UNs top human rights official calls for Israeli withdrawal from refugee camps

Backing a statement issued yesterday by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights today called on Israel to withdraw from refugee camps in the Palestinian towns of Nablus and Jenin, while urging all concerned to promote a political settlement. High Commissioner Mary Robinson, currently travelling in Cairo, expressed “dismay” at the incursion, which killed some 17 Palestinians – injuring many more – and one Israeli soldier “in total disregard of international human rights and humanitarian law.” She joined Mr. Annan in calling on the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to withdraw from the refugee camps, end attacks on densely populated areas, and ensure full respect for the immunity of humanitarian facilities. “I view with concern the growing perception of a double-standard approach to the serious situation in the region,” said Mrs. Robinson. Stressing that the problem would only be resolved through a just political settlement based on international legality, she strongly urged all parties concerned to “redouble their efforts to find a political way forward.”

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