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

Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Third Committee
25th Meeting (AM)*
27 October 2003


Delegates Stress Importance of Education,
Tolerance, Dialogue in Countering Racism, Discrimination



The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) will continue its consideration of the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, the implementation and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as the right of peoples to self-determination. 


Interactive dialogue


AMR MOHAMED ROSHDY (Egypt) said the right of people to self-determination was an inalienable right enshrined in the United Nations Charter and other international instruments.  The right to resist foreign occupation to regain freedom was a natural right of all peoples.  His delegation could not discuss self-determination without discussing the situation in the Palestinian occupied territories, where men, women and children were all targets of the Israeli military.  What must the people of Palestine do given that the international community was doing nothing to protect them?

The General Assembly had reaffirmed the legitimacy of the right to people under forced occupation to request and receive assistance in order to continue their legitimate struggle, he said. Terrorism was not resistance; terrorism was the occupation itself and the repression of a legitimate resistance in the quest for self-determination.  As long as occupation persisted, so would suffering, and as long as suffering persisted, the Palestinian resistance would remain a legitimate right.

Palestine would free itself, whether or not the occupying Power wanted it to.  He said the Palestinian people would reach their goals no matter how stubborn the occupation was.  The resolve of the Palestinian people to take their lives in their own hands would be stronger.  There was nothing stronger than an idea whose time had come, the idea of self-determination.

AHMED Y. Y. GZLLAL (Libya) said racist policies based on discrimination were an offence to equality among people.  Among the worst crimes committed were those that had been perpetrated against South Africans during the apartheid regime.  Today, the worst crimes committed were those committed against the Palestinian people and their inalienable right to self-determination.  Regarding racist regimes that discriminated against people based on ethnic or religious grounds, he said there was particular concern about the situation of migrants in host countries, particularly those of Arab or Muslim backgrounds.  It was unfortunate that, as had been pointed out by the Special Rapporteur on racism, some States qualified Islam as a religion of fanaticism and extremism.


Mr. AKASHA (Sudan) ...


Concerning self-determination, he said that all people of the world must be allowed to enjoy the right to self-determination.  In this connection, he said the international community must address the difficult situation of the Palestinian people and provide assistance to ensure their inalienable right to self-determination.


KAY FUSANO (Japan) ...


She said self-determination was an inalienable right of all peoples, and that the vicious circle seen in the Middle East was extremely alarming.  Japan strongly hoped that, in order to resume the implementation of the “Road Map” – the only path toward peace – both the Israeli and Palestinian sides must exercise the maximum of self-restraints and refrain from taking measures that would worsen the situation.

NIZAR AL-QAISI (Jordan) said his country fully supported the right of peoples to self-determination, and the right to independence or the right of every people to establish their own State.  Guaranteeing those rights would provide international peace and stability.  The absence of such rights under the yoke of colonialism was an attack on basic human rights.  His delegation reiterated the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and their right to have a State with East Jerusalem as its capital.


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*Pages 2-9 of this release should have been the 25th Meeting (AM) only.
For information media - not an official record