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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS


30 September 2003
[Geneva press briefing]

REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE

Marie Heuzé, Director of the United Nations Information Service at Geneva, chaired the briefing which was attended by José Luis Díaz (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights); Tom Netter (International Labour Office); Sylvie Lacroux (UN-Habitat Geneva); Fadela Chaib (World Health Organization); Samar Shamoon (World Intellectual Property Organization); Peter Kessler (UN High Commissioner for Refugees); and Christopher Lom (International Organization for Migration). The briefing was also attended by Damien Personnaz for the United Nations Children's Fund who had no announcements to make. Christiane Berthiaume of the World Food Programme would be away for a week in Canada.

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Human Rights

José Luis Díaz, Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ...

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Mr. Díaz said the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, John Dugard, had just been made available. Journalists would find it on the website of the Office (http://www.unhchr.ch/pdf/chr60/ECN420046[AE].doc). Mr. Dugard said in the report that "it was important to record that the past six months had seen continued violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the area. The Government of Israel had justified its actions in the occupied Palestinian territories on the grounds of self-defense, and had portrayed them as anti-terrorism measures. That Israel had legitimate security concerns could not be denied; on the other hand, some limit had to be placed on the violation of human rights in the name of counter-terrorism. A balance had to be struck between the respect for human rights and the interests of security".

Asked if this report would be presented to the General Assembly, Mr. Díaz said that the report had been prepared for the Commission's next session in the spring of 2004. The report was a result of the Special Rapporteur's visit to the region last June during which he visited Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jericho and Jerusalem.

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Asked how long Mr. Dugard's report was, and whether he had any paper copies, Mr. Díaz said that the report was 16 pages long. The Director said that copies would be put in the press room.

A journalist asked if it would be possible to contact Mr. Dugard and to arrange a briefing with him. Mr. Díaz said he would ask.

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For information media - not an official record