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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
5 December 2001
Geneva Convention applies to Palestinian territories, top UN rights official says
5 December - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, today called again for the establishment of an international monitoring presence in the occupied Palestinian territories to ensure that global human rights standards were being observed.
"It is important to emphasize that neither the Israeli policy of targeted assassination of Palestinian civilians, nor Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians, can be reconciled with provisions of international humanitarian law," including the Fourth Geneva Convention, Mrs. Robinson said in a statement to the conference of so-called High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Convention.
The High Commissioner noted that UN bodies such as the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights have repeatedly reaffirmed the "de jure applicability" of the Convention to the occupied Palestinian territories.
"The protection of the victims should be the overriding concern of the UN and its agencies and programmes," she said, pointing out that Article 1 of the Convention placed a duty on the High Contracting Parties "to respect and ensure respect of" the provisions of the Convention "in all circumstances."
To meet this challenge, the High Commissioner said, legal and diplomatic mechanisms were available under the UN Charter, in addition to those created by the Convention itself.