Israel urged to reconsider “Regularization Bill” on settlements
Authorities in Israel are being urged by a senior UN official in the region to reconsider legislation which would enable continued use of privately-owned Palestinian land for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said if the so-called “Regularization Bill” is adopted, it will greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace.
Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, is set to vote on the bill this Monday.
Mr Mladenov said the bill goes against international law, adding that the country’s Attorney General has deemed it unconstitutional.
“Settlements are illegal under international law and…present one of the main impediments to peace,” he stated.
Mr Mladenov said all core issues between the two sides should be resolved through direct negotiations based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions and mutual agreements.
Step up action to end FGM: UN chief
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for increased commitment to stamp out what he has labelled the “heinous human rights violation” of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Mr Guterres said the practice “denies women and girls their dignity, endangers their health, and causes needless pain and suffering, with consequences that endure for a lifetime and can even be fatal.”
This Monday, 6 February, is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
The UN estimates that as many as 200 million women and girls have been affected.
As countries have vowed to end FGM by 2030, the UN chief is calling for intensified global action to achieve this goal “for the sake of all affected women and girls, their communities, and our common future.”
Human Rights chief visits Oman and Kuwait
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is on a three-day visit to Oman where he is scheduled to hold meetings with senior officials and members of civil society.
This will be his first visit to the country since being appointed as the UN rights chief in September 2014.
While there, Zeid will deliver a letter on behalf of the UN Secretary-General to the Sultan of Oman conveying the UN chief’s concerns about the continuing conflict in Yemen.
The High Commissioner will then travel to Kuwait on Tuesday to meet with His Highness the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other high-level State officials as well as representatives from civil society.
This will also mark his first visit to the country.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.