30 APRIL 2021
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, took note today of the Palestinian leadership’s decision to postpone Legislative Council elections scheduled for 22 May. He said that he fully understands the disappointment of the many Palestinians who have so clearly expressed a desire to exercise their democratic rights after nearly 16 years without elections.
Mr. Wennesland encouraged Palestinians to continue on the democratic path. He said that the holding of transparent and inclusive elections throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem as stipulated in prior agreements, remains essential for renewing the legitimacy and credibility of Palestinian institutions and opening the path to re-establishing Palestinian national unity. He added that setting a new and timely date for elections would be an important step in reassuring the Palestinian people that their voices will be heard.
Questions and Answers
Question: Thank you. I have a second question, Farhan. By the end of March, there are 450 Palestinians still in Israeli jail under what is called administrative detention, including two children and three [inaudible]. Three of the Palestinians held under this role are on hunger strike, including the journalist that I raised his name this week with you, Alaa al-Rimawi, who still not released. He is entering his tenth day of a hunger strike. Is Mr. Wennesland talking to the Israeli authorities about this category of detainees in Israeli jails or…
Deputy Spokesman: Yeah.
Question: … do you have any position on that?
Deputy Spokesman: We have consistently raised our concerns about people who are held in detention among the Palestinians without being charged, and the consistent position of the Office of the Special Coordinator has been that people need to be charged and face their actual legal processes or otherwise be released. And so, Mr. Wennesland would continue to convey the same message that we’ve been conveying for many years now.
For information media. Not an official record.
Document Sources: Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Global Communications, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
Subject: Children, Electoral issues, Health, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Prisoners and detainees
Publication Date: 30/04/2021
URL source: https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/db210430.doc.htm