NEW YORK, 5th January, 2016 (WAM) — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territories has resigned due to Israel’s failure to grant him access to the areas he is tasked with monitoring.
“Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” Makarim Wibisono said of his resignation,which he submitted to the President of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on Monday, to become effective as of 31st March.
“I took up this mandate with the understanding that Israel would grant me access, as an impartial and objective observer,” he added, stressing that upon assuming his post in June 2014, he was assured that he would have access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Repeated requests for access, both written and oral, have 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.
He will present his last report to the Human Rights Council in March.
Mr. Wibisono, an Indonesian diplomat, said that that throughout his tenure, the Government of the State of Palestine cooperated fully with the mandate, and he voiced deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.
Special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by and reporting back to the Council. Mr. Wibisono served as Indonesia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (2004-2007) and in New York (1997-2000), as well as on a number of UN bodies, including as Chairperson of the 61st United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2005 and President of the UN Economic and Social Council in 2000.