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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Fifty-second General Assembly
Third Committee
29th Meeting (AM)
GA/SHC/3439
7 November 1997




THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL

DRUG CONTROL, ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN



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Also this morning, the Committee concluded its consideration of the elimination of racism and of the right to self-determination. The representative of Iran said that due attention must be given to the acts of violence, harassment, discriminatory treatment and insults against Muslims, which he called "the phenomenon of Islamophobia".

The achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable right to self-determination and statehood was a prerequisite for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, the observer for Palestine told the Committee. The representative of Israel said his country was committed to a permanent status agreement, but a formula must be found within a bilateral context, not in an open forum such as the United Nations.

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The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to take action on five draft resolutions on issues relating to international drug control and the advancement of women. It is also expected to continue its consideration of the elimination of racism, the implementation of human rights instruments, and the right to self-determination.

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AHMAD AL-HARIRI (Syria) ...

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The world was seeing great changes since the 1960s, but they did not change basic principles and values, he said. Racism must end. The United Nations had made great strides for the self-determination of peoples, and yet the Palestinian people had not yet achieved that owing to Israel's violation of the United Nations Charter and its disrespect for basic human rights and laws. Israel's twisting of history and of the facts would not bring stability. The fight for Palestinian self-determination must continue just as the fight against colonialism and racial discrimination had been pursued. The rights promoted by the United Nations must enable people to bring freedom to land now under occupation, which alone could ensure stability.

DORE GOLD (Israel) said his country would be the last to prevent self-determination for anyone. Israel fully supported self-determination. Zionism was an attempt to give self-determination to a people. However, self-determination must have context. On the political and diplomatic plane, the Israelis and Palestinians were involved in a process, but they were not alone on an island. The Palestinians had the historical backing of a coalition of Arab States, while Israel stood alone. Israel's need for border security was not born in a vacuum. No permanent agreement would be possible unless it took account of Israel's need for security on its eastern border. Israel was committed to a permanent status agreement, but a formula must be found. The place to advance such a formula was in a bilateral context, not in an open forum such as the United Nations. Bilaterality was the mechanism that had worked for Israel in the past with other Arab States.

AKRAM ZAKI (Pakistan) said the United Nations had played a major role in helping people gain the right to self-determination -- a fact that was reflected in the increased membership of the Organization. Middle East problem needed a solution which took account of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. In the Balkans, the two issues were to preserve territorial integrity and to punish the guilty.

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SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, observer for Palestine, said the denial of the most essential of all human rights -- the right of peoples to self-determination -was a grave violation of human rights and contradicted the principles and norms of the United Nations Charter, international law and all relevant human rights instruments. The Palestinian people were still denied that right and continued to suffer from discrimination, oppression and injustice. Israel, as the occupying Power, continued to deny the Palestinian people their basic and fundamental rights and to create new facts on the ground, including illegal colonial settlements and continued restrictions on the freedom of movement, and the detainment of prisoners. The ongoing problems of refugees and displaced persons had also worsened.

The achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination and statehood, was a prerequisite for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, she said. It was also an imperative for peace and security in the Middle East. The heroic struggles would continue until they achieved their freedom and independence and the full exercise of their inalienable rights. They would be content with nothing less than an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital. It was hoped that the Palestinian people's right to self-determination would be exercised soon within the course of the peace process.

JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba) said the struggle to throw off the burden of colonialism remained valid because domination continued in new ways. The exercise of self-determination was a prerequisite for all rights, because without it the others could have no meaning. The situation in the Middle East was distressing because the Palestinian people were fighting to exercise that most basic right, just as Cuba continued to fight for its own territory at Guantanamo, which was taken from it.

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DALILA SAMAH (Algeria) ...

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A whole range of instruments and texts existed in support of the principle of self-determination, she said. However, the important work of decolonization was incomplete as long as people were denied the right to choose their own destiny. In the Middle East, peace was deadlocked because of Israel's position. Only the removal of Israel from occupied territories would bring about stability. ...

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JAMALEDDIN HAMIDA (Libya) ...

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The United Nations Charter and international covenants on human rights emphasized the right of peoples to self-determination, he said. Despite progress made by the United Nations, many peoples continued to be denied their right to self-determination. The Palestinian people had been denied that right, despite numerous United Nations resolutions endorsing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

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