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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
16 November 2006
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3873

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly
Third Committee
46th & 47th Meetings (AM & PM)


THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS,

PALESTINIAN SELF-DETERMINATION, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, RIGHT TO FOOD

Texts also Approved on Globalization, Missing Persons, Terrorism,
Religious Freedom, Human Rights and Staffing of Human Rights Office


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Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on 14 drafts and to hear the introduction of three draft texts.

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A draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/61/L.51) would have the Assembly, expressing the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process and for the speedy achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine, and urge all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of that right.

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Introduction of Draft Resolutions

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The representative of Egypt, the main sponsor of the draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/61/L.51), said that it was his delegation’s sincere hope that the draft would be adopted by consensus, so as to send a strong message of solidarity to the Palestinian people.

The representative of the United States requested a recorded vote.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union wanted to restate its firm commitment to enabling the Palestinian people to fulfil their unconditional right to self-determination.  It reiterated the goal set out in the Quartet Road Map, envisioning a two-State solution.  The European Union urged the Palestinians to work for national unity; a Palestinian Government with a platform that reflected the Quartet principles would present a partner for the international community to support in the re-launching of the peace process.  The European Union calls on Israel to desist from any actions that threatened the viability of an agreed two-state solution, including settlement activities in and around east Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.

The representative of Israel said his country supported the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.  The impasse in Middle East did not come from Israel denying that right.  Israel and the international community had been quite clear that the Palestinian leadership had to fulfil its national responsibilities by recognizing Israel, renouncing terrorism and accepting previous agreements.  The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority and brutal terrorist attacks against Israel had undermined the national rights of the Palestinian people.  The Palestinian Government funded and supported terrorism, and opposed Israel.  How could the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination be invoked when the same right for Israel was being so blatantly denied?  Israel would vote against the draft, which was flawed and one-sided and which ignored history.  Both Israelis and Palestinians had the right to live in peace and security.

The draft resolution was then adopted by a vote of 162 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Australia, Canada, Georgia, Haiti).  (See annex II.)

After the adoption of the draft, the representative of Argentina said the right to self-determination required an active subject, that is, a people free from foreign domination.  Without such an active subject, there could be no right to self-determination.

The representative of the United States said his country had no quarrel with the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people.  However, the Palestinian Authority had continued to create hardships for the Palestinian people and had postponed the opportunity to reinvigorate the Road Map and the two-State solution.  The United States could not support the draft as it reflected an outdated approach whereby the Palestinian people thought the solution to their problem lay in the United Nations.  There was a role for the United Nations, but it was in supporting the two parties to resolve their conflict.  Such resolutions undermined the credibility of the United Nations, which had to be seen as an honest broker in the conflict.  One-sided resolutions would make no contribution to resolving such conflicts.

The representative of Australia explained that her delegation had voted to abstain, as the draft contained unbalanced language that would no nothing to help resolve the dispute.

The representative of Canada reiterated his country’s strongest possible support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination as part of a two-State solution.  However, as it could not fully support the draft resolution, it had chosen to abstain.

The representative of Rwanda explained that his delegation had been out of the meeting room when the vote took place.  Had they been present, they would have voted in favour.

The representative of Libya said the vote represented a very, very historic victory for the international community.  If those who had voted in favour of the draft had not been a clear representation of the international community, then where was the international community?

The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine expressed her delegation’s utmost thanks and appreciation for the vote.  Such overwhelming support was a clear reaffirmation of the international community’s commitment and support for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination.  For the first time, such a draft resolution had had more than 115 co-sponsors.  Its tremendous support represented a step towards the Palestinians’ goal of their own independent State.  It was unfortunate that the United States had chosen to oppose the resolution.

She said the real problem remained with the Israeli position.  Israel had been voting in the same manner every year, even during the years of the peace process.  She would not respond to the Israeli representative’s statement, as the vote spoke for itself.  The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination was a natural and inalienable right; today’s resolution made that fact even more clear.

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ANNEX II

Vote on Palestinian Right to Self-Determination

The draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/61/L.51) was approved by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 4 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Australia, Canada, Georgia, Haiti.

Absent:  Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Vanuatu.

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For information media • not an official record




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