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UN must better address rights situation in Palestinian territories: UN envoy

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories John Dugard [academic profile] told the BBC Monday that he will recommend that the UN withdraw as a mediator in the Middle East unless action is taken on human rights violations in the Palestinian territories. Dugard said that the UN's membership in the Middle East Quartet [US DOS statements], comprised of Russia, the UN, the US, and the EU, does little good if it fails to protect human rights. He said that the rights situation for Palestinians was worsening due in large part to Israeli security measures that restricted Palestinians' freedom of movement, a policy that Dugard found to be "very disproportionate" to any threat posed.

In February, Dugard released a report [PDF text; JURIST report] criticizing Israel's continued military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, characterizing the occupation as "colonialism" and "apartheid." The report also condemned violations by Palestinian militants, including the onslaught of violence in civilian areas. Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an independent expert by the now-defunct UN Commission on Human Rights [official website] to investigate Israeli violations of human rights. Israel and the US have dismissed his reports as one-sided. BBC News has more.

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