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UAE envoy addresses Human Rights Council's session on human rights in Palestine

posted on 26/03/2014: 2231 views

Geneva: Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, spoke yesterday at an interactive dialogue held by the UN Human Rights Council with Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

Mr. Falk, introducing his final report to the Human Rights Council as mandate holder, called attention to the most agonizing issues affecting the Palestinian people. The overarching question of how to achieve the inalienable right to self-determination of the Palestinian people under present conditions remained unanswered. In light of the relentless stream of settlement expansions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, it was undeniable that the territorial integrity and scope of any post-occupation Palestinian State was being steadily diminished. Members of the Council should realize that each additional housing unit in those settlements compounded the illegality of the enterprise.

The Special Rapporteur said the report also examined whether Israeli policies and practices in occupied Palestine amounted to apartheid, and concluded that the maintenance of administrative structures that accorded the protection of the rule of law to settlers and their communities, while subjecting Palestinians to a regime of unaccountable military rule, was intrinsically discriminatory. Among other recommendations, the report suggested that the General Assembly requested the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the legal status of prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories and assess allegations whether this occupation had the characteristics of "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing".

Al Zaabi told the session that the mandate holder, despite the challenges posed by the occupying forces, should continue to draw attention to the occupation. 'The Council should give greater attention to the non-cooperation of Israel with the Special Rapporteur,' he said.

He hoped that the new rapporteur would be able to display the same determination and enthusiasm.

Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, asked the Council to appoint a new mandate holder under the same mandate and highlighted the violations taking place in Palestine, including the violence perpetrated by settlers, the imposition of checkpoints, the blockade on Gaza, and other policies tantamount to apartheid. All these measures were unlawful and went against the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. Israel was flaunting the peace process and the possibilities for a peaceful solution.

During the interactive dialogue, speakers expressed appreciation for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and highlighted the importance of the mandate. Cumulative reports on the occupied Palestinian territories were indicative of the fact that violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law continued to be committed by Israel in those territories. Systematic violations of human rights reflected the fact that the Israeli occupation continued, targeting and killing civilians, destroying villages, forcing displacement and carrying out torture, and the Council should take a clear stance. Some delegations regretted the lack of cooperation displayed by Israel with the Special Rapporteur. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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