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Address by Ms. Flavia Pansieri, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 24th session of the Human Rights Council

Introduction to report of the Secretary-General under item 7

23 September 2013

Mr. President,
Distinguished members of the Human Rights Council,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to introduce to the present session of the Council the report of the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/24/30) pursuant to resolution 22/28 of 22 March 2013. The report is based on information gathered by the OHCHR field presence and other United Nations entities operating in Palestine. It addresses the human rights situation in Gaza, including with regard to the access-restricted areas and the on-going blockade. While recognizing Israel’s security concerns, the Secretary-General recommends the lifting of the blockade and urges Israel to remedy punitive measures against civilians.

The report reiterates previous concerns regarding the human rights situation in the West Bank, including with regard to settler violence, forcible transfers, demolitions, forced evictions, excessive use of force by Israeli security forces, and the situation of Palestinians including children detained by Israel. The report also raises concerns with regard to the Palestinian Authority, with particular concern about cases of ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees.

The lack of accountability for crimes, and for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including failures by all parties to effectively investigate such violations, is a concern raised throughout the report. The Secretary-General notes that there are serious concerns that neither Israel nor the de facto authorities in Gaza have taken adequate steps to investigate credible allegations of violations of international law following the end of last November’s escalation in hostilities in Gaza.

The report also recommends that the Government of the State of Palestine conduct effective investigations into all suspected violations of international human rights law, in order to ensure accountability. The Secretary-General notes that the adoption of the National Plan of Action for Human Rights will assist the State of Palestine in its on-going efforts to improve its human rights performance.

Thank you for your attention.