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Source: Human Rights Council
27 November 2006



UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL OPENS RESUMED SECOND SESSION


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Human Rights Council
MORNING

27 November 2006

Adopts Three Resolutions and Seven Decisions

The Human Rights Council this morning opened its resumed second session, adopting three resolutions and seven decisions, including on the review of the mandates of the Council, access to water, extreme poverty, human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, the right to truth, the incompatibility between democracy and racism, access to medication in the context of pandemics, the right of everyone to the right to health, the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, and integrity of the judicial system.


After the Council concludes taking action on deferred draft resolutions and decisions, it will start its scheduled third session.


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In a resolution on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, one against and 14 abstentions, the Council called upon Israel, the occupying power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council, in particular resolution 497 (1981); and determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the occupying power, that purported to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan were null and void, constituted a flagrant violation of international law and of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and had no legal effect.

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Action on Draft Resolutions and Decisions

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Resolution on Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan

In a resolution (A/HRC/2/L.5/Rev.1) on
human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted as orally amended by a vote of 32 in favour, one against, and 14 abstentions, the Council calls upon Israel, the occupying power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council, in particular resolution 497 (1981); also calls upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and emphasizes that the displaced persons of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their property; further calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from its repressive measures against them and from all other practices mentioned in the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories; and determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the occupying Power, that purport to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan are null and void, constitute a flagrant violation of international law and of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and have no legal effect.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour
(32): Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against
(1): Canada.

Abstentions
(14): Cameroon, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

ABDULLA ABDULLATIF ABDULLA (
Bahrain), in a general comment, and speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the Arab Group supported the draft resolution and called on others to do the same.

KHALIT BITAR (
Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said the draft resolution was about human rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan and violations of human rights of citizens in the Golan, including civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, all of which were enshrined in international human rights instruments. These violations began with the occupation by Israel of the Syrian Golan in 1967. There was a decision in 1981 to annex the Golan, imposing Israeli administration and law on the Golan, and this brought to light the intention of Israel to occupy or annex the Golan. This was refused by the international community and the Security Council adopted a resolution considering this step to be null and void. Nevertheless, Israel continued a deliberate policy of "Judaicisation" of the area, changing the Arab Syrian identity of the people of the region. Israel had also proceeded to large-scale arrests, torture and imprisonment, and continued to refuse to specify the places where it had put anti-personnel mines. Israel was committing these crimes far from the eye of the international community, and had refused to receive the special commission on Israeli practices concerning the rights of the Arab peoples in the Occupied Territories. Israel would not stop these violations until it stopped the occupation. The resolution should be adopted by consensus, in keeping with the objectives of the Council.

ITZHAK LEVANON (
Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said that given the amount of work the Human Rights Council had to undertake in the coming days, it was sad that this draft resolution was diverting the attention of the Council. The Six-Day War was initiated by Syria. The description given by Syria of the Golan gave the impression that the Golan was now a desolate land. This was far from true, as the economy was booming and everybody was enjoying human rights and also profiting from the economic vitality of the region. Syria had rejected on several opportunities the efforts of Israel to a peaceful settlement of the question. Syria's malevolent behaviour showed in its support of radical terrorists organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Syria had used methods to undermine democratic systems. Israel urged all delegations to vote against this resolution.

TEHMINA JANJUA (
Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that based on the discussion that had taken place in the room, operative paragraph 7 of the draft should be amended so that it could be adopted by consensus. The OIC wished for the draft to be adopted by consensus.

TERRY CORMIER (
Canada), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the Council was not an appropriate forum to discuss this issue. There were serious reservations with regards to the resolution, which did not reflect a balanced assessment of human rights in the region, and did not recognise all victims of the conflict. Canada therefore requested a vote and would vote against the resolution.

TAPANI KIVELA (
Finland), in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the amendment to operative paragraph 7, and also welcomed the constructive dialogue with Syria. Finland said that the European Union would abstain on this draft resolution on account on existing concerns over the text.

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