The UN special Reporter on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories Makarm Wibisono submitted his resignation, effective as of 31. March 2016 after Israeli authorities denied him access to the Occupied West Bank.
Wibisono said in an interview with the UN human rights news department, that “Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way.”
His repeated request for access, both written and oral, have been unsuccessful:
“I took up this mandate with the understanding that Israel would grant me access, as an impartial and objective observer,” he added.
Assuming his post in June 2014, Wibisono was assured that he would have access to the Occupied Palestinian territories. He didn’t receive any replies on his repeated requests to enter the area.
Speaking about his resignation, Wibisono adds that throughout his tenure, the Palestinian government cooperated fully with his mandate, and he voiced deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.
“It is my sincere hope that whoever succeeds me will manage to resolve the current impasse, and so reassure the Palestinian people that after nearly half a century of occupation the world has not forgotten their plight and that universal human rights are indeed universal.”
In his most recent report, Wibisono voiced concern at Israeli raids against the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements in the occupied West Bank, at the high level of clashes in the city, where Palestinians live in close proximity to a large illegal settler population, and at the blockade around the Gaza strip, which imposes severe restrictions on Palestinian movement, imports and exports.
“The bottom line remains that, if Gaza is to recover from the damage wrought by multiple rounds of hostility and a shattered economy, the blockade must be lifted. The people deserve help and realization of their human rights, not collective punishment,” he said in June.
Makarm Wibisono will present his last report to the Human Rights Council in March 2016.
Hanan Ashrawi, an official from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said according to WAFA news agency, that Israel exerts efforts to sabotage the missions of UN human rights organizations, especially the UN Human Rights Council in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
“Seeking to cover up its human rights violations and proceed with its crimes, Israel has been refusing to cooperate with and impeding the overall human rights work conducted by these organizations,” added Ashrawi.
She called on the world international community to “stop this farce and exercise political and humanitarian will required to hold Israel accountable to rule of international law” and put an end to its impunity.
Makarm Wibisono has not been the first UN special reporter who didn’t find it easy to fulfill his job.
Former reporter in his position, Richard Falk, who is also known for criticizing Israel, was deported at the Ben Gurion Airport in 2008, even though Israel’s foreign ministry had advance notification of his travel itinerary.
Richard Falks explains in an interview with Victor Kattan in 2008 why he believes he was detained for 20 hours and then deported.
“My best guess is that Israel was eager to teach me a lesson for my prior outspoken criticism, and more importantly, to send the UN a message that Israel was not willing to cooperate with a UN representative who was unacceptable to the government.”
In an interview with Democracy Now in 2012 Falk said on the subject that: “If you take international law seriously and, as I said, you’re 10 percent objective, you have to come to these conclusions. And that’s why this Indonesian (Makarm Wibisono), who was determined to please Israel—he told me that—it turned out that he has already angered Israel, because you can’t—you can’t look at these realities without coming to these conclusions, unless you completely somehow blindfold yourself.”