GENEVA, 21st March 2016 (WAM) — Saudi Arabia today said it regrets that the UN investigator for human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has resigned because Israel had refused to grant him access to the West Bank and Gaza.

Faisal bin Hasan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, in a statement before the Human Rights Council, condemned in the strongest terms Israel’s continued refusal of cooperating with the UN human rights official and international legitimacy.

Today, the Human Rights Council discussed the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and other Occupied Arab Territories, holding an interactive dialogue with Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, then hearing the presentation of reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, followed by a general debate.

Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, resigned, saying that Israel had reneged on its pledge to grant him access to the West Bank and Gaza.

The Saudi ambassador welcomed Wibisono’s report and said the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, are at their worst since 1948 due to the continued Israeli occupation.

The Saudi ambassador also urged the Human Rights Council to take a firm stand immediately and before it is too late, to protect the Palestinian people, according to state Saudi Press Agency SPA.

Wibisono said that the escalation of violence that began in October 2015 in the West Bank continued to threaten the security and stability of the occupied Palestinian territories, with significant negative impacts on the human rights situation of Palestinians.

Wibisono also said that his repeated oral and written requests for access had gone unanswered over 18 months. Announcing his resignation, Mr Wibisono voiced “deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law”.

WAM/MMYS