From: Exit Staff
UN Human Rights Agency Have Visa Renewals Refused by Israel

Israel has stopped issuing visas to the United Nations Human Rights Agency, Aljazeera reports.

The country’s director of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was forced to leave after his visa was not renewed by the authorities.

According to reports, the visas of the remaining three employees are due to expire in the coming months.

Israel suspended its ties with the UN agency in February after the agency published a list of more than 100 companies working in illegal settlements in the West Bank.

“Forcing [out] human right monitoring groups are part of a clear strategy that aims to muzzle documentation of Israel’s systematic repression of Palestinians,” Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera.

Shakir, who is currently based in Amman after being expelled from Israel after claims he supported calls for a boycott, said it is part of a wider trend in which other human rights activists are being denied entry due to their criticism of Israel’s human rights record.

Shakir said that human rights activist will continue to work as “strongly” as before, adding that if Israel’s goal was to silence criticism it had failed.

“The reality is that silencing human rights activists …often only brings more attention to those issues,” he said.