A top United Nations human rights official on Tuesday charged that Israel was impeding the activities of human rights workers in the Palestinian territories.
Hina Jilani, the UN secretary-general's special representative on human rights workers, concluded her first visit to the region by making a distinction between how Israel treated human rights organizations in its territory and those in the West Bank and Gaza.
"In stark contrast to the relative openness that the government allows for NGOs based in Israel, the human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territories operate under conditions that are absolutely incompatible with the international norms and standards of human rights," she said. "The environment is totally non-conducive for human rights defenders to conduct their work with facility or safety."
Jilani, a human rights lawyer from Pakistan, blamed these conditions on the continuing Israeli occupation that created "restrictions on the freedom of movement," obstructing the work of the human rights defenders.