claim they have a record of JCB products being involved in “at least 60 out of the 266 demolitions” in one year. In its ruling, the UK NCP said: “The scale of alleged adverse human rights impact and the evidence of JCB products used in demolition of houses in OPT are sufficient reasons to carry out an assessment of actual and potential human rights risks and impacts, even if JCB believed that those human rights impacts cannot be linked to the company.” The UK NCP said JCB should “carry out human rights due diligence to assess actual and potential human rights impacts”. It also urged 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. This process should go beyond simply identifying and managing material risks to the enterprise. As the human rights risks may change over time, due diligence should be a regular, ongoing exercise, which should be part of JCB’s policy statement on human rights.” It also called for a human rights policy to drawn up by the firm. The Foreign Office, consulted by the UK NCP, has frequently said demolitions amount to a breach of international humanitarian law in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. At issue in the case is a dispute about the extent of the obligations that the OECD guidelines place on firms to ensure their products are not used in breach of international humanitarian law. JCB argued that Comasco was not the only supplier of JCB excavators and it did not have any direct management or financial control over the firm. It told the inquiry that the machines could have been “purchased secondhand from sellers within Israel, from neighbouring countries via the internet or international auctions or brought in by sea”. The inquiry accepted that the products could have been secondhand, and due to the complex supply chain, JCB could not directly influence their use. But it urged JCB “to engage with companies with whom it has a business relationship on their human rights policies, uncover any potential human rights issues and ensure there is no risk of adverse human rights impacts in its supply chain”. It added: “JCB’s response that as it has no control over its products once they have been sold to Comasco and that they are not responsible for the adverse human rights impact caused by their products does not reflect the spirit of the OECD guidelines on responsible business conduct.” The report pointed out that since February 2020, JCB had been aware of the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights’ database, which has put JCB on the list of business enterprises involved in listed activities in the occupied Palestinian territories that may have “raised particular human rights impacts”. JCB says it is challenging its inclusion on that list. JCB said” We are very pleased that the UK NCP has firmly rejected the various allegations made by the Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights that JCB either contributes to, is responsible for, or is otherwise linked in any way to adverse human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, either directly or indirectly, and/or that JCB has failed to mitigate or prevent such adverse human rights impacts. In particular, the NCP conclusively found that the alleged human rights impacts cannot be linked to JCB’s business operations or contractual arrangements. The process has now concluded.” The firm said it welcomed and would consider the NCP recommendation that JCB regularly conducts human rights due diligence and prepares a separate policy affirming its commitment to human rights. The director of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, Tareq Shrourou, said: “JCB’s board of directors and senior management must consider the real-life repercussions of its noncompliance with core human rights provisions of the OECD guidelines. A 14-year-old Palestinian girl told Save the Children in a vivid quote: ‘My old home was a dream come true as I always dreamt of living in a house with my own bedroom. But this dream was shattered the day that the yellow bulldozers arrived. I see [those bulldozers] in my nightmares. I felt like all hope went down with my home.’” The UK NCP says it will seek an update from both sides in a year’s time to see how its recommendations have been followed. Topics

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