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7 November 2005
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixtieth General Assembly
ACCEPTANCE OF MULTICULTURALISM AT HEART OF GLOBAL FIGHT
AGAINST DISCRIMINATION, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD
As Debate Begins on Elimination of Racism, Speakers Warn
Of Dangerous Rise in Religious Phobia, Particularly Aimed at Muslims
The Third Committee (Social, Cultural and Humanitarian) met today to begin its general debate on elimination of racism and racial discrimination and the right of peoples to self-determination.
Statements in the exercise of the right of reply
At the start of the meeting, the Committee concluded hearing statements in exercise of the right of reply on the issue of human rights from the previous week.
The observer of
said Israel was an occupying power and was the root cause of the violence of Palestinians against Israeli citizens in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The largest obstacle to peace in the area was not terrorism, it was occupation. Palestinian violence against Israelis was a reaction to occupation. While Palestinian leaders had condemned violence and the loss of life on both sides, Israel had never condemned the killing of Palestinian citizens, including women and children. Israel’s statement had portrayed an improvement in the situation since the 1990s. However, that had been one of the darkest chapters in Palestinian history, she said, stressing that in the last five years, almost 3,800 Palestinians had been killed and thousands more wounded as a result of the occupation.
While she viewed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza as positive, she said it was important to be realistic. Israel had unilaterally disengaged after 38 years of occupation, but its legal status remained unchanged. Gaza was currently a humanitarian catastrophe. Its legal status and humanitarian issues must be resolved, including the occupation of East Jerusalem, in order for the withdrawal to be deemed a success. No one should allow Israel to distort the facts about what was happening on the ground.
The Committee then began its general debate on the elimination of racism and racial discrimination and the right of peoples to self-determination.
LA YIFAN (
The right to self-determination was an important human right, he continued. It formed the foundation and premise for the realization of all other human rights and fundamental freedoms. His delegation supported the Palestinian people in their just struggle for the right to self-determination, and hoped the international community would make joint efforts for an early, fair and reasonable solution to the Palestinian issue, so as to bring lasting peace to the Middle East. Furthermore, the right to self-determination was originally advocated in the context of combating colonialism and foreign aggression, occupation and oppression. Respect for State sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-determination was a fundamental principle of international law. Only by comprehensively adhering to the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law could people of all countries enjoy peace, development and human rights, he added.
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For information media • not an official record