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85th plenary meeting
Friday, 26 January 2007, 10 a.m.
Mr. Gharibi (Islamic Republic of Iran): I wish to place on the record my delegation’s deep concern over, and rejection of, the attempts made by certain members to misuse the General Assembly’s procedure to raise an issue that has never been on the agenda of its sixty-first session and that has no relevance to the agenda item under which the draft resolution at hand has been submitted.
There is every reason to believe that today’s attempt is both procedurally and substantively flawed. Indeed, the intention behind this move can by no means be regarded as a genuine one. The main sponsor’s aim in presenting this draft resolution to the Assembly lies in its mischievous intention to pursue its narrow political interests through all means, including the misuse of this body.
If the thrust of the draft resolution is to condemn the crime of genocide, the Assembly, through a great number of resolutions, has already addressed that grave concern. Like many other countries, we have condemned genocide against any race or ethnic or religious group, as a crime against humanity. We reiterate that unambiguous position in this meeting today. In our view, there is no justification for genocide of any kind. Nor can there be any justification for the attempts made by some, particularly by the Israeli regime, to exploit past crimes as a pretext to commit new genocides and crimes. Moreover, many abhorrent cases of genocide that have regrettably occurred throughout history necessitate a thorough and comprehensive examination by the international community in order to prevent the recurrence of such crimes in the future.
Imposing a restrictive approach on such an examination will certainly not serve this purpose. Only by studying objectively what happened in the past can we ensure that such crimes will never be repeated. Undoubtedly, addressing historical events of horrific enormity with a view to avoiding their recurrence requires a commensurate degree of research, scrutiny and rigour. The seriousness and sincerity of that endeavour will indeed be undermined by rendering political judgements on such events and closing the door to any inquiry on their characteristics, scope and extent.
The basic principles of democracy, including the right to freedom of expression and belief, should pave the way for exploring different aspects of historical events without any arbitrary restrictions. Moreover, genocide and the immense suffering associated with that horrific crime should not be manipulated for political purposes.
Regrettably, the Israeli regime has routinely attempted to exploit the sufferings of the Jewish people in the past as a cover for the crimes it has perpetrated over the past six decades against Palestinians in the occupied territories, including massacre, targeted assassination, ethnic cleansing and State terrorism. The international community should take strong action against the atrocious crimes of that regime and not allow it to manipulate humanitarian sentiments to pursue its illegitimate goals.
We are of the view that the main aims behind submitting this draft resolution are anything but a true concern for genocide or the suffering it brings about. Had that been the case, the main sponsors of the draft resolution would necessarily have referred to other cases of genocide perpetrated in various parts of the world in the past and at present, especially the crimes perpetrated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Palestine, Rwanda and the Balkans, all of which have inflicted enormous suffering and pain on mankind.
In view of the aforementioned, we fully dissociate ourselves from this entire hypocritical political exercise.
The President: We have heard the only speaker in explanation of position before action is taken on the draft resolution. The Assembly will now take action on draft resolution A/61/L.53, entitled “Holocaust denial”. May I take it that the Assembly decides to adopt the draft resolution A/61/L.53?
Draft resolution A/61/L.53 was adopted (resolution 61/255).
The President: Before giving the floor to delegations wishing to speak in explanation of position on the resolution just adopted, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.
Mr. Palavicini-Guédez (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) (spoke in Spanish): The delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela joined the consensus on the adoption of resolution 61/255, in keeping with our constitution and with historical Bolivarian principles. Likewise, we supported resolution 60/7 and its explanatory memorandum (A/60/194, annex I), which stated, in its paragraph 2, that the Holocaust was “a systematic and barbarous attempt to annihilate an entire people, in a manner and magnitude that have no parallel in human history”.
Under that definition, millions of human beings were the victims of the Holocaust during the Second World War. That is also why we had to support this resolution. The deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a Holocaust as well, which is why we must remember them.
Moreover, that definition should cause us to reflect on the holocaust perpetrated, little by little, against the Palestinian people. The General Assembly has repeatedly acknowledged the abuses and excesses that, in the name of self-defence, have made the victims of the Holocaust the perpetrators of a new holocaust against the Palestinians. We must also remember the slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun and Gaza on 16 November 2006, which shocked the conscience of the General Assembly and of the Human Rights Council. Those facts are part of a holocaust in stages.
The meeting rose at 11.05 a.m.