Robinson regrets Israeli decision on Jenin


THE MIDDLE EAST/UN: Israel's refusal to allow a UN mission into the Jenin refugee camp undermines credibility in the UN to conduct investigations, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs Mary Robinson, said yesterday.

Mrs Robinson told a press briefing in central London it was "very regrettable" that a fact-finding mission with the support of the Security Council could not carry out its work. "I believe that there should be an investigation because no military body in these circumstances should be able to act with impunity.

"I said the same thing in Chechnya . . . in East Timor . . . The worry is if there is no accountability this will undermine the integrity of the human rights system. It will reinforce a sense of double standards. It is particularly serious because it undermines a credibility in the UN being able to engage in that kind of inquiry."

The former Irish president, addressing a joint parliamentary committee on human rights, encouraged Britain to ratify human rights protocols on race, child soldiers and child slavery.

She also delivered the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce inaugural world leaders lecture, entitled "Beyond Good Intentions: Corporate Citizenship for a New Century". She urged the business community to implement good practice in support of international human rights: "It can become one of the big ideas of this new century, an underlying principle that helps us shape the forces of globalisation in the light of shared values."