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BlackRock among scores of entities warned by UN experts to stop arms transfers to Israel

More than 30 UN experts and special rapporteurs warn governments, arms manufacturers and investors that they could be held accountable for war crimes.

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A group of United Nations experts has named BlackRock among dozens of entities, weapon manufacturers and financial institutions in a joint statement warning them not to engage in arms transfers to Israel as they would be complicit in war crimes and genocide.

They named the arms manufacturers supplying Israel – BAE Systems, Boeing, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh, Rheinmetall AG, Rolls-Royce Power Systems, RTX and ThyssenKrupp – and called on them to stop deliveries, even if they are made under existing export licences.

“These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components, and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws,” reads a statement today by more than 30 experts and special rapporteurs led by Robert McCorquodale, a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

The statement also warns financial institutions investing in the arms companies involved in supplying weapons to Israel.

Among the investors named include Bank of America, BlackRock, Capital Group, Causeway Capital Management, Citigroup, Fidelity Management & Research, JP Morgan Chase, Harris Associates, Morgan Stanley and The Vanguard Group.

"Failure to prevent or mitigate their business relationships with these arms manufacturers transferring arms to Israel could move from being directly linked to human rights abuses to contributing to them, with repercussions for complicity in potential atrocity crimes," the experts said.

They said the risk of being accused of complicity in war crimes has been further increased by the recent decision of the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to halt its military offensive in Rafah, as well as the move by the International Criminal Court to seek arrest warrants for Israeli leaders.

"In this context, continuing arms transfers to Israel may be seen as knowingly providing assistance for operations that contravene international human rights and international humanitarian laws and may result in profit from such assistance."

The Israeli attack on Gaza was characterised by "indiscriminate and disproportionate" attacks on civilians and infrastructure, killing more than 37,000 people and injuring 84,000, the statement added.

"Today, children in Gaza are the largest group of amputee children in the world due to grave injuries sustained in the war."