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        General Assembly
18 February 2005

Original: French

Fifty-ninth session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 34th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 2 November 2004, at 9:30.

Chairman: Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine) later: Ms. Kusorgbor, Vice-Chairman ................................... (Ghana)
later: Ms. Groux, Vice-Chairman .............................................................................................. (Switzerland)



Agenda item 105: Human rights questions (continued)

(a) Implementation of human rights instruments (continued)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms ( continued)

(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives ( continued)

(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (continued )

The meeting was called to order at 9.45 a.m.

Agenda item 98: Advancement of women (continued) (A/C.3/59/L.26)

Draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.26: Future operation of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women

1. Mr. Al-Sulaiti (Qatar), introducing draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.26 on behalf of its sponsors, pointed out that, despite human- and financial-resource constraints, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women had completed the first phase of its revitalization within 10 months of the appointment of its new Director. He was convinced that, with cooperation from all Member States, the Institute would be able to surmount its current difficulties and urged them to make voluntary contributions to its trust fund, particularly during the current critical transition, so as to help the Institute to fulfil its mandate. He read out the revisions made by the Group of 77 and China. At the end of paragraph 2, they had added the words “particularly to address the challenges facing women in developing countries and least developed countries in all regions”. In addition, after paragraph 4, a new paragraph should be inserted with the following wording: “ Requests also that the Institute in the formulation of the future programme and the projects take into account the particular challenges facing women in developing countries and least developed countries in different regions;”.

Agenda item 105: Human rights questions (continued)


(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (continued ) (A/59/255, 319, 320, 323, 327, 328, 341, 360, 366, 377, 385, 401, 402-404, 422, 428, 432, 436 and 525)

(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (continued ) (A/59/256, 269, 311, 316, 340, 352, 367, 370, 378, 389 and 413; A/C.3/59/3 and 4)

(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ( continued) (A/59/36)


25. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that the promotion and protection of human rights were essential to peace, prosperity and justice in any society. It was therefore distressing to have to address the Committee year after year regarding the plight of the Palestinian population, whose rights continued to be denied. Her delegation welcomed the unwavering commitment shown by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 in revealing the deplorable situation of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

26. The occupation had been transformed into a brutal form of colonization, denying the Palestinian people their fundamental rights. She also referred to the plight of Palestinian refugees, who had endured great injustices for over 50 years.

27. Throughout the period covered by the report, Israel had continued relentlessly to commit human rights violations, war crimes and State terrorism against the Palestinian people. Over 3,440 Palestinians, including women and children, had been killed since September 2000 and more than 50,000 had been injured, thousands of whom had been permanently disabled. The occupying Power had continued to detain thousands of people, subjecting them to severe harassment, abuse and even torture. Today, more than 6,000 Palestinians (including many women and children) were being held in Israeli detention centres in deplorable conditions. Checkpoints, closures and curfews had had a major impact on the Palestinian economy. Such policies had prevented hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from going about their daily business for prolonged periods, while the restrictions imposed on freedom of movement were a source of constant humiliation and suffering.

28. The occupying Power had also continued with the widespread destruction throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, of homes and infrastructure, including water and electricity networks, particularly in the Rafah refugee camp. The destruction of property in connection with the building of the wall had been extensive, leaving thousands of Palestinians dispossessed. In its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice had ruled that the wall was illegal, violated humanitarian and human rights law, and undermined the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. The building of the wall must be seen in the context of Israel’s 37-year-old illegal settlement campaign throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; there were now close to 400,000 illegal settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

29. Furthermore, over the past four years in particular, armed illegal settlers had caused the destruction of Palestinian land and homes, as well as many deaths and injuries among the Palestinian population. It was clear that such settlers were permitted by the occupying Power to act with impunity and total disregard for the human rights of the Palestinian people.

30. The only way to ensure that the Palestinian people would be granted their fundamental rights was to bring an end to the occupation and establish a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Her delegation urged the international community to adopt a stronger stance on Israel’s illegal policies against the Palestinian people. There could be no neutrality in the struggle against oppression, injustice, occupation and colonialism.


49. Mr. Mohd Radzi (Malaysia), ...


50. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 58/186, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food had once more drawn the Committee’s attention to the continuing destruction and expropriation of Palestinian land and crops in the occupied Palestinian territories caused by the military operations and the construction of the separation wall. The violations of the human rights of Palestinians, especially women and children, must not be ignored by the international community, and the more influential Member States should persuade Israel to bring its actions to an end. Lastly, he said that the activities of some private actors, particularly international corporations, might be construed as support for the violations committed.


66. Mr. Zeidan (Lebanon) said that his country, which comprised a multiplicity of communities, embraced the values of pluralism, freedom, democracy and civil liberties and was firmly committed to respecting human rights, despite the difficulties.

67. Concerning the regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights which were considered in the report of the Secretary-General (A/59/323), he said that Lebanon welcomed the regional strategies of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights aimed at enhancing its response to the human rights needs of the Arab countries through the Regional Office in Beirut. He referred to the examples of the workshops on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and on violence against women, organized in 2004 in Beirut, and referred to the recently adopted Arab Charter on Human Rights and to the official Arabic-language web site on Arab human rights.

68. On the situation of human rights in Palestine, his delegation extended its gratitude to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 for his courageous exposure of the situation (A/59/256) and reasserted the need for a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict in accordance with General Assembly resolutions, especially a just solution to the refugee problem guaranteeing the right of return of the Palestinian people to their land.

69. Concerning respect for the fundamental rights of women, he said that the authorities of his country were working to promote women’s rights and that two women had been appointed to the Lebanese Cabinet in 2004. With respect to torture, Lebanon, which had acceded on 5 October 2000 to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, called for the cooperation of the international community with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture.

70. On human rights in the context of the fight against terrorism, his delegation recalled the urgent appeals of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions concerning acts committed by States under the guise of the fight against terrorism, including collective punishments, bombings and targeted assassinations in areas populated by civilians.

71. His delegation welcomed the efforts that had been made to explore new forms of migration management in a multilateral perspective. In conclusion, he stressed once again the importance of a human rights-based approach in the drafting of the convention on the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.


76. Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) ...


82. He commended the objectivity of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 (A/59/256) and hoped that the report would lead to action that would put an end to the Israeli practices that violated international humanitarian law and the elementary rules of humanity.

83. His delegation also shared the view of certain special rapporteurs who, in their reports, had referred to the imprecision surrounding the word “terrorism” and who considered that the continued use of the fight against terrorism to justify human rights violations would have serious consequences. It was essential to define terrorism in order for international action against terrorism to be successful. The Syrian Arab Republic emphasized once again that distinction must be made between terrorism, which was a heinous crime, and the right to resist foreign occupation, which was enshrined in the Charter. He concluded by saying that the harmonization of the views of the various States and the strengthening of international cooperation required responsible, objective, impartial, non-selective and transparent dialogue based on mutual respect for national sovereignty and for the territorial integrity of States.


Rights of reply


111. Mr. Israeli (Israel) said that he deplored the lack of objectivity in the interim report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (A/59/256). That lack of objectivity brought discredit to the Commission on Human Rights, insulted Israeli victims of terrorism and did disservice to the Palestinian cause. By ignoring the corruption and the mismanagement, the incitement to violence and the collusion with terrorism, the Special Rapporteur was merely perpetuating the human rights violations, the persecution of minorities and the theft of billions of dollars that had been donated for the benefit of the most needy Palestinians.

112. The Israeli Government remained committed to the solution of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, which was the key to a settlement of the Middle East question. His Government also remained committed to the road map as the only means to achieve that solution. Israel must, however, protect its citizens and combat terrorism, especially suicide attacks, a form of terrorism that should long ago have been defined by the Committee as a crime against humanity and a war crime, and condemned accordingly. Israel had taken the initiative to withdraw from Gaza and evacuate Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It was to be hoped that the Palestinians would seize the opportunity to end the wave of violence and re-engage in dialogue.


116. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that Israel should think carefully before referring to the road map as the ideal solution, since it had formulated 14 reservations to that document during its preparation, and continued to establish illegal settlements, confiscate Palestinian land, kill innocent civilians, destroy Palestinian property, and cause enormous suffering among the Palestinian population.

117. With respect to Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, she cited an interview given by an adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister to the prominent Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz , in which he had referred to a freezing of the political process that would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State, as well as any discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem, and had stated that the establishment of a Palestinian State had been removed indefinitely from his country’s agenda. With regard to the suicide bombings, which had led to the loss of so many Israeli and Palestinian lives over the past four years, it should be recalled that the first such attack had not occurred until 27 years after the beginning of the occupation. All events should be placed in their context, and a solution to the problem required an understanding of the underlying causes of the acts committed. The answer was for Israel to end its brutal occupation of Palestine and respect the rule of law and international humanitarian law. Recalling the recommendations of Israel’s Supreme Court to the effect that there could be no security without law, she said that if Israel was not prepared to acknowledge that the Palestinians had the right to security, there would continue to be deaths on both sides.


The meeting rose at 12.50 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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