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Israel prevents UN official from entering occupied Palestinian territories

September 22, 2014 at 10:24 am

The Israeli authorities have so far refused to grant access to a UN official planning to visit the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) between 20 and 28 September, a UN statement said.

The new UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the OPT, Indonesian diplomat Makarim Wibisono, is set to undertake his first official visit to the region this week.

The statement said that Wibisono will gather first-hand information on the current human rights situation in the OPT following the July-August Israeli war, which resulted in at least 1,473 Palestinian civilians killed, including some 501 children.

Wibisono, an independent expert, will visit Jordan and Egypt during his mission and seek to access to Gaza through the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

However, Wibisono said that, “Despite my best efforts, I have not been granted access by Israel to the OPT at this time.”

He further noted that, “I deeply regret not having the opportunity to visit the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to speak face-to-face with victims and witnesses of Israel’s alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

During his mission, the Special Rapporteur will still meet with Palestinian officials, religious and community leaders and civil society representatives, among others.

According to the statement, Wibisono will discuss the human rights situation across the OPT with a focus on the situation for Palestinian children, in particular, and the long-term impacts of violence, conflict and occupation on their fundamental human rights.

“The Special Rapporteur will present an oral update to the General Assembly in October 2014 on his findings and conclusions, and report fully on his mission with recommendations, to the Human Rights Council in March 2015,” the statement said.

In addition, a press conference will be held at the end of the Special Rapporteur’s visit to the region on Sunday 28 September at 10:30 am, at the Fairmont Heliopolis hotel in Cairo.