GENEVA, Switzerland - The 42nd session of the Human Rights Council opened in Geneva on Monday and a range of issues and crises were discussed.
Whilst many of the dramas engulfing many countries around the world have received prominent media coverage, one issue that hasn't was referred to in the opening global update delivered by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, where she spoke of discrimination against Palestinians by the actions of the Israeli government in relation to settlements, and the settlers themselves.
The issue was not given prominence among the many issues canvassed but stood out as it is not one usually picked up by, or highlighted by the international media.
"In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the continued expansion of settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, and has severe impact on the human rights of Palestinians. I am particularly concerned by very high levels of settler violence, and Israel's failure to adequately protect Palestinians from such attacks, or hold the perpetrators to account," Bachelet said.
"Demolitions of homes have recently increased, under the Israeli zoning and planning framework which discriminates heavily against Palestinians. So far this year, at least 481 people have been displaced as a result of demolitions, already exceeding the 472 displaced in all of 2018. Settler violence, demolitions and forced evictions all contribute to an environment which coerces Palestinians to leave their homes. In this context, I also note with concern a number of recent calls by Israeli officials for annexation of all or part of the West Bank."
"I continued to be alarmed by reports of unlawful killings and injuries of Palestinians by Israeli security forces across the entire occupied territory, accompanied by a lack of full accountability for instances of possible excessive use of force," the high commissioner said in her address.
"Moreover, my Office remains concerned that the targeting of human rights defenders, including with travel bans, delegitimising statements and reports, interrogation, detention and ill-treatment, by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza has increased, resulting in further shrinking of civil society space."
(Photo credit: Abed al-Hashlamoun | EPA).