UN official ‘alarmed’ at targeting of rights defenders in occupied Palestinian territory

Middle East Monitor  /  September 12, 2022

The acting UN Human Rights Chief, on Monday, said she is “alarmed” by the targeting of rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Nada al-Nashif opened the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council, which runs from 12 September to 7 October.

“I am alarmed by the targeting of human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the apparently arbitrary closure orders of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian organizations in Ramallah on 18 August,” she said.

Al-Nashif said those rights defenders had faced threats of arrest for doing their work.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) “remains concerned that Israel has not renewed the visas for OHCHR international staff in our Palestine office, further restricting human rights engagement in the occupied Palestinian territory,” said the UN official.

She also said that, in Russia, there is intimidation, restrictive measures and sanctions against people voicing opposition to the war in Ukraine.

This undermines “the exercise of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms, including the rights to free assembly, expression and association,” Al-Nashi said.

“Pressure against journalists, blocking of internet resources and other forms of censorship are incompatible with media pluralism and violate the right to access information,” she added.

The UN rights official urged Russia to reconsider measures taken to expand the “foreign agent” label to include individuals considered to be “under foreign influence”.

Fuel shortages, food insecurity

Al-Nashi said that, in Ukraine, the suffering of the civilian population continues.

“Globally, the war’s serious socio-economic consequences persist, including severe fuel shortages and threats to food security in some of the poorest countries,” said the rights official.

“I welcome and call for the full respect of the landmark agreement involving Russia, Ukraine, the United Nations and Turkiye in July, which allowed the resumption of shipments of grain and other food supplies from Ukrainian ports, and I urge the international community to ensure the food reaches the people who need it,” she said.

Al-Nashi noted that, in the face of soaring energy prices threatening to impact the most vulnerable as winter approaches, some EU states are turning to investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and supplies.

“While that impulse is understandable, I urge the EU and its member States to consider the long-term consequences of locking in more fossil fuel infrastructure,” Al-Nashi said.

She explained that it is essential to accelerate the development of energy efficiency projects and renewables.

“There is no room for back-tracking in the face of the ongoing climate crisis.”