Geneva - The resignation of the UN special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories reflects the lack of international political will to hold Israel accountable for its continuous restrictions on the work of human rights investigators, says the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
Makarim Wibisono, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, announced his resignation today due to his lack of access to the region. A UN statement said that Wibisono, who assumed his position in June of 2014, that "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. I took up this mandate with the understanding that Israel would grant me access, as an impartial and objective observer.”
Wibisono has worked hard to document human rights violations in the Palestinian territories in the aftermath of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against the Gaza Strip July-August 2014. In the course of his work, Wibisono talked with the Euro-Med Monitor team to review eyewitness testimony and other evidence collected by the organization to document Israel’s violations of international law.
“ This is not the first time that Israel has waged a campaign against a UN official ” says Ramy Abdu, chair of Euro-Med Monitor. “The experience of Prof. Richard Falk, chair of the board of trustees of Euro-Med, is another example. He too was UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories and was challenged continually.”
In addition, in February of last year, the head of a UN inquiry into potential war crimes committed during the 2014 assault on Gaza, William Schabas, resigned amid allegations by Israel of bias. Just a month before, Israeli authorities denied entry to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Rachida Manjo, and declared they would not cooperate with any commission of inquiry investigating the summer assault.
“ The pattern of harassment and bullying is clear, and the international community is going along ” charged Abdu. “How will justice have a chance to prevail?”