Human rights mission to Middle East will not take place, Robinson says

19 April 2002

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, announced in Geneva today that the proposed "visiting mission" to the Middle East would not take place.

The announcement was made after one of the members of the delegation, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, had spoken on the phone with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and it became clear that the visit would not be facilitated by the Israeli authorities.

A statement released by Mrs. Robinson's office said she was preparing a report to the Geneva-based Commission for Human Rights "on the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territory on the basis of reports from all concerned organizations present in the occupied territories."

The High Commissioner is expected to report to the human rights body in the course of next week.

A three-member delegation led by Mrs. Robinson was constituted on 8 April following a 5 April resolution by the Commission, which requested that a mission travel urgently to the area and report on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The third member of the proposed mission was Cyril Ramaphosa, former Secretary-General of the African National Congress of South Africa.