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

Fifty-third General Assembly
Third Committee
24th Meeting (PM)
26 October 1998


Committee Work Programme

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to continue its consideration of issues related to the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the right of peoples to self-determination. (For background information on the documents before the Committee, see Press Release GA/SHC/3484 of 23 October.)



ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) ...


Self-determination had become an immutable principle and there was still work to be done as long as people were being denied that right, he said, citing the cases of the Palestinian people and Western Sahara. ...

SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, observer for Palestine, said the right of peoples to self-determination was an inalienable right of all peoples, as well as a basic human right. Peoples must be able to freely choose their destinies and their economic, social and political systems. The denial of that fundamental right contravened international law. The challenge of the full realization of peoples' human rights, including the right to self-determination, remained a critical issue. The implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments was crucial.

The people of Palestine, however, continued to live under Israeli occupation, where they suffered oppression and injustice and their right to self-determination had been denied, she continued. A greater effort by the international community was necessary for the fulfilment of the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination. The Palestinian people, who numbered about 7 million, had a great history, civilization and national identity. Recognition of their right to self-determination and creation of an independent State was essential to the future of peace in the region.

The Palestinian people were frustrated and humiliated as a result of Israeli policies and practices, she said. Israel continued to increase illegal colonial settlements and to restrict the freedom of movement of the Palestinian people. She hoped that self-determination would soon be achieved. She called on the international community to support the peace process and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. She reiterated the call by President Arafat for the international community to stand by the Palestinian people, especially during the five-year transitional period provided for in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements that would end on 4 May 1999, as they awaited the establishment of their independent State.


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