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Source:
8 November 2005
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3836

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


Sixtieth General Assembly
Third Committee
35th Meeting (AM)

DESPITE INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENT IN DURBAN DECLARATION, DENIAL
OF RIGHTS STILL WIDESPREAD, ASSEMBLY’S SOCIAL COMMITTEE TOLD
Debate Continues on Human Rights Questions; Continuing
Intolerance for Refugees, Asylum-Seekers, Minorities Cited as Issues


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Background

The General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its general debate on human rights questions.  (For further information, see Press Release GA/SHC/3835 of 7 November.)

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Statements

ABDELOUAHAB OSMANE ( Algeria) ...

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Despite the efforts and achievements of the United Nations in decolonization, including the recent victory of the people of Timor-Leste, such work was incomplete.  Other peoples continued to appeal to the international community to enjoy their inalienable right to self-determination, including the Palestinians and peoples of the Maghreb region in Western Sahara.  ...

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AMMAR HIJAZI, the observer for Palestine said that for 57 years, Israel had occupied Palestinian lands.  The number of 800,000 Palestinian refugees expelled from their lands decades ago had now grown to 4 million.  Israel had enacted and applied laws that denied them their fundamental freedoms and basic human rights, while granting those rights to others based on race or religion.  Israel’s policies, based on the right of return, gave any Jew the right to citizenship and land, but denied Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homeland.

Further, he said, non-Jewish citizens of Israel were subjected to requirements to maintain Israeli citizenship and prove their worthiness of such citizenship.  These practices and policies were in grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Israel had institutionalized in its region South Africa’s defunct apartheid system, and continued to reject the applicability of international humanitarian law.

He said Israel’s erection of a “colonial wall” in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, further materialized its racist policy of separation and exclusivity.  It forcibly stripped Palestinians of their land and property, and then gave that land and property to Jewish Israeli settlers, whose only qualifications were ethnic and religious.  Israel’s justice system, he added, gave light and suspended sentences to Israeli settlers who had murdered and brutalized Palestinians citizens.  Israeli insistence on depriving Palestinians of their right to self-determination must stop, and so should its occupation and ill-treatment of Palestinians.

MOHAMED ELBADRI ( Egypt) ...

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The right to self-determination could not be taken for granted.  It was, rather, an inalienable right of peoples, which allowed for the perpetration of armed struggle against foreign occupation or colonialism during a people’s struggle for their freedom.  He said the international community had failed to guarantee the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people; that represented a form of discrimination against those people, who had struggled for decades to create an independent State.

Mr. ABUSIF ( Libya) ...

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Many General Assembly resolutions referred to the ill treatment of migrants.  Respect for international human rights instruments by countries was mandatory, but human rights violations continued and violators often enjoyed impunity.  That was the case for Palestinians in the occupied territories, who were tortured, had their homes destroyed and their sons deported.  Despite the demands of the international community, Israel had not implemented and respected international human rights instruments.

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MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan) ...

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While the principles of equal rights and self-determination had been applied and exercised in most of the modern world, such rights had been prevented in some areas, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and in Palestine.  ...

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WARIF HALABI ( Syria) ...

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JAYA BACHCHAN ( India) ...

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India had also played a leading role in the struggle for decolonization, she said, and was at the forefront of the movement to secure the right of people to self-determination, so that those under alien subjugation, domination and exploitation could freely determine their own political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development.  Currently, Palestine remained the unfinished task; she reiterated her country’s support for the peace process and the Quartet “Road Map”.  She remarked that countries that attempted to reinvent the basic principles of the Charter for purposes of applying them for narrow political ends should realize that their countries risked being “swept into a vortex” as a result of such reinterpretations.

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In a further statement on behalf of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, NADYA RASHEED said that during the past year Israeli occupying forces had shown no indication of reducing the harshness of their military occupation.  The human rights of Palestinians continued to be violated and gravely breached.

It was imperative to recall that the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004 determined that Israeli settlements and Israel’s wall were indeed contrary to international law.  Israel was under obligation to cease construction of the wall, to dismantle the structure situated therein, to repeal or render ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto and ensure reparation for all damage caused by its construction.  Regrettably, she said, Israel had been doing exactly the opposite.  Construction of the wall and the expansion of illegal settlements deeply impaired the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.  The international community must bring an end to the Israeli occupation and its illegal practices and policies.

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For information media • not an official record

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