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Fifty-third General Assembly
39th Meeting (AM)
9 November 1998
INDIVISIBILITY AND INTERDEPENDENCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS STRESSED BY SPEAKERS
AS THIRD COMMITTEE DISCUSSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS MATTERS CONTINUE
Committee Work Programme
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to continue consideration of alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives. (For background information on reports before the Committee, see Press Releases GA/SHC/3494 of 4 November and GA/SHC/3500 of 6 November.)
ERELLA HADAR (Israel) said Israel felt a particular solidarity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which grew out of the same impulses that spawned the State of Israel. It was the horror of the Holocaust, the wanton slaughter of human life and the destruction of human dignity that forced mankind to stop and take preemptive action to prevent any such violations of humanity in the future. That impulse led to the establishment of the Universal Declaration. But the bond was more than historical. If Israel was to be a symbol of humanity's better instincts, its founders knew they must embody those instincts, enacting in practice the principles set down in the Universal Declaration.
Fundamental human rights and equality were codified into the basic legal system of the State, she said. One of the guardians of those rights was the Supreme Court, which was given the additional role of a high court of justice. The Supreme Court had taken numerous initiatives to promote the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration. It was also in a unique position to deal with issues affecting Israel's particular situation, and it often heard petitions brought by Palestinians concerning the acts of Israeli authorities in the territories under administration.
Honouring the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration, Israel was also marking the start of a new curriculum in all schools, focusing on respecting the rights of others, she said. A great triumph of human rights in the past five years had been the peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians, first signed in 1993 and implemented through a series of further agreements, the most recent of which was the Wye River Memorandum. Peace was a gateway for human rights, including those advanced in Vienna. However, after 50 years of independence, the threat of war still prevailed in Israel. In that context, she was disappointed that in comments last week, the representative of Lebanon contrived to connect human rights on the one hand with the defensive measures that Israel was forced to take in response to terrorist attacks and bombardment ofits northern border from Lebanese territory.
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