UN official quits, says denied access to Palestinian territories

A United Nations special rapporteur has quit because Israel did not give him access to occupied Palestinian territories, the body's Human Rights Council said Monday.

Makarim Wibisono, an Indonesian diplomat who was appointed in 2014 as the UN official responsible for human rights in the Palestinian territories, said Israel had repeatedly denied his requests to visit the territories. 

The Special Rapporteur said that when he took up the mandate in June 2014, he was assured that he would have access to the occupied territories. 

“I took up this mandate with the understanding that Israel would grant me access, as an impartial and objective observer,” he said in a statement.

“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" that my mandate cannot be fulfilled, he said.

Wibisono said the Palestinian government did cooperate with him.

“I reluctantly wish to pass the baton to a successor," he said. "It is my sincere hope that whoever succeeds me will manage to resolve the current impasse.

Israel's Foreign Ministry claimed the real reason for the special rapporteur's resignation was that the mandate given to him by the Human Rights Council was biased.

"The imbalance concerns not only the special rapporteur's mandate but the conduct of the entire Human Rights Council," said spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

So long as that situation continued, Israel's treatment of the council and its representatives "will be accordingly," he said.

Israel has long accused the council of a heavy anti-Israel bias.

Last update: Mon, 04/01/2016 - 15:02
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