Ban renews call for Israeli cooperation with UN Gaza human rights probe

2 June 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has renewed his call for Israel’s cooperation with the team mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to probe alleged rights abuses and violations of international law during the recent conflict in Gaza, his spokesperson said today. The team, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, is currently on a week-long trip to the area, the first of its planned field visits. On Friday, it announced it would enter Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing point.Mr. Ban discussed the issue with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a meeting yesterday in New York. “On the Gaza fact-finding mission, the Secretary-General renewed his call for cooperation from Israel,” his spokesperson, Michele Montas, told reporters today. Access and movement issues relating to Gaza, the importance of the peace process, Lebanon, and the upcoming report on Security Council Resolution 1701 – which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbollah – were also discussed, Ms. Montas said.In addition, the two also talked about the four-member UN Board of Inquiry, led by Ian Martin of the United Kingdom, which examined incidents involving death and damage at the world body’s premises in Gaza during Israel’s military operation.Ms. Montas said the Secretary-General is following up on cases covered by the Board’s report, a summary of which Mr. Ban forwarded to the Security Council in early May.Mr. Ban has also instructed the UN Legal Counsel to start preparing and formulating claims to compensation for the losses sustained by the Organization in incidents investigated by the Board, she added. On a related matter, the spokesperson said that none of the $11 million in assessed damages to the UN’s Gaza facilities had been received yet.

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