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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 9th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Friday, 22 September 2006, at 10 a.m.
President: Mr. DE ALBA (Mexico)
later: Mr. LOULICHKI (Morocco)
The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders (E/CN.4/2006/95 and Add.1, Corr.1 and 2, and Add.2-5)
78. Ms. JILANI (Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders), ...
83. Her second country visit during the reporting period had been to Israel, and her report (E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.3) described the conditions under which human rights defenders worked both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The dominant concern for human rights defenders, even among many Israeli organizations, was the violation of the human rights of the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation. The solidarity and cooperation that existed between human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory was inspiring.
84. While the Government of Israel generally respected the rights of Israeli human rights defenders and did not restrict their activities in Israel, it showed less tolerance for their activities aimed at protecting the rights of the population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the Territory itself, human rights defenders operated at great risk and encountered serious obstacles to every aspect of their work. She had received credible accounts of serious harm, including killings, and violations of many rights, including freedom of expression and movement, suffered by human rights defenders. At the same time, the difficulties experienced by human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were compounded by the failure of the Palestinian Authority to respect human rights and the rule of law in the areas under its control.
85. While the exceptional conditions resulting from conflict and occupation called for a more active human rights community, the prospects for peace and security in the region were being diminished by the constraints placed on the freedom to defend human rights. She had made recommendations to both the Government and Israel and the Palestinian Authority; she had also called upon the United Nations to take note of the situation of human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and had recommended measures for their protection.
99. Mr. LEVANON (Observer for Israel), drew attention to the report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on her visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in October 2005 and welcomed in particular her findings regarding Israeli democracy and the corresponding freedoms of expression and action that existed and were protected by Israeli laws. The Special Rapporteur’s assessment of the difficulties that human rights defenders faced in the Palestinian Authority raised concern, and he hoped that Palestinian society would seriously reflect on her recommendations in that regard. Regrettably, Israel’s security concerns had not diminished after its full disengagement from Gaza the previous year, and might even have increased. Israeli towns, villages and civilians continued to be targeted daily by rockets launched from Palestinian territory. Israel continued to make efforts to ensure that its justified responses to such attacks met the recommendations set forth in the Special Rapporteur’s report, and hoped that the violence in the region would soon abate and that implementation of the road map would result in a two-State solution characterized by peaceful coexistence.