UN human rights expert urges Israel to abandon plans to transfer Bedouins in the occupied West Bank


GENEVA (5 June 2015) – The United
Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian
territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, today reiterated his call on
the Government of Israel to abandon and desist from implementing plans which
may result in the forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouin Communities in the
West Bank.

“I am alarmed at indications that
the roll-out of plans, which in their full effect are believed to entail the
forced eviction and forcible transfer of thousands of people, contrary to
international human rights law and international humanitarian law, now appears
imminent,” the independent expert said.

In October 2014, Mr. Wibisono
together* with the UN Special Rapporteurs on adequate housing, on cultural rights,
on minorities and on the right to food expressed concern and urged the
Government of Israel to halt the plans. “Regrettably, I and my fellow
independent experts did not receive a response,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur reported to
the Human Rights Council in March 2015 that an estimated two thirds of those
who would be affected by the transfer plans are children.

Noting the link between previous
transfers and expansion of settlements, Wibisono noted: “It is very troubling
that the implementation of these plans may further undermine the territorial
integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

UN officials on 20 May expressed
grave concern over the rapid advancement of these plans and especially that
Israeli authorities were taking steps towards the transfer of residents of Abu
Nwar, one of a substantial number of affected Palestinian Bedouin communities.

Since his appointment in June
2014, full cooperation has been extended by the Palestinian Government, but the
Independent Expert’s requests to visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian
Territory have so far received no formal response by the Government of Israel.

In light of his lack of access to
the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the expert intends to undertake his second
mission to the region this month in order to meet with victims, witnesses,
non-governmental organizations, UN entities and public officials on the human
rights situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

The Special Rapporteur will
present his next report to the 70th session of the United Nations General
Assembly later this year.

(*)Read the experts’ joint
communication to the Government of Israel: https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/28th/public_-_UA_Israel_14.10.14_(10.2014).pdf

In 2014, the UN Human Rights
Council designated Makarim Wibisono (Indonesia) as the sixth Special Rapporteur
on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since
1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on
Human Rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/PS/Pages/SRPalestine.aspx

Check the Special Rapporteur’s
latest report to the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/28/78):http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session28/Pages/ListReports.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part
of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special
Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights
system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and
monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or
thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on
a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their
work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in
their individual capacity.

OHCHR Country Pages:
Occupied Palestinian Territories: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx
Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

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