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Réfugiés et IDP - débat de la 3ème commission de l'AG - Communiqué de presse (extraits) Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
8 November 2007

General Assembly

          Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly
Third Committee
39th & 40th Meetings (AM & PM)


WAEL ATTIYA ( Egypt) said the right to resist occupation was no less sacred than the right to self-defence, particularly in the face of those who sought to impose illegal situations on the ground, while relying on economic or military muscle in a flagrant violation of the international commitment to promote respect for democracy and human rights. The situation in the Middle East was an example, with Israel continuing to prevent the Palestinian people from exercising their right to self-determination while blowing its own horn about its fake democracy, founded on the occupation of the lands of others and a deprivation of their most basic rights.


Reviewing the situation in the Middle East, he said the role of the United Nations in dealing with the human rights of the Palestinian people must be invigorated. Through its role in the Quartet, the Organization needed to be more broadly and seriously engaged in confidence-building efforts until a just, comprehensive and lasting peace was attained.



He said "gross and systematic violations of human rights" in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were still a matter of deep concern, and the international community should remain seized of that matter until the end of the occupation. Parts of the racist activities of the occupying Power, Israel, had been reflected in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in that Territory. That such violations occurred under the international watch was a travesty. The General Assembly had to speak up for the human rights of the Palestinian people and demand an end to Israel's continued grave violations of human rights. More than ever, joint action against racism was indispensable to bring about fruitful results.


AMMAR HIJAZI, Observer for Palestine, said that the Palestinian people had been the victims of racism for nearly a century.  Following their forcible expulsion from their homeland, the Palestinian nation was now made up of millions of refugees.  Their right to return to their homes was denied, as it posed a supposed danger to the intention to keep one State “exclusive to one race” at the expense of another.   Israel was enacting laws granting others the right to a “so-called” return based on religion and race -- a policy driven by a mentality in which discrimination on the basis of religion and race was inherent, not accidental.  The forty-year occupation had turned into an illegitimate, institutional system of colonization, racial discrimination and apartheid, he said.

Israel’s oppressive “permit” system was a “morally indignant replica” of apartheid’s “pass system.”  That country’s construction of a separation wall translated into cold, hard cement the Israeli Government’s racist ideology of separation, as well as exclusivity, and made the establishment of an independent Palestinian State impossible, thus reinforcing the racist practice that security and prosperity for one nation had to be achieved through the exploitation, subjugation, and suppression of another.  He said that achieving freedom for the people of Palestine, through the exercise of the inalienable right to self-determination, was the only solution to begin correcting decades of oppression, laden with racist ideology and attitudes.

MEIRAV EILON SHAHAR ( Israel) said that today, notions of racial superiority were not merely anachronistic, but more importantly, morally unjustifiable and universally condemned.  Israel, a signatory since 1979 to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, took great pride in the pluralism, openness and diversity of its society.  To look at the global situation, racism and xenophobia had become more acute, particularly anti-semitism.  Worldwide, there had been 590 cases of deliberate violence and vandalism against Jews, an increase of 31 per cent from the previous year, with the most incidents in Europe and the Middle East.  Iran had increased its campaign on Holocaust denial, holding a conference in December 2006 on that topic, organized by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  It had been nothing less than a political tirade against the State of Israel and Jews.  In contrast, on 26 January 2007, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution against denial of the Holocaust (document A/RES/61/255) that sent a clear message to Holocaust deniers that hatred and sheer racism were unacceptable.



He went on to say that India maintained its unwavering support for the Palestinian people to attain their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination. India had consistently urged the resumption of a face-to-face dialogue between the parties, based on the principles set out by the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace process.


WARIF HALABI ( Syria) drew attention to the use of modern technology and communications in a way that maligned certain religions and cultures, and glorified one culture over others.  Such a situation was a wake-up call to the international community.  International security was threatened by racial hatred.  The targeting of Arabs and Muslims, in the context of a war on terrorism, was a case in point that had to be looked at.  Racist practices and racial discrimination had increased in a blatant and serious way.  Killings had been continuing on a daily basis against the Palestinian people, in a feverish attempt to liquidate their just cause, and to colonize illegitimate settlements that were still being built on their land with a view of changing the democratic fabric there.  The most evident proof of Israel’s racist practices had been the racist separation wall, which flew in the face of the international legitimacy that had given birth to Israel.

She said the United Nations had supervised the “caesarean birth of Israel”, but it had failed to “nurture” it; that fact had been referred to by such authoritative international figures as former United States President Jimmy Carter and the former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Syria looked forward to the Durban Review Conference, in order to stand up to such serious phenomena and to eliminate them.  The right to self-determination had been guaranteed in the Charter of the United Nations and in General Assembly resolutions.  It was saddening that the United Nations, while giving serious attention to the right of self-determination of small islands with populations of a few thousand people, had failed to hold Israel accountable for denying the Palestinians that same right –- a right that was not open to interpretation.


The representative of Kuwait said that the policy of his delegation was to use Arabic in all interventions in the Third Committee, but that he would make an exception and speak English this time.  The Israeli delegate had mentioned the situation in 1991, but it was an unwise attempt to sow doubts regarding his delegation’s support of the Palestinian people.  It was worth noting that, on an Israeli delegation website, the title of Professor John Dugard was only listed as a “United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteur”, but for what issue, he asked.  Only God and the rest of the world knew.  Unless Israel withdrew its occupation, it could count on Kuwait and the rest of world to bring matters of international human rights law to the international human rights forums.


Palestinian refugees in Iraq had been dramatically targeted, he said.  Some communities in that country had linked Palestinians with the old regime, and that made no sense at all.  More than 600 Palestinians had been killed violently, mainly in the Baghdad area.  That was a key protection concern.  Some countries had proposed solutions –- Sudan had offered 1,500 resettlement opportunities –- and the Palestinian Authority had shown an open and constructive attitude. ...

Regarding Palestinian refugees living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, they fell under the competence of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he said.  UNHCR worked very well with that Agency, complementing each other to the greatest extent possible.


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For information media • not an official record

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