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Israel denies entry to UN Palestinian rights envoy

[JURIST] The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] Sunday denied entry to and deported the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk [academic profile]. Falk was attempting to enter Israel in his official capacity for the first time since assuming his position in May. As special rapporteur, Falk is responsible for advocating for the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and providing the UN Human Rights Council [official website] with reports and information regarding the human rights situation there. According to reports, Falk was denied entry to Israel because his visit had not been coordinated with the Israeli government [UPI report]. Several Palestinian rights organizations demanded that the Israeli Interior Minister and Attorney General lift the entry ban on Falk [Ha'aretz report], characterizing his office as an important safeguard for Palestinian human rights.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in April that Falk would not be allowed to enter Israel [JURIST report] because of accusations against him of bias and his past comments calling Israeli actions against Palestinians a "Holocaust in the making." In October 2007, former Special Rapporteur John Dugard [academic profile] said that the UN must better address human rights violations committed in the Palestinian territories [JURIST report]. He has also previously criticized Israel's continued military presence in the region, comparing it to South African apartheid [JURIST report]. Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an independent expert by the now-defunct UN Commission on Human Rights to investigate Israeli rights violations. Israel and the US have dismissed his reports as one-sided.

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