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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS


23 April 2004

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CONCLUDES SIXTIETH SESSION


Appoints Special Rapporteurs on Situations in Belarus,
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Trafficking in Persons

The Commission on Human Rights concluded today its six-week session for 2004, having debated a wide series of human rights matters and having decided, among other things, to appoint Special Rapporteurs on situations in Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

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In all, according to the Commission’s Rapporteur, the Commission adopted 88 resolutions, 28 decisions, and five Chairman’s statements.

Issues that surfaced repeatedly during the Commission’s sixtieth session were the situation in Iraq; the situation in the occupied Arab territories; the challenges posed to human rights both by terrorism and by Government measures to prevent terrorism; the continuing threat of genocide around the world – a topic given a special meeting on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide; and trafficking in women and children.

Following a roll-call vote of 34 in favour and 3 opposed, with 14 abstentions, the Commission held a “special sitting” to discuss the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory resulting from the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on 22 March by an Israeli missile. In a resolution adopted at the sitting by a vote of 31 in favour and 2 opposed, with 18 abstentions, the Commission condemned continuing grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, and noted with grave concern the implications of such targeted assassinations, liquidation and murder of political leadership by the Israeli occupation forces on the overall situation, particularly the possibility of a fresh wave of violence.

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The first 2005 meeting of the Commission on Human Rights will be on the third Monday in January for the sole purpose of electing officers. The sixty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights will take place from 14 March to 22 April 2005.

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Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine

Under this agenda item, the Commission;

-- in a resolution on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (E/CN.4/2004/L.12) called upon Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, in particular resolution 497 (1981) in which the Council decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel should rescind its decision; and called upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan ;

-- in a resolution on Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories (E/CN.4/2004/L.19), expressed its grave concern at the continuing illegal Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories and related activities; strongly condemned all acts of violence; urged the Palestinian Authority to concretely demonstrate its determination in the fight against terrorism and extremist violence; and demanded that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the so-called security fence;

-- and, in a resolution on the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine (E/CN.4/2004/L.6), strongly condemned human rights violations of the Israeli occupation authorities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; strongly condemned the practice of “liquidation” or “extrajudicial executions” carried out by the Israeli army against Palestinians; called upon Israel to withdraw from the territories occupied since 1967; and strongly condemned the construction of the Israeli wall inside the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Right of Peoples to Self-Determination

Under this agenda item, the Commission:

-- in a resolution (E/CN.4/2004/L.7) on the situation in occupied Palestine, reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to establish their sovereign and independent Palestinian State, and looked forward to the early fulfilment of this right;

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Organization of the Work of the Session

Under this agenda item, the Commission:

-- agreed to hold a special sitting on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory resulting from the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin on the morning of 22 March 2004 (E/CN.4/2004/L.3);

-- in a resolution on the grave situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, condemned the continuing grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular the tragic assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on 22 March 2004, in contravention of the Hague Convention IV of 1907; noted with grave concern the implications of such targeted assassinations, liquidation and murder of political leadership by the Israeli occupation forces on the overall situation in the occupied Palestinian territory; and called upon Israel to accord fullest respect to the principles of international humanitarian law and to desist from all forms of violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory;

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