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Israel Says U.N. Exceeding Role by Accusing It of Rights Abuses

June 5, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Lior has accused the United Nations of overstepping its role by issuing a communique that supports Palestinian charges of human rights violations by Israel.

Lior, who represents Israel at the United Nations in Geneva, protested directly to the U.N. undersecretary-general for human rights, Antoine Blanca, at a meeting here Wednesday hours after Blanca released the communique.

It is the first time a high U.N. official has ever made such a political statement, Lior told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

It is not the role of the United Nations to make political statements, the envoy said, adding that it was “bad enough” that such U.N. agencies as the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization and the U.N. Human Rights Commission were “politicized.”

The U.N. communique followed charges made by the International Committee of the Red Cross that Israel was mistreating Palestinian prisoners, especially while under interrogation.

Cornelio Sommaruga, president of the ICRC, issued a pubic statement on May 21 calling on Israel to halt what it called the ill-treatment of prisoners and to improve the conditions of detention generally.

Sommaruga accused Israel of violating the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids physical or mental coercion of prisoners.


Blanca’s communique was issued following the undersecretary-general’s meeting with an Arab League delegation composed of representatives of Egypt and Oman, who were accompanied by Palestinian observers.

The Arab League had requested the meeting to complain about the alleged worsening of human rights violations in the Israel-administered territories, particularly the treatment of civilians and detainees.

The delegation called for action by the international community.

According to the communique, Blanca advised the Arab delegation that the appropriate U.N. organ in this case was the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, which derived its mandate from the General Assembly in 1968.

Blanca said, however, that the Special Committee was unable to exercise its mandate to date because of Israel’s refusal to cooperate.

“It has been obliged to visit neighboring countries in order to hear testimony from witnesses coming from the occupied territories,” the communique said. The last such visits were to Syria, Jordan and Egypt from April 29 to May 10.

Blanca’s communique said that he called the attention of the Arab League delegation to the Special Committee’s report of May 10 which expressed concern over “the persistence of serious human rights violations in the territories, despite Israel’s declared policy of reconciliation.”

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