You may not have noticed this:-
Amnesty Urges Action on QUB Corporate Sponsor Caterpillar
Posted: 08 May 2007
Amnesty International is urging Queen's University and its students at to bring pressure on Caterpillar Inc for their role in the destruction of Palestinian homes.
As reported in The Gown, the Queens University student newspaper, The company - which has recently given $100,000 to the university towards the costs of its new library - is one of the biggest equipment suppliers to the Israeli army. Amnesty International has previously reported how Caterpillar bulldozers are being used to destroy thousands of homes of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The company's bulldozers have also been used in the construction of the fence/wall built around and through the West Bank. In 2004 the International Court of Justice declared the fence/wall to be unlawful.
The company has donated $100,000 to the University towards the cost of its new £45 million library, due for completion in 2009. The library is due to have an area named after the company's charitable wing.
Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:
'Caterpillar produces the bulldozers used by the Israeli army to destroy the homes of innocent Palestinians. This is clearly illegal - a serious violation of international law which deprives innocent people of the right to a home.
'Amnesty International has asked Caterpillar to adopt a code of conduct which complies with the United Nations Human Rights Norms for Business. To date, the company has refused to do so and to take steps to prevent their products being used to commit human rights abuses.
Peter McGovern, chairperson of the Amnesty Student Society at Queen's University said:
'Caterpillar's sponsorship of Queen's University provides the perfect opportunity for the university to ask some hard questions of the company. Meanwhile, the student body and faculty should bring pressure to bear on the company to abide by international human rights standards. Caterpillar may see this donation as a positive PR opportunity - let's see them prove their bona fides as good corporate citizens by ending their complicity in these abuses.'
Excerpt from the Amnesty International report, Israel and the Occupied Territories - Under the rubble: House demolition and destruction of land and property, published in 2004.
"Tens of thousands of men, women and children have been made homeless or have lost their livelihood as a result of house destruction by the Israeli army. Thousands of other houses have been damaged, and tens of thousands of others are under threat of demolition, their occupants living in fear of homelessness. House demolitions are usually carried out without warning, often at night, and the occupants are forcibly evicted with no time to salvage their belongings. Often the only warning is the rumbling of the Israeli army's US-made Caterpillar bulldozers beginning to tear down the walls of their homes.
"The victims are often amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged. In most cases the justification given by the Israeli authorities for the destruction is "military/security needs", while in other cases it is the lack of building permits. The result is the same: families are left homeless and destitute, forced to rely on relatives, friends and humanitarian organizations for shelter and subsistence."
Rachel Corrie was murdered with a Caterpillar bulldozer.
Queens are naming a wing of their new building after Caterpillar. It is apt that having sponsored the destruction of the Holyland they take money from a corporation that has profited from far worse crimes.
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We are very grateful to the Caterpillar Foundation for this very generous donation. This gift is an excellent example of how local companies can support the communities in which they operate. The University's new library will not only enhance the Queen's Experience for our staff and students, but in doing so, will also play a leading role in sustaining and expanding the local knowledge-based economy.
“This donation will further enhance the links between the University and FG Wilson. We have enjoyed a productive relationship for many years, with the company's sponsorship of a major schools outreach project, ‘ABC for Life’, under which medical students teach CPR skills to Year 7 primary school children in order to create a generation of young people with the skills to save lives.”
The Caterpillar Foundation was founded by CAT in the early 1950s and since then has invested over £125 million in a wide variety of projects around the world. In 2005 some £15 million was distributed, with more than £600,000 awarded to projects in the United Kingdom. Since 2003 the Foundation has been active in the UK, working in partnership with CAT's UK businesses, especially in the area of education.
The decision to support this education based project lies comfortably within FG Wilson's philosophy and approach to social responsibility. The Company is a major employer in Northern Ireland and aims to support projects which impact the whole community in a positive manner. To date providing support for education based projects has been a key focus of FG Wilson’s sponsorship activity.
“The Caterpillar Foundation is delighted to work in partnership with FG Wilson and Queen's University to assist in this most important project. As its first direct investment in Northern Ireland, the Foundation sees this as a flagship for its future endeavours in the Province, and in association with FG Wilson looks forward to identifying further projects with the University”, said Dick Elsden, Director for Government Affairs for Caterpillar Inc in the United Kingdom.
Building work has commenced on the £45 million library, which is due for completion in 2009. Designed by Boston-based architects Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbot (SBRA), the new building will accommodate 2000 reader places and house 1.5 million volumes.
For further information contact:
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310
The blurb from the QUB website will probably follow the gownn article down the Memory Hole, so I have published it here.