Makarim Wibisono, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories, resigned from his post last week, citing Israel’s refusal to grant him access to the territories covered by his mandate.
After tendering his resignation, Wibisono attributed his decision to "the non-cooperation by Israel with my mandate, as well as other UN mandates it dislikes", which, he said, "signals a continuation of a situation under which Palestinians suffer daily human rights violations under the Israeli occupation".
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Wibisono asserted: "Palestinians, especially the young generation who were born under occupation and into a situation of conflict, need hope for the future. Israel, as the occupying power, must realize that peace… starts with respect for human rights."
He went on to predict more Israeli-Palestinian violence as long as Israel continued to build Jewish settlements on Palestinian land; subjected Palestinians to mass arrest; restricted Palestinian movement; gave its security forces carte blanche to use excessive force; maintained its blockade of the war-battered Gaza Strip; and continued to turn a blind eye to frequent rights violations.
Israeli officials, for their part, have accused Wibisino -- and the UN Human Rights Council in general -- of harboring an anti-Israel bias.
In a statement issued following the rapporteur’s resignation, the UN said that Wibisino had voiced "deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law".
Born in 1947 in the Indonesian city of Mataram, Wibisono had previously served as the UN’s permanent representative of Indonesia in New York (1997-2000) and in Geneva (2004-2007).
He also worked as executive director of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foundation in Jakarta (2011-2014) and as chairperson of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) counter-terrorism task force (2003-2004).
Since 2009, he has also served as adviser to the International Human Rights Commission of Jakarta in Indonesia.