UN rights body to hold special session over Mideast violence

AP International News

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights body said Thursday it will hold a special session next week to address “the grave human rights situation” in Palestinian areas of Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Human Rights Council will convene the May 27 meeting following a request presented by Pakistan, as coordinator of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

The session at the 47-member-state body in Geneva paves the way for a daylong debate over the recent deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the Mideast conflict that has raged for decades.

More than 60 states — including member states and observers — have so far expressed support for the special session, council spokesman Rolando Gomez said.

Twenty member states agreed to hold the special session, clearing the requirement that at least one-third of them agree to hold the session, he said.

The special session is the 30th at the council, and the ninth on the issue of the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” alone — the last was in May 2018. The council’s most recent special session, on Myanmar, was held in February.

The United States, under President Donald Trump, quit the council in mid-2018 — partially over his administration’s allegations that the council has an anti-Israel bias. President Joe Biden has returned the U.S. to participation at the council, and the U.S. plans to seek a seat next year.

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