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


HR/4562
31 August 2001

COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

CONCLUDES TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION


Releases Observations and Recommendations on Senegal,
Syrian Arab Republic, Panama, Ukraine, Japan, Nepal, Germany and Israel

(Reissued as received)


GENEVA, 31 August (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today concluded its twenty-sixth session by issuing its concluding observations and recommendations on how the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are protected in Senegal, the Syrian Arab Republic, Panama, Ukraine, Japan, Nepal and Germany whose reports were considered by the Committee during its three-week session. In addition, the Committee offered conclusions and recommendations on the additional information submitted by Israel on how it implements the Covenant in the occupied territories.

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The Committee noted that the additional information submitted by Israel did not include information on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in the occupied territories, except in relation to East Jerusalem. In the absence of such information in relation to the other occupied territories, and in accordance with its procedure in response to non-submitted and overdue reports, the Committee proceeded to discuss the situation in the occupied territories.

In its concluding observations on the situation in Israel, the Committee expressed its deep concern about the State party's continuing gross violations of economic, social and cultural rights in the occupied territories, especially the severe measures adopted by the State party to restrict the movement of civilians between points within and outside the occupied territories, severing their access to food, water, health care, education and work. The Committee was particularly concerned that on frequent occasions, the State party’s closure policy had prevented civilians from reaching medical services. The Committee urged the State party to exercise its powers and responsibilities to put an end to the violence, the loss of human lives and the restrictions imposed on the movement of civilians between points within and outside the occupied territories.

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Conclusions and Recommendations on Country Reports

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Israel

The Committee deplored the State party’s refusal to report on the occupied territories and the State party’s position that the Covenant did not apply to "areas that are not subject to its sovereign territory and jurisdiction". It rejected the State party’s assertion regarding the distinction between human rights and humanitarian law under international law to support its argument that the Committee’s mandate "cannot relate to events in the Gaza Strip and West Bank." The Committee reminded the State party that also in times of armed conflict, fundamental human rights should be respected and that basic economic, social and cultural rights as part of the minimum standards of human rights were guaranteed under customary international law and were also prescribed by international humanitarian law.

The Committee expressed its deep concern about the State party's continuing gross violations of economic, social and cultural rights in the occupied territories, especially the severe measures adopted by the State party to restrict the movement of civilians between points within and outside the occupied territories, severing their access to food, water, health care, education and work. The Committee was particularly concerned that on frequent occasions, the State party’s closure policy had prevented civilians from reaching medical services. The Committee continued to be concerned that the State party's Law of Return denied indigenous Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes and properties.

The Committee urged the State party to exercise its powers and responsibilities to put an end to the violence, the loss of human lives and the restrictions imposed on the movement of civilians between points within and outside the occupied territories. In that regard, the Committee urged the State party to implement without delay its obligations under the Covenant and to desist from decisions and measures resulting in violations of economic, social and cultural rights of the population living in the occupied territories. The Committee reiterated its request that the State party provide information on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in all occupied territories. That information should be submitted in time for consideration together with the State party's second periodic report, which was tentatively scheduled for the thirtieth session of the Committee in April/May 2003.

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