Press Release

19 March 2003


Laud Inauguration of International Criminal
Court, Call for Rights-Based Responses to Terrorism

(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 17 March (UN Information Service) -- High Government officials of Brazil, Latvia, Greece, Ukraine, Paraguay, Austria, and Colombia spoke before the Commission on Human Rights this afternoon, variously describing national measures to bolster fundamental rights and freedoms, expressing support for the recently established International Criminal Court, and cautioning that efforts to counter terrorism, while vital, must respect internationally established human rights norms.



NILMARIO MIRANDA, Special Secretary on Human Rights of Brazil with ministerial ranking, said the election of the Chairperson of the Commission showed the importance now given to women in the Arab and African worlds.

The democratically elected Brazilian Government aimed to guarantee human rights to all its citizens, Mr. Miranda said.  The end of the Cold War, nurtured in hearts and expectations, had given rise to hopes of a multilateral system, in which governments would cooperate and communicate freely.  With the new instruments created over the last few years, the Convention on Migrant Workers for example, progress had been made towards creating greater guarantees for human rights globally.  However, there had been setbacks, such as atrocities committed by terrorist groups, and these should be fought by legal guarantees and a net of international standards.  Research into the causes and possible resolutions of conflicts should be resumed, notably in Palestine.  Collective punishments of the civilian population of the occupied territories should come to an end. 


Rights of Reply


A Representative of Palestine, speaking in right to reply, said the Commission was used to hearing rights of reply, and these mostly contradicted what had been said earlier. Regarding the statement made this morning by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in which he said he hoped to visit Palestine following the session, it was hoped that this was an already planned meeting, and that the High Commissioner understood the threats to human rights in Palestine due to the actions of the current power there. The Commissioner would undoubtedly receive a warm welcome from the Palestinian Authority and from the Palestinian people on his arrival.

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For information media - not an official record