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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

HR/CN/930
23 April 1999


COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON CUBA, AFGHANISTAN, BURUNDI AND OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

Commission Rejects Resolution on Kosovo

(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 23 April (UN Information Service) -- The Commission on Human Rights ...

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The Commission also approved by roll-call vote three resolutions condemning Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, and on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. A resolution denouncing the use of mercenaries in armed conflicts across the world was roll-call vote, and a resolution on the question of the Western Sahara was adopted by consensus.

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Action on Draft Resolutions

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In a resolution adopted by roll-call vote of 31 for to 1 against and 21 abstentions, (E/CN.4/1999/L.9) on the question of violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, the Commission condemned continued human-rights violations there, including in East Jerusalem, in particular continuing acts of wounding and killing perpetrated by Israeli soldiers and settlers against Palestinians, in addition to the detention of thousands of Palestinians without trial, the continuation of the confiscation of Palestinian lands, the extension and establishment of Israeli settlements thereon, the confiscation of Palestinian property and expropriation of their land, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of fruit trees, and called upon Israel to cease these acts immediately; condemned the expropriation of Palestinian homes in Al-Amoud district in Jerusalem; condemned the use of torture against Palestinians during interrogation, which the Israeli High Court of Justice had legitimized; reaffirmed that all Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, were illegal; reaffirmed that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War was applicable to the Palestinian territory and other occupied Arab territories; called upon Israel to cease immediately its policy of collective punishments; called once more upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories and to desist from all human-rights violations there; and requested the Secretary-General to bring this resolution to the attention of the Government of Israel and other Governments.

The result of the vote was a follows:

In favour: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia and Venezuela.

Against: United States.

Abstentions: Argentina, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

DAVID PELEG (Israel) expressed regret that the Commission would once again vote on an unbalanced draft that tended to politicize a human right. The allegations against Israel contained in the draft resolution would not be commented on. Israel had consistently been singled out in the international community, as shown by the fact that it had a whole agenda item devoted to it. The lessons learned by this meeting was the growing support for a change in the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to match the mandates of others. This was supported by Israel. Any fair and reasonable review of the draft would lead the Commission to vote against it, and this was sincerely hoped for.

NANCY RUBIN (United States) said that where advances had been made, they needed to be protected. That was the case with the Middle East. Would more one-sided attacks against Israel move the peace process forward? The answer was no. The delegation would call for a vote on this draft resolution.

WILHELM HOYNCK (Germany), on behalf of the European Union, said it regretted that it was not able to support the draft resolution. The European Union would have to abstain. The draft resolution contained formulations that would likely prejudge the final negotiations.

BJORN SKOGMO (Norway) said that it shared the views expressed by Germany, and continued to be concerned by the violation of human rights in the occupied territories. The draft resolution would provide a minimal standard. Norway would abstain from the vote since it did not find the text sufficiently balanced.

In a resolution adopted by roll-call vote of 32 in favour to 1 against and 20 abstentions, (E/CN.4/1999/L.13) on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, the Commission called upon Israel, the occupying power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council which declared that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the occupied Golan was null and void, and demanded that Israel rescind forthwith its decision; called upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and emphasized that displaced persons must be allowed to return to their homes and recover their properties; called upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to desist from its repressive measures against them; determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel that purported to alter the character and legal status of the region were null and void and constituted a flagrant violation of international law; and called once again upon Member States not to recognize any of the legislative or administrative measures and actions referred to in the present resolution.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour: Argentina, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia and Venezuela.

Against: United States.

Abstentions: Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

WILHELM HOYNCK (Germany), on behalf of the European Union and the eastern and central European countries associated with it, regretted that it could not support the draft resolution on human rights in the Syrian Golan, since the language went further than other resolutions on the Syrian Golan. It was hoped that this could be changed, so as to bring it back into line and to emphasize the importance of human rights.

In a resolution adopted by roll-call vote of 50 in favour to 1 against and 2 abstentions, (E/CN.4/1999/L.15) on Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories, the Commission welcomed the Wye River Memorandum of 23 October 1998 and called for the full implementation of the Memorandum, as well as of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 28 September 1995 and other related agreements; expressed regret at the lack of cooperation on the part of the Government of Israel with the relevant Special Rapporteur; expressed grave concern at Israeli settlement activities and their increase since the signing of the Wye River Memorandum since they were illegal, constituted a violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and were a major obstacle to peace; expressed grave concern over and strongly condemned all acts of terrorism, while calling upon all parties not to allow any acts of terrorism to affect the on-going peace process negatively; and urged the Government of Israel to comply fully with previous Commission resolutions on the subject, to match its stated commitment to the peace process with concrete actions, and to forego and prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour: Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Kingdom , Uruguay and Venezuela.

Against: United States.

Abstentions: Liberia and Romania.

DAVID PELEG (Israel) said the issue of the settlements was one of the issues that would be discussed in the final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Any resolution regarding the settlements was an attempt to prejudge the results of the negotiations that should be conducted between Israel and the Palestinians. Whether it was about Golan or the settlements, it was between Israel and its neighbours.

OLEG MALGUINOV (Russian Federation) said that it had abstained on the vote because the draft did not respond to the needs posed by the conflict. A process of negotiation was required. There was hope that the draft would be improved at the next session.

SIPHO NENE (South Africa) said it voted in favour of L.15 because it was concerned about reports of Israeli activity in the occupied territories. South Africa continued to support the rights of the Palestinian people, and encouraged the Government of Israel to show its commitment to peace making in the region.

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