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Agenda item 70: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)*
Agenda item 70: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued ) (A/60/111, 263, 268 and 319)
16. Mr. Osmane (Algeria) ...
17. The right of peoples to self-determination was one of the mandatory norms of international law and was inscribed in the Charter and other international instruments. The Organization owed its universality to the application of that principle, which had enabled many peoples throughout the world, including the Algerian people, to shake off the colonial yoke and attain independence. Decolonization nevertheless remained incomplete so long as the Palestinian and Western Saharan peoples were prevented from exercising that right. ...
20. Mr. Bernaza Fernández (Cuba) ...
21. Cuba supported the Puerto Rican and Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination. ...
28. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine) said that Palestine’s experience with racism and racial discrimination dated back to the year 1948, when more than 800,000 Palestinians had been forced to flee their historical homeland. Fifty-seven years later, four million Palestinian refugees were still waiting for the international community to award them the same rights as other refugees.
29. Israel’s laws on return and nationality granted the right of immigration and citizenship to any person of the Jewish faith born anywhere in the world. Yet Palestinian refugees were denied the right to return to their homeland, as outlined in countless international resolutions.
30. Israel had funded and defended the creation of exclusively Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which it was a party. It had even institutionalized a network of Israeli-only roads. Leading Israeli politicians and religious figures were permitted to make racist remarks against Palestinians without the slightest reproach and Israeli courts repeatedly passed light or suspended sentences against Israeli settlers and soldiers found guilty of murdering or brutalizing Palestinian civilians.
31. Israel’s racist practices and policies had culminated in the erection of the colonial wall in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Those policies stripped Palestinians of their land, natural resources and basic elements of life such as schools and hospitals in order to grant rights and properties to Jewish Israeli settlers.
32. To cleanse itself of such racism, Israel must recognize its responsibility for the suffering it had caused the Palestinian people over the years. The international community also had a responsibility to ensure that all peoples were entitled to a life free of racial discrimination and policies driven by an irrational sense of racial, religious or ethnic supremacy.
33. Mr. Elbadri (Egypt) said that the right of self-determination was a basic principle of international law recognized by numerous international instruments. It was a collective right that was a prerequisite for many individual rights. It was the foundation of democracy, just as occupation and colonialism were the natural enemies of democracy. The international community should take every opportunity to reaffirm the right to self-determination, and should be on constant guard against it being subverted for political reasons.
34. That right was not a gift but an inalienable right that applied as much to the Palestinians as to any other people suffering under the yoke of occupation. The failure of the international community to enable the Palestinian people to exercise that right constituted a form of discrimination against a people that had struggled so long to establish its own State on its own national soil. Although the recent withdrawal of occupation forces from Gaza and parts of the West Bank had created a relatively positive climate, the cycle of violence continued because of economic strangulation, partition, siege, encirclement by the separation wall, and Israel’s continued obstruction of genuine implementation of the road map.
35. Israel’s continued occupation was contrary to the natural flow of history. The age of occupation and colonialism had ended, but the Palestinian people continued to be barred from entering the age of democracy and freedom. Denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination only served to exacerbate regional tensions, extremism and hatred between peoples. Granting them that right could serve as a model for efforts to guarantee human rights in other regions.
36. Mr. Abusif (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that, despite international efforts, racism continued to be practised in many places, even if sometimes concealed from view. Refugees and indigenous peoples were victims of racism, as were increasing numbers of migrant workers. It was saddening that States that had signed human rights instruments were able to violate them with impunity. Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people, which included brutalization, home demolition and expulsion, were the height of discrimination. The racist separation wall was dividing the Palestinian people into two, while the Israelis continued to ignore General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 on that matter, as it had other United Nations resolutions and international instruments.
42. Mr. Akram (Pakistan) ...
44. The peoples of Jammu, Kashmir and Palestine had all been prevented from exercising their right to self-determination. ...
46. Ms. Halabi (Syrian Arab Republic) said that both the elimination of racism and the right of peoples to self-determination had been central concerns of the United Nations since its founding. Racism historically had been the root of much of the world’s evil, and in the present day, racism against Arabs and Muslims under the guise of combating terrorism was particularly disturbing. The Special Rapporteur’s report (A/60/283) was very informative in this regard. It was also saddening that in the twenty-first century, entire peoples continued to be deprived of their right to self-determination.
47. The Middle East, birthplace of the three revealed religions and cradle of human civilizations, had always been a model for ethnic and cultural coexistence. Syrian citizens today enjoyed complete equality of rights and duties, and the Syrian Constitution and laws affirmed the importance of combating racism in all its forms. The Syrian Arab Republic was also a party to all international instruments on the elimination of racism.
48.48. Syria supported the struggle of peoples under colonial rule and foreign occupation for their right to self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter, many General Assembly resolutions and the International Covenants on Human Rights. But volumes of resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict had not resulted in self-determination for the Palestinian people in the face of Israel’s expansionist policies, continued violations of the Charter and international law, and the lack of international pressure. The end of Israeli occupation of Arab lands, including the occupied Syrian Golan, and the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination on their national soil with Jerusalem as their capital were necessary for security and stability in a region considered a barometer of world peace.
49. Ms. Bachchan (India) ...
51. Regarding the right of peoples to self-determination, India had played a leading role in the struggle for decolonization. In the case of Palestine, India maintained its unwavering support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people to attain their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination. Her delegation fully supported the peace process and the road map.
62. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that the world continued to witness the emergence of many new forms of discrimination and injustice. Throughout the 38 years of Israeli occupation, the Palestinian people had endured constant threats to their national existence and systematic violations of their human rights, both individual and collective. In the previous five years, the human rights violations by the occupying Power had increased dramatically in scale and intensity and the Israeli forces had given no indication of reducing the harshness of their occupation. The Palestinian people continued to be denied not only their right to national identity on their own land but their most fundamental rights as well, including the right to life.
63. The Palestinian people were also being denied their right to self-determination. It was imperative to recall the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, by which Israel was under an obligation to cease construction of the wall, dismantle the structure, repeal or render ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto and make reparation for all damage caused by its construction. Regrettably, in violation of the Court’s ruling and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15, Israel had continued to confiscate Palestinian land and construct the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, thereby swallowing up land required for a future Palestinian state and making the vision of a two-State solution virtually impossible.
64. She therefore called upon the international community to bring an end to the Israeli occupation and all its illegal practices and policies, so as to make way for the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Her delegation was again submitting its draft resolution entitled, “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” and trusted that the Member States would send a strong message in solidarity with the Palestinian people by adopting it by consensus.
The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.