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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 45th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Tuesday, 13 April 2004, at 10 a.m.
Chairperson: Mr. SMITH (Australia)
(a) MIGRANT WORKERS
(c) MASS EXODUSES AND DISPLACED PERSONS
(d) OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS (continued)
(d) OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS
(agenda item 14) (continued ) (E/CN.4/2004/71-75, 76 and Add.1-4, 77 and Add. 1-4, 78 and Add.1, 119 and 122; E/CN.4/2004/G/15, 17 and 32; E/CN.4/2004/NGO/20, 22, 23, 61, 63, 67, 75, 87, 90, 97, 115, 137, 148, 178, 188, 209, 215, 216, 233-235, 242, 249-252; A/58/118 and Corr.1, 161 and 255)
6. Mr. LITTMAN (World Union for Progressive Judaism) drew the Commission’s attention to a written statement by his organization entitled “Historical facts and figures: the forgotten Jewish refugees from Arab countries” (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/NGO/35), which addressed the neglected issue of the modern exodus of Jews from Arab countries. The tragedy of the Arab refugees of mandated Palestine had occurred because of the refusal of the Arab League and the Palestinian leadership to accept international legality in 1947 and their unashamed aim of eliminating the nascent State of Israel, a policy that had been maintained for 40 years and had been reactivated by some States and Islamist groups such as Hamas. The Jewish refugees from Arab countries, however, had been victimized because of their religion. Furthermore, their situation and even the documented condition of dhimmitude that had taken place for 13 centuries had been denied. A petition submitted to the High Commissioner two years previously by the Christian Barnabas Fund - signed at the time by over 123,000 persons from 70 countries and by many more since - asked for indigenous Christian minorities in Muslim-majority countries to be given the same rights and freedoms as those enjoyed by Muslim minorities in Western countries. His organization was gravely concerned at the shameful collective blindness of the international community and called on the United Nations, as well as all religious leaders, to hear the lamentations of the remnant dhimmi communities, who often faced persecution and discrimination as an inferior, religious minority and were falsely accused by their oppressors.
52. Mr. GENIUSAS (International Federation of Free Journalists), referring to the Secretary-General’s statement on the tenth anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, cautioned the Commission against failing to respond to the pleas of the Chechens, the Tibetans, the Kashmiris, the Palestinians, the Kurds and many other threatened peoples and minorities.