Ten months after it severed ties with the U.N.’s top human rights body – accusing it of hypocrisy and bias – Israel looked set Tuesday to become the first U.N. member state to boycott the council’s review of its human rights record.
As of early Tuesday, it was unclear whether the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (HRC) would go ahead with Israel’s “universal periodic review” in its absence, and attempts to get a response from its spokesman were unsuccessful.
All 193 members of the world body are expected to undergo a UPR once every four years, and Israel’s non-attendance would be unprecedented.
The Obama administration, a keen supporter of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and its UPR process, has urged Israel to reconsider and take part.
The HRC’s official itinerary still has “review of Israel” marked down for the Tuesday afternoon time slot, and the council’s “adoption” of the Israel report is scheduled for Thursday.
If the UPR goes ahead, it will likely see delegates line up to criticize Israel over policies in the disputed territories, including the security barrier it began building in 2002 between areas under its control and those administered by the Palestinian Authority in a bid to deter suicide bombings, and the security blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
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