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        Economic and Social Council
23 September 2004

Original: English

Substantive session of 2004
General segment

Provisional summary record of the 48th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 22 July 2004, at 10 a.m.

President: Mr. Koonjul (Vice-President) ................................................................................... (Mauritius)


Recommendations contained in the report of the Commission on Human Rights (E/2004/23 and E/2004/23/Corr.1 and programme budget implications thereto, contained in document E/2004/L.34)

48. The President invited the Council to turn to the draft decisions recommended for adoption by the Council contained in chapter I of the report of the Commission on Human Rights on its sixtieth session (E/2004/23 and Corr.1) the programme budget implications of which were set out in document E/2004/L.34.


Draft decision 4: Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine

55. Ms. Zack (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that the United States was deeply concerned about terrorist activities and ongoing violence in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza. Indeed, the human rights situation had deteriorated in large part due to the conflict. The United States regretted all civilian casualties and suffering and mourned with the families of innocent victims on both sides. Unfortunately, the draft decision did not reflect the reality of the situation on the ground. Rather, it presented a completely one-sided perspective and turned a blind eye on everything else occurring in the region, including terrorism.

56. The United States was intensely engaged in trying to move the Middle East peace process forward in a manner consistent with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002). In his address delivered on 24 June 2002, President Bush had clearly articulated his vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. In November 2003, the Security Council had unanimously adopted its resolution 1515 (2003) endorsing the Quartet Performance-based Road Map and calling on the parties to fulfil their obligations under the Road Map to achieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security.

57. The United States would vote against the draft decision and urged all those opposed to the use of terrorism to demonstrate their position by doing likewise.

58. Mr. Laurin (Canada) said that Canada continued to have serious concerns regarding the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories. Canada was particularly troubled by the continued construction of the barrier within the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the effects of ongoing curfews and closures on the humanitarian and socio-economic situation. Settlement expansion, the expropriation of lands, and the destruction of houses and property within the occupied territories were contrary to international law, undermined the prospects for a two-State solution and were harmful to the peace process. Canada urged all parties to comply fully with international law, including international humanitarian law, and maintain the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) to the occupied territories.

59. As indicated in its statement during the session of the Commission on Human Rights, Canada could not emphasize strongly enough its belief that dialogue, not violence, was the best means of advancing peace, and ultimately, the security, dignity and human rights of all people. By failing to condemn all acts of terrorism, the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights neither adequately reflected the situation nor contributed to its improvement. Furthermore, it contained inflammatory and unacceptable language that singled out one party to the conflict. For those reasons, his delegation would vote against the draft decision.

60. A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.

Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Poland, Sweden.

61. Draft decision 4 was adopted by 34 votes to 7, with 12 abstentions .


The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.

Corrections to this record should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

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