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UNITED
NATIONS

Distr.
GENERAL
CERD/C/SR.1624
4 March 2004

Original: ENGLISH


COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

Sixty-fourth session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 1624th MEETING

Held at the Palais Wilson, Geneva,

on Monday, 1 March 2004, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mr. YUTZIS

later: Mr. SICILIANOS
(Vice-Chairman)

later: Mr. YUTZIS

CONTENTS


THEMATIC DISCUSSION ON NON-CITIZENS AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.

THEMATIC DISCUSSION ON NON-CITIZENS AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (agenda item 4) ( continued)
1. The CHAIRMAN invited States parties, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to express their views on the subject of non-citizens and racial discrimination in the course of an informal meeting. The aim of the meeting was to promote intellectual debate on the issue, to raise awareness of the current plight of people in that situation, to help solve the problems that non-citizens face on a daily basis and to encourage fruitful, diverse dialogue.

/...

26. Mr. SHIBBLAK (Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre) said that the conclusions of a study that he had carried out on stateless persons in the Arab region had shown that around 8 million people were deprived of citizenship there; half of all Palestinian refugees were stateless. The main causes of statelessness in the region were armed conflict and racial tensions, as well as the dissolution of certain States. For example, in 1948 Israel had changed the status of Palestinians from citizens to foreign residents; even those who had remained on Israeli territory had been unable to obtain citizenship. The same strategy had been applied in relation to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 1967. Statelessness was one of the major challenges with which the next generation of Palestinians were confronted. Other groups, such as the Kurds in Iraq or the Bedouins in the Gulf region, were stateless for other reasons. In some cases, people had suddenly found themselves deprived of their citizenship for purely political reasons. Since nationality could only be conferred by paternity, the phenomenon was perpetuated by mixed marriages. Most of the legislation on nationality that was applied in the region had been devised in colonial times and had not kept pace with developments in citizenship law. The discrepancy between international and domestic law, and between legislation and reality, was massive.

/...

61. Ms. ONISKO (Palestinian Human Rights Organization) said that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon faced discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives. Such discrimination was incorporated in Lebanese domestic legislation and was practised by Lebanese authorities and civil society, in violation of the human rights of Palestinians as provided for by the Convention and by other international human rights instruments, including the Casablanca Protocol of the League of Arab States, which required all States parties to grant Palestinians the same rights as citizens except for nationality. Palestinians in Lebanon suffered numerous forms of discrimination, including exclusion from many professions, exclusion from basic health services, formal exclusion from property ownership, and restrictions on their movements within and outside of Lebanon.

62. Lebanon had yet to implement any of the recommendations made by the Committee in its concluding observations of March 1998 (CERD/C/304/Add.49). The Palestinian Human Rights Organization urged the Lebanese Government to respect its obligations under the international human rights Conventions to which it was a State party.

/...

The meeting rose at 6.05 p.m.

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