Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the Opening Meeting of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 27.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel last week refused entry to Makarim Wibisono, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, who is working on a report on rights violations in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
Wibisono plans to submit the report to the 70th session of the General Assembly this fall in New York.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said, “Israel cooperates with most human rights mechanisms of the UN. Israel does not cooperate with unfair and unbalanced mandates such as the UNHRC rapporteur’s mandate, and consequently his entry to Israel is not allowed.”
Israel remains the only country for which a special investigator is permanently assigned.
The investigator is mandated to focus on Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians and is not assigned to explore Palestinian ones.
Xabier Celaya, from the media unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Wibisono had hoped to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories from June 9 to 12.
Instead, he conducted his investigation from neighboring Amman.
Wibisono made a similar visit to Jordan and Cairo in September 2014, where he met with Palestinian officials, religious and community leaders, and representatives from civic society, Celaya said.
“Since taking up his mandate in June 2014... Wibisono has sought Israel’s cooperation with his mandate, including access to the occupied Palestinian territory and meetings with Israeli officials. His requests to access Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in order to carry out his mandate have not received a formal response from the government of Israel,” Celaya said.
He explained that the position of special investigator to the Palestinian territories was first created in 1993 and that Wibisono of Indonesia is the sixth person since then to hold that post.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry said that Israel’s decision to deny Wibisono access was an attempt to hide its crimes in the Palestinian territories, the Palestinian News and Information Agency reported.
Earlier in the month, Wibisono spoke out against Israeli plans to relocate Palestinian Beduin communities in the West Bank, such as in the South Hebron Hills and the areas around Jerusalem and the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, where many of the Beduin’s homes are illegally constructed.
“I am alarmed at indications that the rollout of plans, which in their full effect are believed to entail the forced eviction and forcible transfer of thousands of people, contrary to international human rights law and international humanitarian law, now appears imminent,” Wibisono said.