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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXIV, No. 2 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP ( mars 2001) - Publication de la Division des droits palestiniens Français

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 March 2001



March 2001


Volume XXIV, Bulletin No. 2




Contents

Page
I.
Action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people
1
II.
Report on the violation of human rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine,
submitted by the human rights inquiry commission established pursuant to Commission on
Human Rights resolution S-5/1 of 19 October 2000
8
III.
Commission on the Status of Women reviews report; adopts resolution on Palestinian women
12
IV.
Update to the mission report on Israel’s violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied
since 1967, submitted by Giorgio Giacomelli, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights
14
V.
Secretary-General issues statement urgning Israelis and Palestinians to return to path of peace
15



The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.nsf, as well as at:
http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/pub_bltn.htm.



I.
    ACTION TAKEN BY THE COMMITTEE ON THE
    EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF
    THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
On 1 March 2001, at its 256th meeting, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People opened its 2001 session with statements by the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the Chairman of the Committee and the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.

The Committee re-elected Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal) as Chairman. Also re-elected were Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla (Cuba) and Ravan Farhâdi (Afghanistan) as Vice-Chairmen and Walter Balzan (Malta) as Rapporteur.

The Secretary-General’s statement, as contained in press release SG/SM/7730-GA/PAL/858, is reproduced below:

Secretary-General’s statement

Allow me first to congratulate you on your unanimous re-election to the leadership of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The renewal of your mandate reflects the Committee's continuing appreciation of your dedication and that of your country, Senegal, to the quest for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.

I would also like to congratulate the other members of the Bureau, whose steadfast efforts to promote the objectives of the Committee have again been recognized today.

The fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly reaffirmed the mandates of this Committee, and of the Secretariat units that support its work: the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information. The Assembly's debate on the question of Palestine underscored the importance that Member States attach to these mandates, and to the role of the United Nations in the search for peace.

We meet today at a particularly sensitive moment. It is not just that, following the events in East Jerusalem last September, the situation on the ground has deteriorated badly, with hundreds dead and thousands injured, the great majority of them Palestinians. Equally worrying has been the unravelling of the progress that had been made between Israelis and Palestinians in overcoming the mistrust and suspicion that had plagued their relationship for decades and in moving forward towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

In the past few months, the international community has made sustained efforts to persuade the two sides to bring about an end to violence, to protect civilians and to resume their negotiations. The broad understandings reached at Sharm el-Sheikh marked an important step in that direction. Progress was also achieved at Taba, where gaps appear to have been narrowed on core issues such as refugees, Jerusalem, borders and security. I am convinced that the hard work done there will be of lasting value in the ongoing search for a settlement.

We now have a new Israeli Government. Whatever its policies, it will face the daunting task of doing its part to restore and foster a climate in which real progress can be achieved.

The deepening crisis is at once a human tragedy and a source of grave concern for the future. In fact, the parties face several crises at once:

- first, a security crisis, with a litany of violence, destruction and death;

- second, an economic and social crisis, with growing unemployment and poverty, border closures, restrictions and measures which deprive the Palestinian Authority of necessary financial resources;

- and third, a crisis of confidence, with rising fear, despair and anger on the street, and plummeting faith in the peace process.

These crises are linked, and must be addressed simultaneously. The parties must exercise maximum caution and restraint to prevent a further escalation of violence, which could have very serious consequences for the entire region. This is a time for statesmanship and vision, if ever there was one.

Since 1991, Israelis and Palestinians have been engaged in a truly historic effort. The 1993 Oslo accords and subsequent understandings and agreements were milestones. We must not allow these gains to ebb away. I call upon the parties to preserve them and to move ahead towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

For the peace process to bear fruit, it must be accompanied by a vigorous and well-coordinated international effort aimed at turning around the dire socio-economic situation faced by millions of Palestinians and their families. The United Nations system continues to provide emergency humanitarian assistance and to help the Palestinians to develop essential infrastructures, strengthen their institutions and improve their day-to-day living conditions.

The recent crisis has had a catastrophic effect on the Palestinian economy, reversing the achievements of several years of recovery and progress. The international community should step in and address this situation as a matter of urgency. In particular, I would call on all UNRWA's contributors to help the Agency continue its vital work. Months of violence have complicated the provision of basic services, materials, food and medicine. Donor assistance is absolutely critical and should be made available without further delay.

The United Nations is supporting the peace process through the efforts of Terje Roed Larsen, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and my Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. As you know, one of Mr. Larsen's key responsibilities is to coordinate United Nations assistance to the Palestinian people. UNSCO also heads a newly established Humanitarian Task Force for Emergency Needs to coordinate international assistance. I have asked Mr. Larsen to undertake wide-ranging and urgent consultations with a view to preventing further deterioration in the economic and social conditions of the occupied territories.

The United Nations remains fully committed to supporting the parties through this difficult and traumatic period, and will remain closely engaged in efforts to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I wish to conclude by renewing my appreciation for the work of this Committee and by expressing my support for its important mandate.


The Chairman of the Committee introduced the programme of work of the Committee for the year 2001. The Committee adopted the programme, as contained in document A/AC.183/2001/CPR.1, which is reproduced below:

Programme of work for 2001 of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Mandate of the Committee

1. The mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the year 2001 is contained in General Assembly resolutions 55/52, 55/53 and 55/54 of 1 December 2000.

2. In its resolution 55/52, entitled "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People", the General Assembly endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee contained in chapter VII of its report; 1/ requested it to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the General Assembly or the Security Council, as appropriate; authorized the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to make such adjustments in its approved programme of work as it might consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments, to give special emphasis to the need to mobilize support and assistance for the Palestinian people and to report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session and thereafter. It also requested the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other non-governmental organizations in order to mobilize international solidarity and support for the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights and for a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, and to involve additional NGOs in its work. The Assembly furthermore requested the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) and other United Nations bodies associated with the question of Palestine to continue to cooperate fully with the Committee and expressed appreciation for the cooperation between the Commission and the Committee with regard to the modernization and preservation of the records of the Commission. The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks.

3. In its resolution 55/53, entitled "Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat", the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continued to carry out its programme of work as detailed in the relevant earlier resolutions, in consultation with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and under its guidance, including, in particular, the organization of meetings in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community, the further development and expansion of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, the preparation and widest possible dissemination of publications and information materials on various aspects of the question of Palestine, and the provision of the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority.

4. In its resolution 55/54, entitled "Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat", the General Assembly requested the Department of Public Information, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee, to continue, with the necessary flexibility as might be required by developments affecting the question of Palestine, its special information programme for the biennium 2000-2001, and outlined a number of specific activities to be carried out under the programme. The Assembly also requested the Department to promote the Bethlehem 2000 Project, within existing resources and until the Bethlehem 2000 commemoration came to a close, including the preparation and dissemination of publications, audio-visual material and further development of the "Bethlehem 2000" site on the United Nations Internet home page.

II. Priority issues in the programme of work of the Committee for 2001

5. The Committee has reviewed the various aspects of its own programme of work and that of the Division for Palestinian Rights, as well as of the mandates governing them. The Committee is of the view that further adjustments in this programme are necessary in order to enhance its responsiveness to developments in the peace process and the situation on the ground, as well as to raise its effectiveness in promoting the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.

6. In its conclusions and recommendations to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session, the Committee reaffirmed its strong support for the peace process. The Committee stated that in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the two sides had travelled a long way. The negotiating process, which had begun at Madrid in 1991, had been difficult and challenging. The Committee observed that the parties were facing issues of paramount importance, not only for the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also for peace and security in the entire region of the Middle East. The Committee said it would continue to support the peacemaking efforts by the parties, assisted by the co-sponsors, until peace prevailed and the question of Palestine was solved on the basis of justice and international legitimacy. The Committee emphasized once again that more than 50 years after the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, the Palestinian people was yet to see the establishment of its own independent and sovereign State. In that context, the Committee reiterated its full support for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State, and recalled the broad international support for Palestinian statehood.

7. The Committee is of the view that its programme of activities, mandated by the General Assembly, has continued to play a useful and positive role in heightening international awareness of the question of Palestine and in sensitizing public opinion in the various regions with respect to the relevant issues. The Committee will continue to strive to achieve maximum effectiveness in its activities in order to respond adequately and in a timely manner to the situation evolving on the ground and to developments in the peace process.

8. At this sensitive stage in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, the Committee intends to continue to support the peace process through a variety of activities. In its work, the Committee will continue to emphasize issues relevant to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and statehood without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right of return. The Committee will also address some critical aspects of a Palestinian transition to statehood, including efforts at nation-building, international assistance in support of those efforts, as well as the economic and social development of the Palestinian people.

9. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 54/22 of 10 November 1999 and in light of the Assembly's consideration at its fifty-fifth session of agenda item 36, entitled "Bethlehem 2000", the Committee intends to continue to promote the Bethlehem 2000 Project of the Palestinian Authority. The Committee's position is that this important undertaking should not be abandoned by the international community and will require sustained international support, not only for the period of the millennial celebrations in Bethlehem, but also long after the celebrations come to a close. In addition, the Committee draws the attention of the international community to the urgency of providing varied assistance to other Palestinian municipalities throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

10. The Committee is of the view that the cooperation and coordination between the Department of Public Information and the Division for Palestinian Rights, in implementation of their respective mandates, should be strengthened. The General Assembly, in its resolution 55/54, has requested the Department, inter alia, to promote the Bethlehem 2000 Project through the preparation of publications, audio-visual material and the further development of the "Bethlehem 2000" site on the United Nations Internet home page. The Division will cooperate with the Department on this activity.

III. Activities of the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights

A. Action by the Committee

11. In pursuance of its mandate, the Committee will continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and participate in relevant meetings of the Security Council and the General Assembly. The Committee will also continue to monitor the situation on the ground and draw the attention of the international community to urgent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, requiring international action.

12. The Committee, through its Chairman, will continue to participate in relevant intergovernmental and other conferences and meetings, as necessary. The Committee considers this activity an important aspect of its effort to promote international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

13. In cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, the Committee will continue to expand its contacts with the Palestinian Authority and other institutions, including NGOs, in the areas under its jurisdiction and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. Following the practice of the previous year, the Committee will continue to invite Palestinian officials and other Palestinian personalities to meetings with members and observers of the Committee and the Secretariat, as required.

14. The Bureau of the Committee will continue its consultations with countries interested in the programme of work of the Committee, including members of the European Union, with a view to promoting understanding of its objectives and greater participation in its activities.

B. Meetings and conferences

15. In response to the tense and volatile situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the crucial stage reached in the peace negotiations, the Committee will focus the meetings programme on support for the peace process, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Palestinian nation- and institution-building, social and economic development and permanent status issues, as well as emergency needs of the Palestinian people. The Committee will strive to make its programme of meetings and conferences more reflective of the evolving situation, as well as forward-looking, and will continue to review and assess its effectiveness.

16. As authorized by the General Assembly, the Committee, in the past, has made adjustments in the programme in order to respond to new developments. In 2001, the Committee will continue to strive, in cooperation with prospective host countries and institutions and the relevant Secretariat services, to limit costs of conference facilities, equipment and servicing staff, while ensuring the success of its meetings and conferences.

17. The Committee will also continue to emphasize thematic events in the course of 2001, encouraging participation by additional countries and organizations, including those which have not so far engaged fully in the programme of work of the Committee. Accordingly, the Committee will organize the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People. The Seminar will be held on 20 and 21 February at the United Nations Office at Vienna.

C. Cooperation with civil society

Non-governmental organization

18. The role of civil society organizations in educating their respective constituencies about the fundamental issues of the question of Palestine and in mobilizing public support for the Palestinian cause remains very important. Aware of the challenges that lie ahead, the Committee is particularly appreciative of those NGO contributions that are focused on mobilizing international solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for the achievement of its inalienable rights, as well as supporting the peace process and the work and objectives of the Committee. There is a greater need for sustained campaigns aimed at informing public opinion and promoting national and international action in support of the peace process, the effective implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements, and of a just and lasting peace in the region. The Committee believes that, in 2001, NGOs should continue to focus their efforts on areas relevant to the permanent status issues, namely Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and borders. The Committee is also of the view that it is important for the NGOs to continue to support the peace negotiations and, in particular, the Palestinian efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution based on international legitimacy. Mobilizing emergency relief and promoting varied assistance to the Palestinian people in nation-building and economic and social development should be another important area of NGO work.

19. The Committee intends to continue its practice of inviting civil society organizations to all international conferences and meetings organized under its auspices. It will encourage them to use these events as a platform for discussing their initiatives and campaigns, and for bringing forward their views and ideas on the issues at hand. The participation of Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in those events provides civil society with a unique opportunity to support and strengthen, in particular, such positions and initiatives that are geared towards the realization by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.

20. The Committee encourages cooperation, coordination and networking among civil society organizations. It will maintain and develop its liaison with national, regional and international coordinating mechanisms accredited to it, in addition to the already established liaison with a large number of individual NGOs. It will continue the accreditation of new NGOs and their umbrella organizations and asks the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue and intensify outreach efforts directed at civil society. Periodic meetings and consultations with NGO representatives will contribute to further review and enhancement of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with NGOs.

21. The Committee is of the view that regular exchange of information with the NGO community on respective initiatives and the various current and planned activities and their results is crucial to its cooperation with civil society. The Committee encourages the accredited NGOs to keep the Committee abreast, on a regular basis, of major NGO activities and campaigns in support of the Palestinian people. In this connection, the Committee requests the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue to maintain its Internet site on NGO activities on the question of Palestine (www.un.org/depts/dpa/ngo) as a central tool for the exchange of information and communication between the United Nations and civil society. Meetings of the Committee, as well as its international conferences and meetings, can also be used by NGOs to present results of major initiatives and campaigns on the question of Palestine.

22. In the course of the year, the resources available for cooperation with NGOs on the question of Palestine will be used to implement the following:

(a) Organization, wherever appropriate and feasible, of meetings of NGOs in conjunction with international conferences and meetings held under the auspices of the Committee;

(b) Periodic consultations with representatives of NGOs, parliamentarians and inter-parliamentary organizations;

(c) Participation of representatives of the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights in significant conferences, meetings or other events organized by NGOs and other civil society organizations;

(d) Providing assistance to Palestinian organizations in sending their representatives to meetings held under the auspices of the Committee or supported by the Committee;

(e) Periodic visits by members of the Committee and staff of the Division to the territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority to brief local NGOs and institutions on the work of the Committee and to assess those of their needs that can be met through the Division's programme of work.


Parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations

23. The Committee strongly believes that the role and contribution of national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations in shaping public opinion and formulating policy guidelines is important for upholding international legitimacy in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The Committee attaches great importance to developing further cooperation with parliaments and representatives of inter-parliamentary bodies in order to encourage discussion of the current peace process and the various aspects of the question of Palestine within the respective parliaments and among all the layers of society. To that end, the Committee intends to involve parliamentarians and representatives of inter-parliamentary organizations in its international conferences and meetings. Consultations between the Committee and representatives of parliaments and interparliamentary organizations, held during international events to be organized by the Committee, will contribute to an enhanced cooperation between the two sides.

D. United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine

24. The Committee has requested the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue its work on the development and expansion of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL), an activity initially mandated by the General Assembly in 1991. This will include updating UNISPAL on a day-today basis with relevant new documents available in electronic form; improving the quality control mechanisms and user-friendliness of the system; and furthering the development and management of the "UNISPAL" and "Question of Palestine" sites on the Internet. Efforts will be made to complete, in the course of the year, the work on UNISPAL's collection of earlier documents. The Division will focus on enhancing the comprehensiveness of the collection through the inclusion of recently issued documents in the system. Also, additional work will be required to make the UNISPAL web site more technically advanced and user-friendly. The Division will continue to administer the UNISPAL web site.

E. Other activities of the Division for Palestinian Rights

Publications

25. The Committee considers that the Division for Palestinian Rights should continue to prepare and issue in a timely manner its periodic publications, namely: Monthly bulletin on action by the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations relevant to the question of Palestine;

Periodic bulletin on developments in the peace process;

Monthly chronological summary of events relating to the question of Palestine;

Annual compilation of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council;

Reports of meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Committee;

Annual bulletin on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

26. In addition, the Committee requests the Division to continue to prepare its informal periodic summary of information on significant activities of NGOs relevant to the question of Palestine for the information of the Committee and for communication to the network of NGOs.

27. The Committee believes that the Division, in consultation with the Bureau, should review the existing studies and information notes prepared by the Division and make proposals with regard to those that require updating, in particular the publication entitled The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988.


Training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority

28. The Committee considers that this useful programme, carried out in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, should be continued in 2001. The Committee considers that the experience of the previous years of the training programme should be evaluated, in consultation with the Mission, and used in such a way as to maximize the programme's effectiveness and usefulness for Palestinian Authority trainees.

Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

29. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will be observed on Thursday, 29 November 2001. It is envisaged that the observance will take place at United Nations Headquarters, at the United Nations offices at Geneva and Vienna, and elsewhere in accordance with established practice.

30. The Committee will once again commemorate this anniversary with a solemn meeting and other activities. During the week beginning 26 November, a Palestinian cultural exhibit will be presented at United Nations Headquarters in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.

31. The Committee will continue to review and assess its programme of work in the light of new developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and the situation on the ground, and will make adjustments as necessary.

________
1/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fifth session, Supplement No. 35 (A/55/35).




II.
    REPORT ON THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN
    THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, INCLUDING
    PALESTINE, SUBMITTED BY THE HUMAN RIGHTS INQUIRY
    COMMISSION ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO COMMISSION
    ON HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTION S-5/1 OF 19 OCTOBER 2000


On 19 October 2000, the Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution S-5/1 establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories after 28 September 2000 and to provide the Commission with its conclusions and recommendations. In pursuance of that resolution, a human rights inquiry commission was established on 2 January 2001, comprising Professor John Dugard (South Africa), Dr. Kamal Hossain (Bangladesh) and Professor Richard Falk (United States of America). Initially Professor Dugard and Dr. Hossain acted as Co-Chairpersons but, during the course of the visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Professor Dugard was appointed as Chairman. The Human Rights Inquiry Commission (“the Commission”) visited the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel from 10 to 18 February 2001. Below are the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report entitled “Questions of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine” (see E/CN.4/2001/121, 16 March 2001).

Conclusions and recommendations

104. The commission of inquiry has been deeply mindful of its responsibility to exercise every care to be objective and impartial in gathering information and evaluating the evidence upon which it would base its conclusions and recommendations, with the aim of calling attention to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law since 29 September 2000, and encouraging future compliance with international obligations to the extent possible.

105. In making its recommendations, the Commission from the outset emphasizes the need to understand the context and circumstances in which violations of human rights and breaches of international humanitarian law have occurred and the situation which has given rise to an ascending spiral of violence since the end of September 2000, resulting in a serious deterioration of the human rights situation.

106. The historical context is one of conflict and successive wars (over 50 years), prolonged occupation (over 30 years) and a protracted peace process (over 7 years). The peoples affected continue to suffer from a legacy of distrust, humiliation and frustration, only occasionally relieved by glimmerings of hope, which has all but disappeared of late.

107. The most worrying aspect of the recent escalation of violence leading to the loss of lives, disabling injuries caused to thousands, and the destruction of property and livelihoods is that the hopes and expectations created by the peace process are for the moment being smothered by mutual perceptions ascribing the worst of motives to each other, thus generating intense distrust and negative and destructive emotions.

108. It is important to emphasize that both the Palestinian people and the people of Israel have a yearning for peace and security, and that a precondition for achieving a just and durable peace is for every effort to be made on all sides to ease tensions, calm passions and promote a culture of peace. This could be helped if the process through which negotiations for peace are pursued is transparent, so that both Palestinian and Israeli public opinion can be built up in support of the process and of its eventual outcome. In this way, the mutual confidence upon which a durable peace must rest could be nurtured.

109. The Commission was encouraged by the extent to which its own assessments of the main issues addressed in the report substantially coincided with the most trustworthy third-party views, including those of diplomatic representatives of the European Union and senior international civil servants with years of experience in the region. Thus, an informed and impartial consensus reinforces the conclusions and recommendations set forth here.

110. It is with an understanding of the tragic history of the peoples involved, and its psychological legacy, that our recommendations, aimed at discouraging the persistence of recent violations of human rights, are set out in three parts. The first part seeks to address the root causes that need to be resolutely addressed and resolved. The second part lists safeguards and procedures that need to be observed while negotiations aimed at a comprehensive, just and durable peace are pursued in good faith. The third part presents a series of measures which can be taken immediately to deter further violence and to end the destruction of lives, property and livelihoods. The fourth part is more ambitious, recommending steps for establishing a climate conducive to the emergence over time of a just and durable peace for the peoples of Israel and Palestine.

1. Conditions for a just and durable peace

111. A comprehensive, just and durable peace is to be sought through negotiations in good faith that would end the occupation and establish a dispensation that meets the legitimate expectations of the Palestinian people concerning the realization of their right to self-determination and the genuine security concerns of the people of Israel.

112. While noting that it is the Israeli position that occupation has in effect ended in much of the occupied territories following the agreements reached leading to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, as well as the fact that the ultimate disposition of the settlements in those territories is a matter for negotiation between the parties, it needs to be recognized that, from the Palestinian perspective, so long as the settlements remain as a substantial presence in the occupied territories, and Israeli military forces are deployed to protect those settlements, no meaningful end to occupation can be said to have taken place.

2. Human rights and humanitarian law imperatives

113. The framework for a final peaceful settlement and the process through which it is pursued should be guided at all stages by respect for human rights and humanitarian law and the full application of international human rights standards set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in applicable human rights instruments, in particular those relating to women, children and refugees.

114. An adequate and effective international presence needs to be established to monitor and regularly report on compliance by all parties with human rights and humanitarian law standards in order to ensure full protection of the human rights of the people of the occupied territories. Such an international mechanism should be established immediately and constituted in such a manner as to reflect a sense of urgency about protecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.

115. Protection needs to be accorded to the people of the occupied territories in strict compliance with the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention). The High Contracting Parties, individually and collectively, need urgently to take appropriate and effective action to respond to an emergency situation calling for measures to alleviate the daily suffering of the Palestinian people flowing from the severe breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 1 of the Convention places a duty on the High Contracting Parties “to respect and ensure respect” of the provisions of the Convention “in all circumstances”. The Commission recalls that the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, convened in Geneva on 15 July 1999, in its concluding statement reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and reiterated the need for full respect for the provisions of the Convention in that Territory, and further recorded the following decision: Taking into consideration the improved atmosphere in the Middle East as a whole, the Conference was adjourned on the understanding that it would convene again in the light of consultations on the development of the humanitarian situation in the field. In view of the serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Territory, the Commission recommends that the High Contracting Parties should act with urgency to reconvene the Conference. Such a Conference should establish an effective international mechanism for taking the urgent measures needed.

3. Urgent measures for the protection of human rights

116. It seems incontestable that the Israeli Security Forces (i.e. the IDF and the Israeli Police Force) have used excessive and disproportionate force from the outset of the second intifada, whether their conduct is measured by the standards of international humanitarian law applicable to armed conflict, the codes of conduct applicable to policing in situations not amounting to armed conflict or by the open-fire regulations binding upon members of the Israeli Security Forces. In these circumstances there is an urgent need for the Israeli Security Forces to ensure that, even in life-threatening situations, great care is taken not to inflict injury on civilians not directly involved in hostile activities and not to cause disproportionate harm and injury. In non-life threatening situations, particularly demonstra-tions, the security forces should comply fully with the policing codes of 1979 and 1990, as well as their own open-fire regulations. Every effort should be made by the Government of Israel to ensure that its security forces observe these rules, that such rules are made effectively known to members of the security forces, that the rules are not arbitrarily and summarily altered and that it is made clear to the security forces that violations will result in meaningful disciplinary action being taken against them.

117. The Israeli Security Forces should not resort to the use of rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition, except as a last resort. Even in life-threatening situations minimum force should be used against civilians. The Israeli Security Forces should be amply equipped and trained in non-lethal means of response, particularly for dealing with violent demonstrations. Every effort should be made to use well-established methods of crowd control.

118. The use of force by the IDF in the exercise of its role of providing security to settlers is also subject to international humanitarian law standards, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and cannot be used for pre-emptive shooting of unarmed civilians in areas near settlements or on access and bypass roads leading to settlements or for the destruction of Palestinian property, including the demolition of homes, the cutting down of trees and the destruction of farms, and appropriate instructions to that effect should be issued to all concerned.

119. Targeted shooting of individuals by the IDF or by settlers or by sharpshooters of either side amounts to extrajudicial execution, which is a gross violation of the right to life, constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and would attract international criminal responsibility. Instructions should be urgently issued and disseminated by all the concerned authorities immediately to end such targeted killing.

120. Complaints regarding the use of lethal force or the excessive use of force which has caused death or serious injury should be investigated and persons found responsible should be held accountable and should not enjoy impunity.

121. Immediate and effective measures need to be taken to end closures, curfews and other restrictions on the movement of people and goods in the occupied territories so that the right to livelihood and normal economic activities are restored, as also the right of access to education and health.

122. Immediate and effective measures need to be taken to prevent the destruction of property in the occupied territories, including the demolition of houses, the cutting down of fruit and other trees, and the destruction of farms and standing crops by the use of bulldozers and other means.
123. Prohibitions and restrictions derogating from the rights of the Palestinian people, including economic and social rights, imposed by invoking security considerations must be specifically justified and are in all cases subject to compliance with international humanitarian law standards.

124. All concerned authorities must refrain from measures that amount to collective punishment. This would include withholding transfer to the Palestinian Authority of taxes and duties collected by the Government of Israel, the imposition of restrictions on movement, or violent acts of reprisal by either side.

125. Instructions need to be issued immediately by all concerned authorities to security forces strictly to refrain from using force against or impeding the provision of medical relief and treatment by those working for the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and Magen David Adom, and in hospitals, and to ensure protection to ambulances and hospitals. These instructions should require all concerned to ensure unimpeded access for the sick, the injured and pregnant women to hospitals.

126. Compensation should be provided to victims of unlawful use of force where this has caused death, disablement, destruction of property or economic loss.

127. All impediments to the flow of humanitarian assistance, now even more urgently needed, should be removed as a matter of urgency and every effort should be made to facilitate the work of the United Nations and other bodies involved in providing humanitarian assistance and medical relief.

128. The life and safety of children and their access to education and health care should be especially protected. Special instructions should be urgently issued prohibiting shooting at unarmed children and pointing out that such acts would engage international and national criminal responsibility. Every care should be taken to ensure that children are not involved in situations where they expose themselves to risk of becoming victims of acts of violence.

129. Steps should be taken to apply article 1D of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to ensure that a regime of protection under the authority of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is extended to Palestinian refugees, especially those currently residing in West Bank and Gaza camps. These refugees have been particularly victimized during the second intifada, are not now protected by the application of the UNRWA framework and urgently require international protection on a priority basis.

130. A mutually acceptable comprehensive settlement must deal equitably with the issue of Palestinian refugees and their rightful claims, including those refugees living outside the Palestinian Territories. Such arrangements should be negotiated in a manner that is sensitive to legitimate Israeli concerns.

131. All restrictions on access to places of worship and all holy sites should be removed and access to them by all faiths should be respected.

4. Transforming the climate of hostility

132. The Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States and the State of Israel declares in article 2 that their relationship is to be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles which guide their internal and international policy; this could provide the basis for an initiative by the former to play a more proactive role in promoting acceptance and implementation of these recommendations and in supporting the holding of consultations and dialogue at all levels between the Palestinian people and the Israeli people.

133. To improve prospects for durable peace, especially given the fundamental gaps in perception that currently separate the two sides, it is strongly recommended that the Commission on Human Rights take concrete steps to facilitate dialogue between representative Israelis and Palestinians at all levels of social interaction, formally and informally. In this regard, the Commission on Human Rights is urged to convene a consultation between leaders of Israeli and Palestinian civil society on a people-to-people basis in Geneva at the earliest possible time. In a similar spirit, to engage Europe more directly in the realities of the crisis, the Commission on Human Rights is urged to convene a round table of representatives of European civil society and government to discuss steps that can be taken to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and to ensure greater respect on both sides for human rights standards and for international humanitarian law.

134. In view of the comprehensive denial of human rights and the continuing pattern of behaviour violative of international humanitar-ian law, this Commission recommends to the Commission on Human Rights that it establish a high-profile periodic monitoring and reporting undertaking to consider the degree to which the recommendations of this report to the parties are being implemented.




III.
    COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
    REVIEWS REPORT; ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON
    PALESTINIAN WOMEN


At its forty-fifth session, held from 6 to 17 March 2001, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women submitted pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 2000/23 (see E/CN.6/2001/2 of 9 January 2001)

On 17 March 2001, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted, by 31 votes to 1, with 1 abstension, a draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (see document E/CN.6/2001/L.2/Rev.1), which it recommended to the Economic and Social Council for adoption, and which read as follows:

The situation of and assistance to Palestinian women

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered with appreciation section III.A concerning the situation of Palestinian women and assistance provided by organizations of the United Nations system, contained in the report of the Secretary-General 1/ on the follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration 2/ and Platform for Action, 3/

Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, 4/ in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and the special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”,

Recalling also its resolution 2000/23 of 28 July 2000 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,

Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 5/ as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,

Stressing the need for compliance with the existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements concluded within the context of the Middle East peace process and the need to resume peace negotiations, as soon as possible, in order to reach a final settlement,

Concerned about the deterioration of the situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and about the severe consequences of continuous illegal Israeli settlements activities as well as the harsh economic conditions and other consequences for the situation of Palestinian women and their families, resulting from the frequent closures and isolation of the occupied territory,

Expressing its condemnation of acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life,

1. Calls upon the concerned parties, as well as the entire international community, to exert all the necessary efforts towards ensuring the immediate resumption of the peace process on its agreed basis, taking into account the common ground already gained, and calls for measures for tangible improvements in the difficult situation on the ground and living conditions faced by Palestinian women and their families;

2. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development planning of their society;

3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 6/ the Regulations annexed to The Hague Convention of 1907 7/ and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, 8/ in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;

4. Calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;

5. Urges Member States, financial organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and other relevant institutions to intensify their efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to Palestinian women, especially during the transitional period;

6. Requests the Commission on the Status of Women to continue to monitor and take action with regard to the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation and to assist Palestinian women by all available means, and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-sixth session a report on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.

______________
1/ E/CN.6/2001/2.
2/ Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex I.
3/ Ibid., annex II.
4/ Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 5-16 July 1985 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.85.IV.10), chap. I, sect. A.
5/ See General Assembly resolution 48/104.
6/ General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).
7/ See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).
8/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.





IV.
    UPDATE TO THE MISSION REPORT ON ISRAEL’S
    VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PALESTINIAN
    TERRITORIES OCCUPIED SINCE 1967, SUBMITTED BY
    GIORGIO GIACOMELLI, SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR
    OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS


In response to the grave human rights situation accompanying the escalation of violent confrontations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in late September 2000, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Giorgio Giacomelli, undertook a mission to the region to ascertain the prevailing human rights conditions. The update he produced (E/CN.4/2001/30 of 21 March 2001) is to be read in conjunction with the reports that the Special Rapporteur submitted to the Commission at its fifty-sixth session (E/CN.4/2000/25) and the report he submitted following his mission to the occupied Palestinian territories in October 2000 (E/CN.4/S-5/3). The conclusions and recommendations of Mr. Giacomelli’s update are reproduced below:

Conclusions and recommendations

31. Some interlocutors had expressed the hope that the final collapse of unproductive negotiation efforts under the Oslo process would inspire a new framework for a peace process grounded in human rights and international law. That hope seems to have given way to a sense that the present conflict will continue. This paradigm shift makes the international efforts at implementing human rights all the more imperative. In this report of the Special Rapporteur’s findings, it remains fitting to point out that only one of the Special Rapporteur’s specific recommendations for urgent action has been carried out: establishing a speedy and objective mechanism of inquiry. The remaining recommended actions remain untried.

32. Among those remains the need to apply in earnest the international standards for policing and law enforcement. These standards are part and parcel of the human rights framework to be applied in the remedial measures required to respect, protect, promote and fulfill all human rights. The Special Rapporteur notes the apparent lack of such a civil law-enforcement function among Israel’s forces in the occupied Palestinian territories. While this observation may not reflect a new trend, the militarized situation since September 2000 makes more urgent the need to train and discipline forces on the ground according to international standards. The goal of maintaining law and order underscores the need for demilitarization, especially in the light of the escalating resort to military tactics on both sides.

33. The Special Rapporteur also would like to re-emphasize the importance and urgency of international protection for the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. In so doing, he endorses the recommendations made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report on her visit to the occupied territories (E/CN.4/2001/114) and Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000 to that effect.

34. The Special Rapporteur recognizes that, as of today, the purpose of protection enshrined in humanitarian law, in particular in the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, has not been served in the occupied Palestinian territories. It has to be noted that, while the principal responsibility lies with the occupying Power, all the other High Contracting Parties also bear responsibility for ensuring respect for these provisions. The Special Rapporteur, therefore, welcomes the General Assembly’s initiative relating to effective application of the Fourth Geneva Convention and looks forward to the follow-up pledged by the High Contracting Parties at their conference on 15 July 1999. To this end, the Special Rapporteur wishes to acknowledge that there remains a range of options available to ensure respect through collective action, joint action and bilateral measures under the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the Charter of the United Nations.

35. The Special Rapporteur remains convinced that the current conflict is rooted in accumulated grievances and resentment at the continuing violations of human rights and humanitarian norms under Israeli occupation. He is particularly concerned that any progress at confidence-building achieved between the two sides may be irretrievably lost. This signals the urgent need to adopt measures towards restoring confidence and rekindling hope in a durable peace. Indeed, the Special Rapporteur stresses, once again, that international law should be respected not only for obvious juridical and ethical reasons, but in the interest of the parties themselves. In fact, international law and, in particular, human rights and humanitarian norms form the indispensable foundation of any just and lasting solution.


V.
    SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUES STATEMENT
    URGING ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS TO RETURN
    TO PATH OF PEACE

The following is an excerpt from a statement made in Amman, Jordan, on 26 March 2001 by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the summit meeting of the League of Arab States (see SG/SM/7755):

The current cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis has seen hundreds killed and thousands wounded, the great majority of them Palestinians. Poverty and unemployment have skyrocketed. Blockades and closures have paralyzed the Palestinian economy, isolated the West Bank and Gaza, and prevented the delivery of medicine, food and fuel. Collective punishment has cast a pall of anger and despair over the already-tense occupied territories. Israelis, too, have seen high hopes turn to fear.

The crisis is of grave concern to us all, especially given the historic gains that had been made and the hopes that had been raised. I am also concerned that, amid the tensions and the rhetoric, a key point is often lost. The international community and the Arab world have every right to criticize Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory, and for its excessively harsh response to the intifada. But these points could be made more effectively if many Israelis did not believe that their existence was under threat. Israel has a right, enshrined in numerous United Nations resolutions, to exist in safety within internationally recognized borders.

So I again urge both sides to return to the path of peace. There is no solution to be found in violence, and no sense in postponing the day when the parties return to the table. Now more than ever, what we need is movement towards an agreement that responds both to the legitimate desire of the Palestinians for national independence, and to the legitimate claims of the Israelis to recognition and security - a comprehensive, just and lasting agreement on the basis set out so long ago in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and on the principle of land for peace.

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