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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

HR/CN/996
19 March 2003

ORGANIZATIONS ADDRESS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 18 March (UN Information Service) -- Senior Government officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Swiss Confederation, Gabon, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy, Serbia and Montenegro and Zimbabwe as well as representatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Inter-Parliamentary Union spoke before the Commission on Human Rights this morning.  A recurring theme was the international political situation.  Many speakers expressed alarm at the human rights situation in various parts of the world and serious concern at the impact of the campaign against terrorism on human rights.

Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the possibility of the launching of a US-led unjustified attack against Iraq created apprehension of a human catastrophe to be unleashed in the whole of the Middle East.  Such an attack would be a violation of international legitimacy and an undermining of the United Nations authority, shaking the foundation of international law, and a return to the principle of the strong bullying the weak and jungle justice.

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Statements

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ABDELOUAHED BELKEZIZ, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said there was no doubt that the current unstable and volatile condition of the world and the negative impacts on the human rights situation, conferred greater importance on the work of the Commission, especially since it was the highest inter-governmental forum concerned with following up human rights matters.  This very fact placed upon it the dual responsibility of follow-up and investigation and to act scrupulously and in fairness in the defence of human rights values with courage and impartiality.  It had already become clear to all that the daily practices of human rights had suffered severe setbacks in recent times.  Disturbing anti-Islamic campaigns had also increased, propagated by those taking advantage of the general climate created by the war against terrorism.

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Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories encompassed all violations specified in the lists of human rights abuses.  The possibility of the launching of a United States-led unjustified attack against Iraq, Mr. Belkeziz said, caused apprehensions of a human catastrophe to be unleashed in the whole of the Middle East.  Such an attack would be a violation of international legitimacy and an undermining of the United Nations authority, shaking the foundation of international law, a return to the principle of the strong bullying the weak, and jungle justice.

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