Written Answers. - Middle East Peace Process.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

44 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the response he has received to representations made to the Israeli authorities regarding their decision to refuse to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, to visit the Palestinian Occupied Territories during April 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14824/02]

We deeply regret that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson, was unable to carry out her mission to visit the Palestinian Occupied Territories and report on the humanitarian situation there. The Government made contact twice with the Israeli authorities and spoke in the Security Council asking them to facilitate her mission. On both occasions we made it clear to the Israeli authorities that we were extremely dissatisfied that her request had been refused.

We have not received a response to date from the Israeli authorities on this subject. I understand that it is the Israeli view that the Commissioner cancelled the visit while it was still under consideration by them. In practice, and as the working session of the Commission on Human Rights was coming to an end, it was no longer possible for Mrs. Robinson and her team to carry out effectively the mission mandate to them by the Commission on Human Rights.