UN human rights expert on Palestine resigns due to lack of access

January 13, 2016 /

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories resigned on Monday after Israel’s repeated failure to grant him access to the areas he is tasked with monitoring.

The Indonesian diplomat Makarim Wibisono took office in June 2014. “I took up this mandate with the understanding that Israel would grant me access, as an impartial and objective observer,” said Wibisono. However, since then he has made several requests, both written and oral, but they have always been unsuccessful. “With no reply from Israel to my latest request, in October 2015, to have access by the end of 2015, it is with deep regret that I accept the premise upon which I took up the mandate, which is to have direct access to the victims in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, will not be fulfilled,” he said.

“I reluctantly wish to pass the baton to a successor, selected by the Human Rights Council,” he added. “It is my sincere hope that whoever succeeds me will manage to resolve the current impasse, and so reassure the Palestinian people that after nearly half a century of occupation the world has not forgotten their plight and that universal human rights are indeed universal.”

In his most recent reports Mr. Wibisono voiced his concerns regarding growing settler populations, clashes in Hebron, ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees and the blockade in Gaza. “The bottom line remains that, if Gaza is to recover from the damage wrought by multiple rounds of hostility and a shattered economy, the blockade must be lifted. The people deserve help and realisation of their human rights, not collective punishment,” he said in June.