Palestinian human rights organisations condemned the Israeli authorities’ decision to ban the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo from entering the Palestinian territories.
The groups said they were following up with utmost concern the Israeli authorities’ ban which comes in the context of obstructing justice in this region of the world and disregard for the United Nations and its mechanisms.
“Israel, the occupying power, through these ongoing practices attempts to escape its legal obligations under international human rights law and prevents the United Nations mechanisms from acting within their jurisdiction and substantive competence,” a statement by the groups read.
The United Nations Human Rights Council announced last week that the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Manjoo had cancelled a scheduled visit to the Palestinian territories.
Manjoo had been invited on a fact-finding mission by the Palestinian Authority to “obtain a first-hand understanding of issues related to violence against women” from January 19-29.
The visit also aimed to support the State of Palestine work to build its capacity in the field of women’s protection and the designing of laws that guarantee their rights.
“For the past six weeks, I have repeatedly sought the cooperation of the government of Israel to facilitate access to the occupied Palestinian territory for me to undertake this visit. Regrettably, I did not receive the necessary support, including a visa by the government of Israel, ahead of my travels, which is scheduled for tomorrow,” Manjoo said in the statement.
“It is unfortunate that I have been denied the opportunity to engage directly with women survivors of violence, and that the exercise of my mandate has been hindered by the unwillingness of the government of Israel, as the occupying power, to facilitate access to the occupied Palestinian territory,” she said.
“My intention was to support the Palestinian Authority to strengthen its capacity to protect and promote women’s rights and to meet its international human rights obligations. The programme of the visit included meetings with Palestinian officials, law enforcement agents, representatives of civil society organisations and survivors of violence in different locations. It also included visits to prisons, refugee camps and shelters for women survivors of violence, among others,” she added.
In November, Israel banned the International Independent Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the offensive launched by Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian human rights organisations said in their statement that banning the UN official deprives Palestinian women from having their voices heard regarding the violence they suffer.
They demanded the international community take decisive and practical actions to compel Israel to stop these practices in the future, and to ensure its respect for human rights.