Israel boycotts UN human rights review after criticism of settlements

Published January 30th, 2013 - 09:33 GMT
Palestinian protesters hold placards during a demonstration in Ramallah in support with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, some of whom are observing a hunger strike. (AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestinian protesters hold placards during a demonstration in Ramallah in support with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, some of whom are observing a hunger strike. (AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI)

Israel became the first country to boycott a regular review by the UN Human RIghts Council, when they refused to comply with the investigation on Tuesday.

According to AP, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Yigal Palmor, told the news agency that the country's decision to boycott the meeting follows its move last March to cut all ties with the 47-member state council after the body announced it would investigate Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

"We cut all our contacts with the council…including the current activity," Palmor said. 

He explained: "Our policy has not changed."

All 193 UN countries are required to undergo Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs) of their individual human rights situations. But few were surprised by Israel's boycott as the country has long been angered by what it claims is unfair criticism from the body. 

On Tuesday, council president Remigiusz Henczel told the delegates at the United Nations in Geneva: "I see that the delegation of Israel is not in the room."

Henczel then called on the council to adopt a draft decision on how to react, including urging Israel to resume its cooperation with the UPR process and for the country's review to be rescheduled for no later than during October's UPR session.

While delegates struggled to agree on an appropriate response, the council eventually adopted Henczel's proposal by consensus.


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