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12 April 2002
UN human rights expert alarmed by reports of alleged killings by Israeli forces in Jenin

12 April – A United Nations human rights expert today voiced alarm over reports of alleged extrajudicial and summary executions by Israeli forces in connection with recent operations in the Jenin refugee camp.

"There is an urgent need to investigate the allegations promptly," said Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in a statement released in Geneva.

While noting that the scale of killings and fatalities has been disputed by the Government of Israel, which justifies its operation as "defensive shield," Ms. Jahangir said the area remains off-limits to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the media.

"Independent observers are being urged by the Palestinians to visit the site and verify the allegations, but such initiatives have been blocked by the Israeli Government," she said.

Continued denial of access by Israel "will only lend further credibility to the allegations made by independent sources," the Special Rapporteur pointed out. "It is now urgent that the visiting mission led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, be allowed to carry out its tasks as mandated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights."


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