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Agenda item 112: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination*
Agenda item 113: Right of peoples to self-determination*
Organization of work
The meeting was called to order at 10:10 a.m.
Agenda item 112: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (A/55/18** and Add.1**, A/55/203, A/55/266, A/55/285, A/55/304, A/55/307 and A/55/459)
Agenda item 113: Right of peoples to self-determination (A/55/176 and Add.1 and A/55/334)
57. Mr. Al-Rubaie (Iraq) asked the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism what he thought of the recent desecration, by the Israeli general Ariel Sharon, accompanied by a large group of Israeli soldiers, of the Haram al-Sharif, one of the holiest places of Islam. It had provoked violent clashes causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of wounded among the Palestinians. He also wondered what the Special Rapporteur thought of the ban which prevented thousands of Muslims from practising their faith in that holy place.
96. In the light of the fact that the General Assembly, at its fifty-fourth session, had reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, Japan was gravely concerned over the recent explosion of violence, with the loss of many lives, especially children. Japan welcomed the agreement reached at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit Meeting aimed at putting an end to the recent clashes. It was ready to extend any possible assistance to the parties with a view to achieving a negotiated settlement and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
106. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) noted that racism and racial discrimination continued to be among the most serious violations of human rights.
107. Despite the adoption over the years of various resolutions and instruments, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and despite the efforts made in the context of the three decades devoted to the struggle against those evils, many people throughout the world still suffered discrimination and denial of their fundamental human rights. The United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session had reaffirmed, on many occasions and in particular on the occasion of the observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March 2000, that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance were the root causes of most of the conflicts and human-rights violations, and that the international community must shoulder its responsibility in that regard.
108. For many years the Palestinian people had been subjected to the most inhumane forms of oppression and discrimination at the hands of the Israeli military authorities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The indiscriminate and excessive use of force, which had begun on 28 September 2000, had resulted in the killing of 87 Palestinians and the wounding of more than 3,000 Palestinian civilians, many of them critically. The Israeli Arabs, citizens of Israel, were treated as second-class citizens; more than 12 of them had been killed by Israeli police during recent demonstrations.
109. The World Conference to be held in South Africa in 2001 would give the international community an opportunity to confront the challenge posed by the denial of inherent human rights. The adoption of action-oriented recommendations would be a step towards achieving equality, democracy and tolerance.
The meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.
* Items which the Committee had decided to consider together.
**To be issued.