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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS


22 March 2004


COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS BEGINS DISCUSSION ON RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND XENOPHOBIA

Special Rapporteur on Racism, Chairpersons of Working Groups on People of African Descent and Implementation of Durban Declaration, Present Reports



The Commission on Human Rights this morning began its discussion on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination, hearing the Special Rapporteur on racism and the Chairpersons of the Working Groups on people of African descent and the implementation of the Durban Declaration present their reports.

Doudou Diene, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, spoke of the alarming resurgence and vitality of the traditional forms of discrimination, and the appearance of new forms of discrimination affecting the non-national, the refugee and the immigrant. The alert status was at red, he said, with regard to racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. His reports concerned field missions to Canada, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Guyana and Trinity and Tobago.

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Statements on the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination

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ANNE MASSAGEE, of Al-Haq, said the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination had been a concern of the United Nations for more than fifty years and scores of resolutions had been passed to uphold that right. Yet the reality on the ground made clear Israel’s rejection of its obligations. Since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada, thousands of Palestinian and hundreds of Israeli lives had been lost in a seemingly endless cycle of violence. The Palestinian people wanted peace, but it was impossible without the recognition and implementation of their fundamental right to self-determination. No political solution to the conflict could be built upon the rejection of Palestinian rights. The international community was called upon to implement the commitments that had been made for Palestinian self-determination.

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MUHAMMAD FAROOQ REHMANI, of World Muslim Congress, said that it was a fundamental and inalienable right which lay beneath the remarkable events in recent history including the liberation of Baltic people, the unification of Germany and the independence of East Timor. However, it was indeed unfortunate that conflict-ridden areas like Chechnya, Palestine and Kashmir continued to make a mockery of the international covenants, which lent credence to the non-derogable right to self-determination. …

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CAROLINA AMADOR, of the Federation of Cuban Women, said that perhaps never before had the right of people to self-determination been more important than at present. The hegemonic powers were attempting to fracture territories and defended the right to self-determination only within terms of their own interests. Under the pretext of an anti-terrorist war, the United States had invaded Iraq. The Cuban women also felt the suffering of Palestinian families. …

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SANDRA AGUILA, of the Women's International Democratic Federation, said the terrorist transgression of 11 September had stamped the beginning of a sad era where peace and world security were in serious danger each day. The United States without taking into consideration the United Nations and its Security Council, had launched an attack on the right of people to self-determination, recognized as one of the fundamental principles of the public international right. The Member States of the United Nations, responsible for the UN Charter and its application, could not stand quietly in front of that violation of the United States. The United States had accused Iraq of the violation of the resolutions of the United Nations, expressing that they had weapons of mass destruction, and using that argument they had declared a war without sense against that country. However, how many resolutions of the Security Council had not been implemented and continued to be unfulfilled? The Israeli Government made fun of all the resolutions of the Council and of the Commission. Israel had intensified its repression against the Palestinian people. The Federation supported the demands of the international community for a just and immediate pacific solution and the founding of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State.

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