Palestine Territories "face recurring rights violations"

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Gaza City, where the near 10-year blockade “amounts to collective punishment”, Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk says, in his report to the UN Human Rights Council. Photo: World Bank/Arne Hoel

Human rights violations are continuing against the people of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a UN Special Rapporteur said Monday.

Michael Lynk, who's mandate from the Human Rights Council is to report on the Palestinian territories that have been under Israeli control since 1967, said that the people living there face "recurring and persistent" abuses.

These include the blockade of Gaza, which is now approaching its tenth year, and accelerating Israeli settlement building.

Daniel Johnson has more.

In his first report on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories to the Human Rights Council, Michael Lynk said that Israeli plans to build there have accelerated "at an alarming pace".

The Special Rapporteur, who's also a professor in law in his native Canada, was referring to the announced building of thousands more Israeli homes.

It's a move that's been accompanied by an uptick in demolitions of Palestinian homes, he told Member States, by video message:

"The illegal settlement enterprise has moved at an alarming pace since the beginning of this year. In late January, the Israeli government announced the construction of 6,000 housing units and settlements. At the same time, Israel has measurably increased its demolition rate of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem."

The Special Rapporteur also noted what he called the "increasingly extreme rhetoric" from Israeli leaders amid recurring and persistent human rights violations.

These included the excessive use of force, collective punishment, forced displacement, and restrictions on the freedom of movement – all reported throughout 2016.

Looking ahead, Michael Lynk expressed concern at moves to legalize the confiscation of private Palestinian land; in effect removing the only domestic legal barrier to settlement construction.

And he said that the half-century long occupation was "profoundly corrosive" of human rights, something that Israel in its absence from the council session, did not respond to.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’23″

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