Address by Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Third Special Session of the Human Rights Council

Geneva, 15 November 2006

Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of the Human Rights Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You will recall that at the opening of the Second Session of the Council I informed you of my forthcoming visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I am pleased to confirm that the planning of that mission has progressed expeditiously and that I will be travelling to the region next week.

From Sunday the 19th to the following Friday, I will have an opportunity to examine developments on the ground; I will conduct field visits, and hold briefings and meetings with authorities, civil society and NGOs, as well as with UN partners. Although I don’t underestimate the complexity of the situation, I hope that this will allow me to support existing activities and identify additional means to bolster the protection of human rights in the area. My primary concern will be to emphasize the obligation to protect civilians during armed confrontation, and the entitlement of all, Palestinians and Israelis alike, to live free from fear, free from want, free from harm. I look forward to a productive mission and I welcome the opportunity of sharing with you the results of my visit at the Third Session of the Human Rights Council upon my return.

Meanwhile I wish you a fruitful and constructive Special Session today.
Thank you.