French text: French.pdf
Press Release

2 April 2004


Commission Concludes General Debate on Civil and Political Rights, Starts Consideration of Women’s Human Rights

The Commission on Human Rights this afternoon started its consideration of its agenda item on the integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective, hearing an address from the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.


Also this afternoon, the Commission concluded its general debate on civil and political rights after hearing from a series of non-governmental organizations which raised alleged cases of violations of freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of religion and belief, freedom from torture, freedom from enforced disappearances and independence of the judiciary in countries and territories around the world.


General Debate on Civil and Political Rights


Right of Reply

GEBRAN SOUFAN (Lebanon), speaking in right of reply, said Lebanon wished to commend various Working Groups and Special Rapporteurs for having acknowledged communications received from Lebanon. Such communications underlined the strong belief of Lebanon in dialogue as a way of reaching constructive and conclusive results. In the report on enforced or arbitrary disappearances, the Working Group raised the matter of 314 cases which occurred in 1982 and 1983 in the context of past tragic events in Lebanon. The Government could not be held accountable for a situation where chaos prevailed at the expense of the rule of law. The Representative of Israel, acting yesterday as the sole advocate and protector of Semitism, had mentioned a TV series, portraying it as anti-Semitic propaganda and hate-mongering, in order to divert attention from Israel’s grave human rights violations. Lebanon could not compete with Israel’s manipulations, and did not wish to, but Israel would never be able to stand up to freedom of religion in Lebanon within the confines of the law.

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syrian Arab Republic), speaking in right of reply, said the statement of the Israeli delegation yesterday had not hesitated to distort the facts of history in the same way that the Government did not hesitate to alter geographical facts on the ground. The term “Semitism” applied to the inhabitants of the region, not to followers of a certain religion. The Israeli delegation had tried to establish a monopoly on the use of the term “anti-Semitism” and use it to put a negative label on anyone who dared to criticize the Israeli Government and its violations of human rights. This juxtaposition between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel had been on the rise over the past few years. Yet one had only to listen to the statements of Israel’s leaders over the years to see that they evinced an utter disregard of others. Such ideas as espoused by those leaders constituted racism. Anyone issuing such statements and resorting to such barbaric acts as Israel resorted to in occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories was truly anti-Semitic and racist.


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