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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

HR/CN/05/16
21 March 2005

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CONCLUDES GENERAL DEBATE ON RACISM, XENOPHOBIA AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION

Participants Affirm that the Elimination of Racism is the Responsibility of All Mankind


The Commission on Human Rights this afternoon concluded its general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination. Representatives of national governments as well as numerous non-governmental organizations took the floor, addressing such issues as the lack of implementation of the commitments ensuing from the Durban World Conference against Racism; the apparent rise in racism and discrimination; and the appearance of new forms of racism and xenophobia. The elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance was the responsibility of all humankind, speakers agreed.

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Statements


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AMIN MELEIKA (Egypt) said racism was the primary scourge suffered by humankind throughout its history; it had led to wars, looting, injustice and other phenomena. It was still a serious threat, and various constitutions in Egypt had guaranteed rights for all citizens irrespective of race or religion. Despite all the national and international legislation, racism and racist crimes were expanding. It was wrong to think that one form of discrimination was more worthy to fight than another, because that in itself was a kind of discrimination. Egypt was deeply concerned about the escalation of campaigns of discrimination against Arabs and Muslims following the September 11 attacks which that often resulted in violence and physical attacks. Egypt also wished to point out that collective punishment was one of the most dangerous manifestations related to racism. The building of a wall to isolate a whole people and to take away the peoples basic rights was the worst thing that one person could do against another. The international justice has already said its word about the "security wall" in Palestine, and the world was waiting for Israel to implement it, remove the wall and compensate the victims.

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C. ANNE MASSAGEE, of Al-Haq law in the service of man, said that Israel had been separating thousands of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories from their families in Israel solely on the basis of ethnic origin for three years now. In July 2003, Israel enacted the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law, which specifically excluded the residents of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. That discriminatory law did not apply to people whose spouses were from other parts of the world. Moreover, it had been applied retroactively, freezing the upgrading of any previously granted status. The sweeping prohibition could not be justified by security claims, but considered the whole Palestinian population a security threat and banned them from family reunification in Israel on the basis of their ethnic origin. The law also discriminated against Arab citizens and residents of Israel who married Palestinian residents of the occupied territories. The international community must take a stand on this racist law, and the Commission should condemn Israel’s discriminatory practices.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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For information media - not an official record