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Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 31 October 2001, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Al-Hinai ....................................................................... (Oman)
Organization of work
Agenda item 118: Right of peoples to self-determination
The meeting was called to order at 10.40 a.m.
Agenda item 118: Right of peoples to self-determination (A/56/224, A/56/295 and A/56/462-S/2001/962)
19. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) said that the right to self-determination was as old as humanity itself and a prerequisite for the guarantee of individual human rights. The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples stated that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constituted a denial of fundamental human rights, was contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and was an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation. It also declared that all armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples should cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence. Various instruments of international law affirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of occupied peoples, implying a right to struggle by every means available to them for recognition of their right to self-determination once peaceful means had been exhausted.
20. The Palestinian people were among the very few peoples in the world who continued to be deprived of their natural right to self-determination. It was beyond comprehension that the international community should allow the daily and pre-meditated killing and displacement of Palestinian children, women and older people. In pursuing its repressive measures against Palestinian civilians, Israeli occupation forces continued to defy both the will of the international community and international law.
21. Mr. Xie Bohua (China) said that the restoration of all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and a just and equitable settlement of the question of Palestine were the keys to achieving durable peace in the Middle East. Concerned at the tension created by the continued armed invasion of Palestinian-controlled areas, his delegation called upon Israel to immediately cease its military operations and withdraw its forces completely from those areas.
22. The right to self-determination of all peoples was sacrosanct, and applied particularly to oppressed nations in their fight against imperialism and colonial rule. That right should not, however, be used as a pretext for supporting acts that violated the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations and undermined national unity. Such acts must be strongly condemned by the entire international community.
23. Mrs. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) said that the world had witnessed myriad forms of colonization, subjugation, domination and foreign occupation, but that the sufferings of the Palestinian people under more than three decades of Israeli occupation were unparalleled. The international community — in particular the United Nations — must take swift and concrete measures to help the Palestinian people realize their inalienable right to self-determination, which included their right to an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. A comprehensive, permanent and lasting peace in the Middle East depended on resolution of that core issue, not merely on sporadic attempts to calm the situation on the ground. Moreover, the near-unanimous position of the international community in support of Palestinian rights must be given concrete follow-up.
24. A bloody military campaign had been waged against the Palestinian people since the beginning of the second intifadah in September 2000. Excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Israeli troops had caused 700 Palestinian deaths and more than 25,000 injuries. On occasion, they had even resorted to war crimes and terrorism. The occupying Power continued to pursue its oppressive policies and practices, including expansion of settlements and confiscation of lands, in flagrant violation of international law and applicable United Nations resolutions. The plight of Palestine refugees and displaced persons was a further cause for concern.
25. The recent deterioration of the situation had greatly undermined any efforts to create an environment conducive to the resumption of negotiations. Israel’s escalation of violence was clearly intended to jeopardize recent positive developments in affirming the right of the Palestinian people to a State. Palestine nevertheless remained committed to the peace process and to the implementation of all signed agreements. She wished to stress that the Palestinian people had made historical compromises in order to achieve their national aspirations and to live in peace and dignity. They would persevere in their struggle until they achieved their inalienable rights and could participate proudly as a full Member of the United Nations. It was her delegation’s firm conviction that a people pursuing a just cause could not be defeated. The cases of South Africa and Namibia were an inspiration in that regard.
The meeting rose at 11.55 a.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.