UNITED NATIONS: A United Nations expert has requested access to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to gather first-hand information on the impact of current hostilities on the human rights situation.

“As a newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur, it is my priority to see with my own eyes the situation on the ground, to listen and to speak face-to-face with victims and witnesses, and to discuss issues of concern with officials on both sides,” Makarim Wibisono said at a news release.

Mr Wibisono is tasked by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The last visit of a Special Rapporteur with this mandate to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory was in 2007.

Access was then granted by Israel, but no meetings with Israeli officials were held.

“The recent escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and heightened tensions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have given me an even greater sense of urgency to see at first-hand the impact on the lives of civilians,” he stressed.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2014

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