Press Release

27 April 2001

Appoints Special Rapporteur for Indigenous People;
Ends Mandates of Special Representative on Rwanda,
Special Rapporteur on the Former Yugoslavia

The Commission on Human Rights concluded this morning its six-week session for 2001, having debated a wide series of human rights matters and having decided to appoint a new Special Rapporteur on the human rights of indigenous people; a new Independent Expert on the topic of 'international solidarity' and increased assistance to developing countries for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights; a new Independent Expert on the subject of enforced disappearances, to be joined by a Working Group on the topic to be created at the Commission's session in 2002; and a new Independent Expert to work on a draft optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, presented reports on situations in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories -- following a Special Session of the Commission on the matter last fall -- Colombia, the Republic of Chechnya of the Russian Federation, and on the abduction of children from northern Uganda.


Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine

Under this agenda item, the Commission:

-- called upon Israel to comply with relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, including resolution 497 (1981) in which the Council decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel rescind its decision; emphasized that the displaced population must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their properties; and called upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to desist from its repressive measures against them;

-- expressed grave concern at the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories; condemned the disproportionate and indiscriminate recourse to force, which could not but aggravate the situation and increase an already high death toll; urged the Government of Israel to make every effort to ensure that its security forces observed international standards regarding the use of force; expressed concern at the large number of persons, including children, detained during recent months; condemned the use of torture against Palestinians during interrogation; and called upon Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem;

-- and expressed grave concern at continuing Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Arab territories; urged the Government of Israel to take concrete actions to fulfil its obligations and cease completely its policy of expanding the settlements and related activities; to forgo and prevent any new installation of settlers in the region; to implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report, including to ensure that the Israeli security forces protected Palestinians from violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers; and urged the parties to create conditions which would allow the resumption of the peace process.

Right of Peoples to Self-Determination

Under this agenda item, the Commission:

-- reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to establish their sovereign and independent Palestinian State;


For information media - not an official record