UKPalMHN letter to NSPCC


Why the UKPMHN has written to the NSPCC

We feel that it is scandalous that the NSPCC, a charity which campaigns for the welfare of children, is accepting funds from a company complicit in crimes against children; crimes which destroy their homes, their lives and their communities.

The NSPCC should be providing support to traumatised children wherever they live. It should advocate for children’s rights and inform the world of the terrible cost to children of Israel’s human rights abuses of families in Palestine.

However, instead of calling for the protection of children and despite NSPCC receiving detailed information about JCB’s complicity in Israel’s house demolitions, a strand of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine, it continues to accept money from JCB.

The NSPCC has been sent a B’tselem video showing JCB equipment in action demolishing homes in the South Hebron Hills. The NSPCC knows about the 2012 War on Want report which condemned JCB’s complicity in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. They also know that the UN has named and shamed JCB and that Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights have submitted a formal complaint to the OECD, detailing JCB’s failures with regard to their human rights responsibilities.

The NSPCC have responded explaining their due diligence procedures. The charity will exclude a donor only where slavery, human trafficking or child labour are implicated, or where government sanctions apply – narrow ethical criteria, in our view. The NSPCC say there is no reason why they should not receive funding from JCB. Shockingly, as a result of this, it would appear that children’s services provided by the NSPCC in the UK are financed in part by profits from state crime and the abuse and traumatisation of children overseas.

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UKPMHN letter to the NSPCC

Neil Berkett
Chair, Board of Trustees
Weston House
42 Curtain Road

24th September 2020

Dear Mr Berkett

Call for NSPCC to stop accepting donations from JCB

We applaud the work done by the NSPCC over many years, which has done so much for the safety and wellbeing of children. And as you so rightly say, at the top of the home page on your website, Every Childhood Is Worth Fighting For.

While you are a UK-based organisation, working with children in the UK, your ethos is surely an internationalist one, given that your core values are based on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. So we can only understand your statement as referring to every childhood everywhere, irrespective of which part of the world any particular childhood is spent in.

We are dismayed therefore to learn that the NSPCC has accepted millions of pounds in donations from the company, JCB. This is despite the well-documented fact that their machines are routinely used to demolish the homes of Palestinian children. JCB, fully aware that their machines are used for these purposes, continue to export them to Israel. It is shocking that the NSPCC has been made aware of this and yet continues to accept money from JCB.

You will be fully aware of the impact of homelessness on children. As UK-based mental health professionals, we wish to draw your attention to the impact of the demolition of their homes, often in their presence, on the mental health of Palestinian children.

According to a study by Save the Children-UK, the Palestinian Counselling Centre and the Welfare Association, “children who have had their home demolished fare significantly worse on a range of mental health indicators, including withdrawal, somatic complaints, depression/anxiety, social difficulties, higher rates of delusional, obsessive, compulsive and psychotic thoughts, attention difficulties, delinquency and violent behavior.”

We note that the description on your website of your campaigning work includes that you give a voice to children when no one is listening. We are sure that you will agree that the voices of Palestinian children are not among those most listened to.

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a leading academic in the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is also Global Law Professor at Queen Mary University of London, published an article called “The Political Economy of Children’s Trauma: A Case Study of House Demolition in Palestine” in the journal Feminism and Psychology. This reported a study whose goal was “to explore the narratives of children who survived the destabilizing effects of the demolition of their homes and faced intense trauma when the social and political ground beneath their feet shifted.”

Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian reported that “when children were asked about the most painful incident that had happened to them, they all talked about losing their homes and becoming refugees in their own neighbourhood”, which “turned them into vulnerable individuals in their own societies…accompanied by feelings of subjugation, desperation and oppression”.

One 14-year-old girl, Asma, said:

… when they demolished our house, I felt naked… I was going crazy… I became a refugee on the rubbles of my home …”.

The Fourth Geneva Convention states that an Occupying Power must ensure the well-being of the populations under its control. Israel’s actions in demolishing Palestinian homes clearly breaches this.

The UN Human Rights Council Resolution 31/36, adopted in March 2016, calls upon business enterprises in all states to take necessary measures to comply with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN has identified a number of business activities that raise particular human rights violations concerns, including the supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in its 2020 report A/HRC/43/71, has now named JCB as one of the business entities which it considers in breach of this international law.

The case is clear. A leading children’s charity with the reputation of the NSPCC should not be accepting money from a company that commits such egregious human rights violations and is in breach of international law.

We call upon the NSPCC to live up to its core, internationalist values, which have the human rights of children at their centre, and cease to accept money from JCB.

We would appreciate it if you could let us have your response to our request, at your earliest convenience, that you sever relations with JCB.

Yours sincerely
Teresa Bailey, Martin Kemp, Eliana Pinto, Christiane van Duuren, Gwyneth Daniel

cc Peter Wanless, Chief Executive, NSPCC