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CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 44 OF THE CONVENTION
Periodic reports of States parties due in 2000
SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC*
[15 August 2000]
2. The situation of foreign occupation constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights, particularly of the rights of the child, to which our Syrian people in the Golan, men, women and children, are daily subjected. The foreign occupation is also regarded as a stumbling block to social and economic development.
A. Children in states of emergency
1. Refugee children (art. 22)
189. The Syrian Government has given all Palestinian refugees every facility necessary to make their stay more comfortable, and it has provided them with resources and assistance to guarantee a basic subsistence. The Government has issued and continues to issue Palestinian refugees with temporary identity papers for themselves and their children and with travel documents with which they can travel in and from the country. It has facilitated their access to and provided them with the means to secure a basic subsistence and supply their daily needs. Schools and educational institutions have been established for their children in order to provide them with a good and proper education, in cooperation with international organizations and specialized agencies. Moreover, the Government has granted these refugees the same rights as any Syrian citizen to work and to travel, without any discrimination or impediment.
191. In the northern part of the occupied Golan lie the Syrian Arab villages of Majdal Shams, Mas’ada, Buq’ata, Ayn Qunya and Al-Ghajar. The total population of these villages amounts to approximately 22,500 persons. There are 11 schools in these villages, divided between the primary, preparatory and secondary stages of education and catering for a total of 5,500 male and female students.
192. Israel, the occupying State, is flagrantly violating the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law and international humanitarian law, particularly the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is also blatantly defying all the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, as well as the decisions adopted by United Nations human rights bodies. The violations perpetrated by Israel in the human rights domain consist in the following:
(a) The first human rights violation is the occupation itself. Israel has refused to implement Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council decided that the decision of Israel promulgated by the Knesset on 14 December 1981 to annex, and impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on, the Golan was null and void and without international legal effect;
(b) Israel imposes Israeli nationality on Syrian Arab citizens;
(c) Israel persists in maintaining the occupation and expanding the settlements on, and the expropriation of, cultivable land, which is the principal source of income of the population in the occupied Golan. The people are being pushed into becoming workers in Israeli factories as a way of more easily imposing economic hegemony over them;
(d) The exploitation of water in the Golan, the levying of excessive rates of taxation against Syrian Arab citizens and the employment of Arab children, including girl children and women, in the same types of heavy labour as is performed by adults but at half the rate of pay, are further examples.
193. In the field of education, the Israeli occupying authorities have endeavoured to impose a policy of deliberate ignorance on the children of the Golan, as illustrated by the following:
(a) Syrian Arab academic curricula have been entirely eliminated from all village schools in the occupied Golan and replaced with Israeli curricula that were used for Palestinian Arab students in 1948;
(b) The history, culture and struggle of the Arab peoples is misrepresented in order to serve Israeli aims;
(c) Qualified teachers are dismissed from schools and unqualified teachers and Israeli teachers are appointed to serve the purposes of the occupation. Control of teachers is assured by forcing them to sign yearly employment contracts and dismissing them, if they fail to comply with Israeli directives;
(d) Applications from Syrian Arab teachers for teaching vacancies are rejected and the few teachers that are appointed are threatened with dismissal if they participate in national celebrations and events;
(e) Schools in the Golan suffer from a shortage of classrooms and appropriate school buildings and half the student population studies in rented classrooms that were built as commercial shops or garages. In addition, large numbers of children are crowded into a single classroom and their guardians are required to pay exorbitant rates of taxation on the pretext of paying for education;
(f) Students in the occupied Syrian Golan are denied access to university education, because it is virtually impossible for them to enrol in Israeli universities owing to the high fees and costs entailed and because any person who has an opportunity to enrol in university is subjected to the general persecution that is directed towards Syrian students;
(g) Obstacles are placed in the way of students from the Golan wishing to enrol in Syrian universities, in terms of travel restrictions and threats that their study will be interrupted if they participate in any national activity. This is in addition to the humiliating treatment meted out to female students at Israeli checkpoints, the obstacles that are created to recognizing their university degrees, the delays in the equivalence procedure and attempts to intimidate them;
(h) In order to provide our citizens in the Golan with support, the mother country, Syria, broadcasts educational television programmes for our sons in the area. These programmes are well received and are closely followed by our people in the Golan. The country also offers university scholarships and UNESCO scholarships are made available, upon request, by the Syrian Government.
194. There is no acceptable or effective health system in the Golan nor are there any hospitals available to Syrian Arabs.
195. Among the methods of repression and terrorism which Israel pursues, the Israeli occupation forces have laid mines everywhere in the villages of the occupied Golan, particularly in the agricultural areas belonging to our citizens, thereby denying children even the right to play, for fear of setting off a mine.
196. Having provided this brief overview of the unyielding and permanent policies and practices pursued by Israel, it is incumbent on us to reaffirm the commitment of the Syrian Arab Republic to the search for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East region, requiring Israel’s complete withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967.
197. We call upon the international community to condemn Israeli policies and practices, to refrain from recognizing any measures undertaken by the Israeli occupation authorities in the Syrian Golan, to refuse to provide any form of cooperation or assistance in respect of these measures and to take the necessary action to bring a halt thereto, thereby showing solidarity with the children of our Arab people in the Golan, who are being subjected to death, infirmity, subjugation and deprivation at every moment of their lives.