The UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Tuesday expressed regret [press release] that the Israeli government failed to send a representative to the Council's review of Israel's human rights record. The council had planned to begin its review of Israel's human rights record on Tuesday, as part of a two-week session in which the council is scheduled to evaluate the record of 14 nations. The evaluations are conducted regularly for all nations, according to the UN. Upon Israel's failure to appear for its review, the council issued a statement expressing disappointment in the country's decision and urging the Israeli government to resume participation in the evaluation. The council rescheduled Israel's evaluation for its next session, which will take place later this year.
Israel has been criticized recently for potential human rights violations, particularly with respect to the conflict in Gaza [JURIST news archive]. Last Month Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes [JURIST report] after a November aerial bombing raid killed 12 civilians in Gaza. Earlier that week UN Special Rapporteur Richard Flak called on Israel [JURIST report] to fully implement and continue to support the recent conflict-ending ceasefire agreement with Palestinians in Gaza. In November UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay pressured [JURIST report] Israel to avoid strikes on civilian structures in Gaza. In August Amnesty International called on Israel [JURIST report] to investigate its treatment of Palestinian detainees, alleging that two had been mistreated. In June the UN also urged Israel to end its blockade [JURIST report] of the Gaza Strip, alleging that it was violating international law.