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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

Commission on Human Rights
AFTERNOON
HR/CN/05/37
7 April 2005

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ADOPTS BY
ROLL-CALL VOTE RESOLUTIONS ON PALESTINIAN
SELF-DETERMINATION AND MERCENARIES

Continues Debate on the Integration of the Human Rights of Women
by Hearing Statements from 40 Non-Governmental Organizations


The Commission on Human Rights this afternoon adopted by roll-call vote a resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and a resolution on the use of mercenaries as an impediment to self-determination. The Commission also continued with its general debate on the integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective, including violence against women, hearing statements from 40 non-governmental organizations.

Taking action under its agenda item on the right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation, the Commission adopted by a roll-call vote of 49 in favour, one against, and two abstentions, a resolution on the situation in occupied Palestine. In the resolution, the Commission reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign and independent State and reaffirmed its support for the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestine.

...

Action on Draft Resolutions on Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and its Application to Peoples under Colonial or Alien Domination or Foreign Occupation

In a resolution (
E/CN.4/2005/L.5) on the situation in occupied Palestine, adopted as orally amended by a roll-call vote of 49 in favour, one against, with two abstentions, the Commission, while expressing its concern at the Israeli policy of closure of Palestinian border crossings, keeping thousands of Palestinians stranded and causing the death of a number of Palestinian patients, reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign and independent State; reaffirmed its support for the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestine; and urged all Member States, and relevant bodies of the United Nations System to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination. It also decided to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-second session of the Commission the item entitled "The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation" and to consider the situation in occupied Palestine under that agenda item.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (49): Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, China, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Zimbabwe.

Against
(1): United States of America.

Abstentions
(2): Burkina Faso, Costa Rica.

Absent
(1): Eritrea.


Statements by Concerned Countries


ITZHAK LEVANON (
Israel), speaking as a concerned country before the vote, said that on many occasions in the past, Israel had unambiguously stated that it continued to support the right of self-determination for peoples worldwide, including for the Palestinians. In a few months, Israel would implement its withdrawal from Gaza, thereby handing it over to the Palestinians. Moreover, there had recently been progress at the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting. However, the membership of the Commission continued to ignore the seeds of peace that had recently been sown. The positive steps taken left the Members indifferent, and Israel's appeal fell on deaf ears. The Commission should support the process currently taking place, which would hopefully lead to a two-State solution allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace.

ITZHAK LEVANON (
Palestine), speaking as a concerned country before the vote, said he thought that when the Israeli delegation raised its flag to take the floor, it was to express its support for the draft resolution. The draft contained words that had already been echoed by other bodies, including the Security Council. Israel itself accepted the wording of the draft. With regard to the Sham-el-Sheikh meeting, he said the issue of Palestinians' right to self-determination was a very old one.

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Explanations of Votes

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RUDY BOSCHWITZ (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said the delegation of the United States opposed the resolution on Palestine because of its unbalanced content. As in the past, the draft remained unbalanced. It failed to take into full account the dramatic events that were taking place in the region. The United States recognized that both parties had taken the path to peace. The United States was committed to provide support to all efforts aimed at ending the tragic situation in the region.

LUIS VARELA QUIROS (
Costa Rica), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, on the resolution on the situation in occupied Palestine, said Costa Rica had supported the right of people to self-determination, and in particular the right of the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination, in the General Assembly and in the Commission in the past. The resolution on the situation in Palestine, however, did not take into account the progress made at the Sharm el-Sheikh talks, which would have made a more balanced text and which would have made it possible for Costa Rica to vote in favour. It was hoped that sooner or later, this dialogue would end by bringing an end to the conflict so that Palestine could be an independent country, living peacefully side-by-side with Israel.

LARS PIRA (
Guatemala), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on the resolution on the situation in occupied Palestine, said Guatemala wished to reiterate its support for the two States, Israel and Palestine, to enable individuals to be able to exercise their right to self-determination. For that reason, Guatemala had voted in favour of the draft resolution on the situation in Palestine. To achieve this target, new opportunities for peace would have to be used, including those developed at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit. The Commission should take into account these new opportunities, and support the efforts made by both entities to restart the progress towards peace on the basis of the Road Map.

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For use of information media; not an official record

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For information media - not an official record