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Agenda item 114: Human rights questions (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)
(d) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (continued)
(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.
Agenda item 112: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued)
Draft resolution A/C.3/55/L.25/Rev.1
1. Mr. Ogurtus (Belarus), introducing the draft resolution entitled “Measures to be taken against any neo-Nazi activities and any ideologies and practices based on racial or ethnic discrimination or superiority”, said that appropriate, decisive measures must be taken in order to combat the increasing manifestations of racism based on racial or ethnic discrimination or superiority. That was confirmed by the events described in the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (A/55/304), as well as by the incidents occurring daily throughout the world. It was particularly important to discuss the problem during the current session, since the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance would be held in 2001. The support shown by numerous delegations from various regions of the world during the discussions on the draft resolution which had resulted in the revised version of the text gave reason to hope that the draft resolution would be adopted without a vote.
Agenda item 114: Human rights questions (continued)
(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (continued) (A/55/177, A/55/213 and Add.1, A/55/214 and Add.1, A/55/275 and Add.1, A/55/279, A/55/280 and Add.1 and 2, A/55/283, A/55/288, A/55/289, A/55/291, A/55/292, A/55/296 and Add.1, A/55/302, A/55/306, A/55/328, A/55/342, A/55/360, A/55/395-S/2000/880, A/55/404-S/2000/889, A/55/408 and A/C.3/55/2)
(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (continued) (A/55/269, A/55/282* and Corr.1, A/55/294, A/55/318, A/55/335, A/55/346, A/55/358, A/55/359, A/55/363, A/55/374, A/55/400, A/55/403, A/55/509 and A/55/426-S/2000/913)
(d) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (continued) (A/55/36 and A/55/438-S/2000/93)
(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (continued) (A/55/36)
2. Mr. Karev (Russian Federation) ...
3. The situation in the Middle East was increasingly dramatic. As a co-sponsor of the peace process, the Russian Federation consistently urged all parties to take concrete measures to halt the violence. The Israeli forces must withdraw immediately from the conflict zones, guarantees must be given that force would not be used against the Palestinians, the blockade of the Palestinian territories must be lifted, the Palestinian police must restore public order, and both parties must respect the holy sites and ensure their security. Furthermore, consultations must be held with the participation of the co-sponsors and the interested parties with a view to identifying an appropriate mechanism for subsequent negotiations. Such a mechanism should allow for the renewal of the peace process in the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese sectors on the basis of existing Security Council decisions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The Russian Federation would maintain its contacts in the Middle East with a view to normalizing the situation there and to achieving a comprehensive settlement, without which the human rights situation in that region could not be resolved.
7. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) said that the promotion and protection of the Palestinian people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms were necessary prerequisites for the development, well-being and prosperity of future generations. The Palestinian people continued to strive to achieve their inalienable rights, including the right to independence, freedom and justice, in the face of constant violations of those rights. The seriousness of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, compelled her to raise that issue with the Committee and to highlight some matters of great concern. The situation had deteriorated to the extent that it threatened peace and stability in the area as well as the Middle East as a whole. The Palestinian people continued to be subjected to the most gross, systematic and widespread violations of their human rights by Israel, which persisted in oppressing the Palestinian people and creating illegal de facto situations on the ground in an attempt to break the Palestinian people’s will and determination to realize their natural and inalienable rights, including the establishment of an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.
8. Since 28 September 2000, Israel, the occupying Power, had used excessive and indiscriminate force, including tanks, helicopter gunships, missiles and rockets against Palestinian civilians, killing 160 and injuring 3,500. It had also closed international crossing-points, restricting the free movement of persons and goods, and denied the right to freedom of worship of Palestinians wishing to attend prayers in Jerusalem. In response to that tragic situation, the Commission on Human Rights had convened its fifth special session from 17 to 19 October 2000, at Geneva; at that session it had adopted an important resolution condemning the provocative visit by the Likud party leader, which had triggered the tragic events, as well as the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Israel, in violation of international humanitarian law. There was an urgent need for the international community to provide the necessary protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem. Implementation of the resolution would help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. In that context, she expressed appreciation for the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ rapid response in convening the special session, thanked the delegations which had expressed their support and welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories on his visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, undertaken in accordance with Commission resolution 1993/2 A of 19 February 1993. She regretted that the Israeli authorities, despite the urging of the High Commissioner, had refused to meet and cooperate with the Special Rapporteur. She reaffirmed that Israel had a legal and moral duty to meet its international obligations and must stop the use of excessive and unjustified force against demonstrators and the Palestinian civilian population and immediately withdraw its security forces from the Palestinian Authority area in order to reduce the tension and instability which it had created. That would be a first step in addressing the deteriorating human rights situation of the Palestinian people.
43. Mr. Sultan (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply with reference to the statement made by the Observer for Palestine, asked what had become of the human rights of the innocent Jewish civilians who had just been killed or maimed by a car bomb in a Jerusalem street near the market. The Palestinian Authority, which several weeks before had set free a number of convicted terrorists, should have known that such an irresponsible act would sooner or later end in a human tragedy. There were only two possible outcomes: either to plunge deeper into a cycle of violence, bringing more human suffering to the entire region, and to continue trading accusations in international forums, or to return to the negotiating table to conclude a peace agreement. It was to be hoped that the understanding reached the night before on the basis of Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum would be not only accepted, but also implemented by the Palestinian Authority.
49. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine), speaking in exercise of the right of reply and referring to the statement made by the representative of Israel, said that Palestine continued to be committed to the peace process in spite of the current difficult situation. That process was not being exploited for political purposes and must lead to a just peace based on international legitimacy and implementation of United Nations resolutions, leading to independence and freedom for Palestinians. With regard to the issue of violence, efforts to equate the victim and the oppressor were a racist attempt to deceive and dehumanize an entire people. The representative of Israel was trying to equate the violence perpetrated by the Israeli occupying army, which used live ammunition, tanks and attack helicopters, with the violence of Palestinians who were demonstrating against the unjust and discriminatory treatment they faced and the continuing loss of their rights and land. Palestine had always condemned all killing and hoped that Israel, for once, would follow suit and recognize its responsibility for the suffering and death it had inflicted on the Palestinian people.
The meeting rose at 5.30 p.m.