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8 April 2002
Press Release

Commission on Human Rights
58th session
8 April 2002

The Commission on Human Rights this afternoon continued its debate on the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world by hearing statements from representatives of Governments and non-governmental organizations about alleged violations in specific countries and regions.

Many delegates defended their Governments' records of human rights promotion and respect and some highlighted the human rights violations committed in other countries. Some delegations also spoke against what they termed as selectivity and double standards used by some States in the Commission.

Violations were alleged in Iraq, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Colombia, China, Cuba, the Republic of Chechnya, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Pakistan, Israel, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the occupied Palestinian territories and parts of Israel, Sudan, East Timor, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Haiti, Turkish-occupied Cyprus, the United States and in developed countries.

The representatives of the following countries contributed to the debate: Norway, New Zealand, India, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Tunisia, the United States, Belarus, Australia, Cyprus, Greece, Qatar, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan and Latvia.

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: World Union for Progressive Judaism; International Fellowship of Reconciliation; Arab Organization for Human Rights; Aliran Kesedaran Negara: National Consciousness Movement; and Transnational Radical Party.

Exercising their right to reply were the Czech Republic, Eritrea, Thailand, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference), Pakistan, Swaziland, China, Sudan, Germany, Cyprus and Argentina.

When the Commission reconvenes at 10 a.m., it will continue its debate on the question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world.



WALID A. NASR (Lebanon) said that the Commission had adopted resolution 10/2001 on the situation of Lebanese detainees in Israel, calling on Israel to release all Lebanese detainees and requesting the Secretary-General to report to the Commission on the implementation by Israel of this resolution. The report of the Secretary-General indicated that in May 2001 the Secretary-General sent a note verbale to the Government of Israel requesting information on the implementation of the resolution. The report indicated that no response had been received by the Government of Israel by the date of the publication of the report. This attitude by Israel was not new, Israel had always disregarded UN resolutions.

Lebanese detainees were held in solitary confinement and subjected to torture in Israeli prisons. Scores of Lebanese citizens had been transferred into prisons in Israel, where they were held without trial. Others who had completed their prison terms were not freed, but were used as bargaining chips. Another issue of concern was mines in southern Lebanon. During its occupation of southern Lebanon, Israel had planted thousands of land mines, causing numerous victims among the civilian population. Lebanon had asked Israel to provide it with maps indicating their location. Israel, however, did not give Lebanon these maps. Lebanon continued to demand all the maps from Israel. Israel continued to refuse to hand over these maps.

YASSIR SID AHMED (Sudan) said that every country in the world suffered from violations of human rights, particularly in the, which had left a negative notion of human rights. The international community, particularly the pioneering States, should stop the human rights violations in the Middle East. ...


BADR ABDEL ATTY (Egypt) said that it rejected the targeting of Arab and African countries by the Commission. Western countries attempted to impose a certain concept of human rights that ignored the complexity of the world and the plurality of values. The Commission's resolutions contained negative aspects which did not encourage the promotion of human rights. These resolutions ignored progress made in developing countries and the circumstances surrounding human rights violations, some of which were beyond the control of governments, such as violations caused by economic crises and globalization. The resolutions were also selective. There were no draft resolutions targeting advanced countries, despite the fact that many violations occurred in these countries. The greatest violations of human rights in the world were the Israeli violations of the rights of the Palestinian people.


LESLIE LUCK (Australia) said that in an increasingly unsettled world environment it was easy to overlook the fact that human rights abuses remained prevalent around the globe, and it was up to the international community to continue to pressure the perpetrators of those abuses until they ceased. Only then, when the inalienable rights and dignity of every human being were fostered, cherished and protected, could one be proud of the way one cared for people. Australia believed that when democracy was not allowed to flourish, human rights would suffer accordingly. The trauma of the past years made it therefore even more pertinent that every nation remain committed to the principles of truly democratic governance. Democracy, together with good governance and the rule of law, were the foundation of freedom and peace, natural custodians of human rights, and were a step towards a prosperous and equitable civil society. Human rights were violated in many countries, including Zimbabwe, Indonesia, China, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza and parts of Israel, and Sudan.


MOHAMED AL-MALKI (Qatar) said that some quarters in the Commission had been attempting to distort the reality of the violations in the occupied territories of Palestine. The fact was that barbaric atrocities were being committed by the occupying Israeli forces in the name of self-defence. Palestine had also the right to defend itself. The consciousness of the international community should be able to condemn the situation that was taking place in the occupied territories of Palestine. The Commission was urged to take additional measures to stop the human violations committed by Israel.


INSAF YASIN, of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, said she had come from the south of Lebanon to bring up the situation of the Lebanese prisoners in detention for fighting for their country. Israel had responded neither to the Secretary-General's nor the High Commissioner's calls for the end of such violations of human rights. Israel continued to defy the international community and kept these innocents detained. There was no legal nor political legitimacy to these actions. Israeli landmines, 400,000 at that, had been left by the Israeli armed forces in Lebanon. She had come to speak also about the genocide of the Palestinian people, the mistreatment of refugees and women. She called upon the Commission to act so that Israel ended these practices, which were in clear violation of all human rights and humanitarian law.



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