Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
10 February 1993
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 5th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Wednesday, 3 February 1993, at 3 p.m.
: Mr. ENNACEUR (Tunisia)
later: Mr. BROTODININGRAT (Indonesia)
Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine (
The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation (
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The meeting was called to order at 3.45 p.m.
QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, INCLUDING PALESTINE (agenda item 4) (
THE RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO PEOPLES UNDER COLONIAL OR ALIEN DOMINATION OR FOREIGN OCCUPATION (agenda item 9) (
, 18 and 19 and Add.1; E/CN.4/1992/12; A/47/412)
(Centre Europe-Tiers Monde), speaking also on behalf of the Association for Union between the Jewish and Palestinian Peoples, said that, in the four months of its existence, the current Israeli Government had disappointed hopes by violating human rights and intensifying repression in the occupied Arab territories. The recent large-scale deportations represented a significant upward spiral in that repression as well as a blatant provocation at a time when the peace process was under way. They had been carried out in contravention not only of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) - of which Israel was a signatory, although it refused to apply the Convention in the occupied territories, but also of Israeli domestic legislation.
25. Moreover, the 415 deportees were being kept in harsh conditions in an improvised encampment in the desert: indeed, they had even been denied assistance from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) until 7 January 1993, when the Israeli Government had been forced by the pressure of world opinion to allow a doctor and an ICRC delegate to visit them.
26. At a time when tensions were being inflamed by the illegal and brutal measures adopted in the occupied territories to suppress demonstrations of solidarity with the deportees, the Israeli Government sought to appease international indignation, and opposition within Israel itself, by a series of concessions.
27. It should be emphasized, however, that the deportations were merely the latest challenge to international law perpetrated by the Israeli authorities - with the acquiescence of the Government of the United States - in defiance of United Nations resolutions: since the Arab territories had been occupied in 1967, some 1,600 Palestinians had been deported, the underlying aim being to tilt the demographic balance in favour of the Jewish population. If the international community failed to halt the deportation of 415 Palestinians, there appeared to be nothing to prevent the eventual deportation of 400,000.
28. To put an end to the policy of exclusion and ethnic cleansing, which posed a threat to peace in the Middle East and the world at large, there were a number of steps to be taken: firstly, all the deportees must be repatriated immediately; secondly, their safety must be guaranteed once repatriated; thirdly, Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected; fourthly, pressure must be exerted to compel Israel to ratify the Fourth Geneva Convention and to implement it in the territories it had occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem; and finally, the Security Council should assert its independence by applying immediate sanctions against the State of Israel.
(Pakistan) said that, having itself achieved independence through the exercise of the right to self-determination, Pakistan considered itself duty-bound to extend its support to peoples suffering under colonial or alien domination so as to enable them to exercise that same right. It was a tragedy that the right to self-determination had not been realized in some cases where it had been explicitly promised. Palestine, South Africa and Kashmir were three glaring examples.
(Republic of Korea) said that, ...
51. Although the change of Government in Israel in June 1992, and the new Government's pledge to curtail the building of settlements in the occupied territories had improved the prospects for peace talks, the Commission was still receiving many reports of human rights violations in the occupied territories, including summary executions, torture and inhuman treatment, the use of excessive force against demonstrators and various forms of collective punishment. He was particularly concerned at the serious armed violence that had occurred in December 1992 and at the subsequent deportation of more than 400 Palestinians, who were attempting to survive in a no man's land without the basic necessities of life.
52. In addition to violating international humanitarian laws and principles, the deportations would adversely affect the ongoing Middle East peace process, and he sincerely hoped that the human rights of the deportees would be guaranteed and that they would be safely repatriated as soon as possible in accordance with Security Council resolution
53. The question of human rights violations in the occupied territories was closely linked to the negotiations to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East, and he reiterated his delegation's support for a political settlement based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions
54. Full respect for and realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as recognized by the United Nations, including the right to self-determination and the right to national independence and sovereignty, were indispensable if a solution to the problem was to be found. He also wished to emphasize that the Fourth Geneva Convention was fully applicable to the occupied territories.
55. Violence and terror from whatever source were a serious impediment to the success of the peace talks and his delegation appealed to the parties concerned to refrain from such actions. Lastly, he ardently hoped that a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict would be achieved through the Middle East peace process.
58. Despite the favourable impact of the Madrid Conference, Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories had been noted and condemned by the international community as violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law. A just and lasting solution to the Palestinian conflict must start from the full application of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the peace process initiated in Madrid on 30 October 1991. In addition, the Israeli Government must comply with Security Council resolution 799 (1992) requiring the immediate return of the 415 deported Palestinians, in order to prevent a new cycle of violence and repression from beginning.
(Mauritania) said that, despite the hopes for a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question raised by the arrival in power of a new Israeli Government, the situation in Palestine and the other occupied territories was still deteriorating and Israel continued to pursue a policy of brutal repression in total disregard of the international condemnation provoked by its actions. Israel's sole aim appeared to be to consolidate and render permanent its occupation in complete disregard of human rights or international law.
61. Since the beginning of the intifada, more than a thousand Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces and thousands of others injured or interned. Quite recently, in an act of singular inhumanity, Israel had expelled more than 400 Palestinians, in violation of the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) and of numerous Security Council resolutions. At the same time, it was violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon in violation of the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law.
62. Although it owed its own existence to a United Nations resolution, Israel had, from the outset, based its actions on non-compliance with such resolutions, and its response to Security Council resolution 799 (1992) was no exception.
63. Israel was directly responsible for the inhuman conditions in which the 400 Palestinians were living and which was unfortunately only one episode in its continued repression of the inhabitants in the occupied territories. By its behaviour, Israel was seriously endangering the peace process and the security and stability of the entire region.
64. The continuation of the paradox of the undue suffering of the Palestinian people and the considerable indulgence shown Israel was an affront to human dignity and constituted contempt for international legality. That was the reason why the Arabs and all other peace-loving peoples believed that international law and United Nations resolutions did not apply to Israel. The international community had a duty to put an end to that anomaly and to see to it that Israel respected its international obligations.
65. The Palestinians, who were entitled to the protection of the Fourth Geneva Convention, had to be reinstated in all their rights, in particular the right to independence and to the establishment of their own State, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr. Brotodiningrat (Indonesia) took the Chair
(India) said that the only way in which extended peace could come to the Middle East was through a just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine which was acceptable to all the parties concerned and took into full account the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people. Continuation of the dialogue initiated by the Middle East peace process was of crucial significance for the broad issues of international peace and security. The United Nations had an important role to play in the peace efforts in the region, and all parties to the negotiations should participate on an equal footing.
68. The General Assembly and the Commission had consistently condemned the violations of the human rights of the civilian population of the occupied Arab territories. The right of the Palestinians to a homeland had also been consistently reaffirmed by those organs. Occupation had led, in its turn, to the imposition of alien laws, jurisdiction and administration and the establishment of Israeli settlements had resulted in demographic, cultural and social changes which denied the means of development to the Arab inhabitants. Collective punishment, evacuation, expulsion and deportation had been imposed and in many cases the right to return had been denied.
69. The recent expulsion of a group of Palestinians had been condemned by Security Council resolution 799 (1992), which demanded the safe and immediate return of all those deported. In his Government's opinion, the key to the settlement of the problem of the deported Palestinians lay in the implementation of all the relevant decisions of the Security Council.
70. Similarly, the key to a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East was recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to its homeland, as well as the right of all States in the region, including Palestine and Israel, to live in peace within internationally recognized boundaries. Such a settlement was the only way to ensure social and economic progress in the region.
71. His Government, which had consistently supported the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of lasting peace in the region, believed that, since United Nations resolutions had served as the terms of reference for the Madrid Conference, the Organization should assume a role in the peace negotiations.
(Cyprus) said that, despite the ongoing Arab-Israeli peace talks which were a source of hope in the quest for a viable solution to the Arab-Israeli problem, the world had not yet noticed any tangible improvement in the human rights situation. The lengthy list of gross violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, was an additional tragic reminder of the fact that military occupation led to a negation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
73. At a time when the ideals of democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms had become pillars of international relations, the practices of the occupying forces in the occupied Arab territories were unacceptable by any standards.
74. Severe repressive measures caused grave concern both because they constituted gross human rights violations and because they endangered future relations between the peoples of the region. Attention should also be drawn to the grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was applicable to all Palestinian and Arab territories, including Jerusalem.
75. It was his Government's firm belief that no political or security considerations could be invoked or indeed be permitted to serve as a pretext for any policies and practices which constituted flagrant violations of the internationally accepted standards of human rights. The application of such policies and practices against the civilian population of the occupied Arab territories must cease, not only for humanitarian reasons but also in order to create a constructive environment for the successful outcome of the peace process.
76. It was in that general context that his Government had condemned the Israeli attitude towards the 400 Palestinians expelled from Israel and demanded their return to their homes in safety. His Government had thus requested the Secretary-General to take all the necessary steps to implement Security Council resolution 799 (1992). Cyprus had always supported the just
cause of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and its efforts to find a just and lasting peace in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
77. The necessary elements for the solution of the Middle East problem were the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem; the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; and the political recognition of and guarantees for the right of all States in the region, including Israel, to live in peace within secure and recognized borders.
78. He reiterated his delegation's full support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Lebanon and for the total withdrawal of all Israeli forces from its territory. Similarly, the United Nations resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Israel from the Syrian
Golan Heights should be implemented.
The meeting rose at 6.05 p.m