GENEVA, 21st March 2016 (WAM) — The United Nations’ Human Rights Council today 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.

Mr. Wibisono, presenting his final report to the Council, emphasised the desperate need to more effectively protect Palestinians in the occupied territories. He urged Israeli authorities to ensure compliance with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, to halt the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, to refrain from acts causing the forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to urgently implement recommendations by the United Nations Children’s Fund with respect to the detention of children.

Mr. 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.

He noted that any act of violence was unacceptable, whether committed by Israelis or Palestinians, but added that the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces were arising in a pre-existing context. He reviewed that context, underlining the need to look at the root causes of heightened tensions. He emphasized the desperate need to more effectively protect Palestinians in the occupied territory, which required the efforts of both Israel and the international community.

Wibisono had observed a significant disconnect between the rights and protections offered to Palestinians under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and the situation on the ground, where they were often deprived of basic rights and protections.

Regarding what he called the excessive use of force by Israeli authorities in the context of security incidents at checkpoints, he urged Israeli authorities to ensure compliance with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

On the question of the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, Mr. Wibisono called on Israeli authorities to halt their expansion and refrain from acts causing the forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

State of Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, expressed displeasure because of Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and grant him access to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel continued to violate international human rights and humanitarian laws. As for the election of the next Special Rapporteur, Palestine called for the election of one of the candidates put forth by the Advisory Committee and urged the Council not to give in to the pressures of some countries whose candidate followed the conditions set by Israel.

Israel, a concerned country, was not present in the room to take the floor.

During the interactive dialogue, speakers regretted Mr. Wibisono’s resignation in response to Israel’s lack of cooperation with the mandate, and called on the President of the Human Rights Council to nominate his successor as soon as possible and in accordance with recommendations of the Council’s Advisory Committee.

Speakers called on Israel to fully cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and other United Nations human rights mechanisms. Some delegations expressed reservations about the mandate, which was in charge with reporting only on human rights violations committed by the Israeli side.

WAM/MMYS