Marking the World Day of Social Justice on February 20, a coalition of more than 100 civil society organisations, has launched a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories. Many groups in Ireland are supporting the call for a new EU law to address it.
An ECI is an official instrument for democratic participation of citizens in EU policy making. If an ECI garners one million signatures from EU citizens over 12 months the European Commission must consider and debate the petition’s demands. Campaigners in Ireland are hoping to garner beyond the 10,000 signatures here to meet the requirement.
This ECI demands EU legislation that will outlaw trade with illegal settlements, anywhere and at all times, including trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. The coalition calls on every EU citizen concerned about human rights, social justice and fair trade to sign the petition – uplift.ie/stopsettlements.
Even though illegal settlements constitute a war crime under international law, the EU allows trade with them. In the case of Israel’s settlements, the UN Security Council has called on states to render them no assistance, and the European Union has repeatedly declared that they constitute a flagrant violation of international law. Nevertheless, the EU continues to trade with them, which has emboldened their ongoing expansion.
Tom Moerenhout, a legal scholar and one of the initiators of the ECI:
“The EU has been shamefully inconsistent in its respect of the rule of law. Indeed, the European Commission first rejected registration of our Citizens Initiative but had to change its position after we successfully sued the Commission before the European Court of Justice. The Commission has since acknowledged it can implement a general rule to stop illegal settlement trade that is considered a general measure in respect of international and EU law rather than a sanction.”
This European Citizens Initiative is carried out by the #StopSettlements coalition, which includes prominent civil society organisations in the field of human rights, environmental and social justice, trade unions and politicians who unite against profits from annexation and occupation to protect human rights, fair trade, and international peace.
Civil society groups in Ireland that are supporting so far include: Academics For Palestine (AFP), ActionAid Ireland, Centre for Global Education , Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Financial Justice – Ireland , Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign-IPSC, Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC), Justice For Palestine – Comhlámh, Kaíros Íreland, National Union of Students – Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI), PalFest Ireland – Art/ festival Supporting Palestine, SADAKA (The Ireland Palestine Alliance), TCD Apartheid Free, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, Trócaire, Unite the Union and Uplift – People Powered Change.
Readers can add their name to the ECI on this website – uplift.ie/stopsettlements
Media Contact & interview requests
Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)
Irish members of the coalition have arranged a photo call on Monday 21st at 11am to launch the campaign – contact [email protected] for press photos/details.
About the #StopSettlements Coalition: All information in the About Us section of the website.
Uplift is hosting the people-powered tech to drive the campaign in Ireland. Uplift is a people-powered campaigning community of over 338,000 people in Ireland. Each day thousands of people take small actions together, such as signing petitions or contacting their TDs, to help build a more equal, sustainable and just Ireland and beyond. https://www.uplift.ie/