OECD admits Israel despite human rights record

OECD agreed to invite Israel to become members of the organisation despite its human rights record.

OECD admits Israel despite human rights record

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday agreed to invite Israel to become members of the organisation despite its human rights record.

As well as economic prosperity, the OECD says, it has “strict” criteria in terms of democratic and human rights records of member countries.

Islamic Human Rights Commission or IHRC, had launched the petition campaign on its website against the acception.

The 31-member OECD issued a statement at its Paris headquarters saying it had invited Israel, as well as Estonia and Slovenia, to become members.

Israel has been under fire for its deadly offensive that destroyed besieged-Gaza Strip that up to 1500 Palestinians were killed last year. A UN report accuses it of war crimes over that attack.

The three "will contribute to a more plural and open OECD that is playing an increasingly important role in the global economic architecture," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said.

He said all three countries had been "receptive to OECD recommendations".

In recent weeks, Israel has come under pressure to come clean about its nuclear weapons, but refused to join the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

Most experts estimate that Israel has at least between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1980s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country's Dimona nuclear reactor.

Palestinian officials had urged the OECD to reject Israel's application. They said that Israel's occupation of the West Bank, and discriminatory treatment of its own Arab citizens, put the country at odds with the OECD's commitment to human rights.

Pro-Palestinian activists planned to hold protests in Paris on Monday during the OECD announcement.

"Expansion"

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said it was a "historic achievement" for his country.

"The importance is tremendous. This is the most respectable international club that a little country like the state of Israel can be accepted to," he told Israel Radio.

Israel also refuses to end ongoing Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, a move Palestinians call "land grap".

Estonia, Israel and Slovenia were invited to open accession talks in 2007, along with Chile and the Russian Federation. Chile became an OECD member earlier this year and membership talks with Russia are progressing.

Tthe OECD said in a statement today that it is also strengthening its relationships with a number of emerging economnies including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) area now covers a total of 34 countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.


Agencies

Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2010, 17:20
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