17 JUNE 2020

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of 17 June 2020 noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Farhan.  I want to go back to the report of the children and armed conflict.  In that item, it’s called Israel and the State of Palestine.  I am looking for a justification why they stand both entities together, why Israel and Palestine came under one item.  When we talk about, for example, 1,565 children were… their rights were violated, only 6 Israelis.  When they talk about killing, there were 32 Palestinians and 1 Israeli dead.  When they talk about detention, they are all Palestinian and none of them Israeli.  Putting them together under one file has a malicious intention, to put them in one basket and say this is the number of children whose rights were violated.  Why not separate them?  I need a justification from Ms. Virginia Gamba.

Deputy Spokesman:  On that, I… the report itself explains its methodologies and its… and I would simply refer you to the text of the report, which explains all of the various violations that it records and is essentially self‑explanatory.  Beyond that, in terms of why it’s written, we put that… the contents, the work that is being done, the research that’s being done, in the hands of Ms. Gamba and her office.  She described the work that she did, and she also, I believe, answered your questions on the… and Ibtisam’s questions on the Israeli‑Palestinian parts of the report in her briefing to you on Monday.  So, I would simply refer you to that.  But, the Secretary‑General… as you know, the report goes out in his name, and he fully supports the work that the team has done on it.

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Question:  Thank you, Farhan, again.  The statement issued by 50 UN human rights independent experts about the annexation of the West Bank on 1 July by Israel — have you received the letter, that the SG’s shared this letter?  It concludes that… it enumerates the number of human rights violations that come from Israeli [inaudible] Palestinian — it records at least about 20, at least, areas of violation.  And it also put the blame on the United States for protecting such a country.  Is that country qualified to talk to people about human rights [inaudible] on what shouldn’t… what this party should do or shouldn’t?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, as regards to the views of the human rights rapporteurs, their views are in their own independent expertise, and I have nothing further to say in terms of comment about that.  The Secretary‑General’s own views and the views of Nickolay Mladenov and the other senior officials dealing with this are clear.  We have been opposed to annexation.  We’re opposed to unilateral steps that harm the two‑State solution.  And as we get closer to the start of July, if there’s anything further that needs to be said from our end, we will say it.  But, you’ll have seen what we’ve said, including in the briefings to the Security Council and in the remarks by the Secretary‑General, and we stick to those.

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For information media. Not an official record.