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UN official: Israel depriving Palestinians of basic rights

[JURIST] Israel is depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights using security as an excuse, a top United Nations [official website] official told reporters Tuesday. Hina Jilani [ABA profile], special representative of Secretary General Kofi Annan [official profile], accused Israel of using security imperatives to block lawyers, journalists and human rights activists from observing and preventing potential human rights abuses. She also warned Israel that the lack of peace in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would not excuse non-compliance with international humanitarian law [ICRC backgrounder] standards. A spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] stressed that Israel was "a democracy in which human rights is at the very heart of the body politique" and added that a more detailed response will be issued soon. The UN also announced Tuesday [UN press release] that Jilani will undertake a fact-finding mission to the Israeli occupied zone at the invitation of the Israeli government [official website, English version; CIA profile]. AFP has more.

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