U.N. to probe Palestinian rights situation

Feb. 10, 2012 at 9:55 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A tour of the Palestinian territories will provide a better understanding of the effects of "disturbing" violence from Israeli settlers, a U.N. envoy said.

Richard Falk, the U.N. special envoy on human rights in the Palestinian territories, started his tour of the region Friday to assess the ramifications of human rights issues "connected to Israel's occupation of Palestine."

Falk is to meet with government officials and independent experts from the region to gather evidence for his June report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

"This mission will focus particularly on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the human rights implications of prolonged refugee status, disturbing patterns of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their properties, as well as the conditions and treatment of Palestinians detained by Israel," he said in a statement.

Palestinian leaders made an unsuccessful bid for independence last year at the U.N. General Assembly.

Hamas, in charge of Gaza Strip, and Fatah, in charge of the West Bank, announced plans this week to form a unity government. The factions signed a reconciliation agreement in May with the aim of having elections for a unity government within a year.

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