Press Release

4 April 2001


The Commission on Human Rights carried on this morning with its consideration of economic, social and cultural rights, hearing from a series of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which contended, among other things, that the forces of economic globalization were having negative impacts on poor people and nations and that transnational corporations should be more accountable for the effects of their activities on developing countries.


The Commission will reconvene at 3 p.m. and is expected to begin discussion of civil and political rights.



STEPHEN RICKARD, of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, said that in Israel and the occupied territories, there was a range of human rights violations perpetrated by both sides of the conflict which should be addressed by the Commission. The continuing spiral of violence, the cycle of action and reaction had caused countless and untold tragedies. Few would deny that Israel had legitimate security concerns and a right under international law to take actions to ensure the security of its citizens.

But that right did not also grant the right to take any action regardless of consequences so long as it was related to security. Acts that denied Palestinian children access to education ran directly counter to the obligation accepted by the Israeli Government upon ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Likewise, as the Palestinian Authority sought to acquire the mantle of governance it should work to ensure that corruption did not interfere with the full realization of Palestinian children of the right to education.


GHULAM MOHAMMAD SAFI, of International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, said that if economic rights, either of an individual or of a society, were not secured, all other rights became almost became meaningless. All ideal talk of democracy, accountability and transparency were mere slogans and of little use to one who along with his dear ones would go hungry at the end of the day. Under globalization, which benefited some, most developing countries were either reeling or actually going under. The prices of their exports were plunging while the prices of their imports were soaring. Illiteracy, lack of basic health care, and even lack of food and water were on the rise.

Of particular concern was the situation of economic, social and cultural rights of the occupied people of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir, whose rights had been systematically usurped, exploited and abused. The people of Indian occupied Kashmir looked for help to the impartial but influential observers of the United Nations.

For information media - not an official record