On January 31, 2013, the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements published a report accusing Israel of gross “violations of human rights law.” The publication includes a scenario in which the Palestinians would ratify the Rome Statute and bring Israel to the International Criminal Court over settlement building. A number of European government-funded NGOs, including Al Haq and Badil, played central roles in creating the framework for this publication and accompanying campaign.
NGO Monitor submitted a report to the mission, urging it to adhere to international fact-finding standards. However, instead of complying with these standards and as with the discredited and biased Goldstone Report, claims made by a number of Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs serve as the primary sources for the latest UN “fact-finding” report. Of 133 footnotes, 31 cite NGOs, and an additional 12 cite the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which generally also relies on NGOs for its claims. Many of these NGOs are funded by European governments and the New Israel Fund (NIF).
The document also cites to a single media source, Ha’aretz, which in turn often quotes NGOs. The reference to an opinion article from the paper’s editors, also demonstrates the lack of substantive research. Many other references are to other UNHRC documents, which are also heavily reliant on NGOs and newspaper articles.
In these respects, the latest UNHRC Fact-Finding report again blatantly violated best practices in human rights investigations, such as the Lund-London guidelines that mandate reports be “clearly objective and properly sourced.” See Best Practices for Human Rights and Humanitarian NGO Fact-Finding.
NGO citations and funders (number of citations in parentheses):
B’Tselem (14): Funders include NIF; the EU; Netherlands, Norway, and UK (£135,000 in 2010-11); church groups Christian Aid (UK), DanChurchAid, Diakonia (Sweden) and others; and Ford Foundation.
Peace Now – (8)
Yesh Din (2): NIF, Open Society Institute, European Union, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, UK, and NGO Development Center (joint funding of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands).
Adalah (2): NIF, European Union, Switzerland, Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, Oxfam Novib, Christian Aid, ACSUR, NGO Development Center (joint funding of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands), and UN Development Programme.
Amnesty (2): Claims that it does not accept donations from governments or political parties. In 2008, Amnesty received a 4-year grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), totaling £3,149,000. Its branches have also received funding from the European Commission, the Netherlands, the United States, and Norway.
Human Rights Watch (1)
Applied Research Institute Jerusalem - ARIJ (1): Funded by Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - ICAHD (1): Spain; NGO Development Center (joint funding of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and UN Development Programme. Previously received EU funding.