Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories from 27 February to 2 March. The focus of the trip, alongside official talks, will be exchange with civil society. The Human Rights Commissioner today (27 February) issued the following statement:
Hebron is a place where the violent consequences of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian territories are particularly tangible. I will be getting an insight into the situation following the end of the TIPH observer mission. The Federal Government regrets Israel’s decision not to extend the mission after over 20 years.
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is alarming, and the area’s closure has made the supply situation and employment prospects extremely difficult. The Federal Government is active there, including via UNRWA. During my visit, I will be discussing the situation and our possibilities for providing support.
I will also be talking with representatives of the Palestinian Authority about the increasing restrictions on civil society. We support a vibrant civil society in the Palestinian territories which will play a decisive part in building up a democratic state on the way to a two state solution.
In recent years, the scope for action of NGOs in Israel critical of occupation has increasingly been curtailed. I will be addressing this in my official talks and will point out that a vibrant civil society and the protection of minorities are essential components of a democratic order.