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UNITED
NATIONS
E

Distr.
GENERAL
E/CN.4/2001/SR.5
21 March 2001

Original: ENGLISH

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

Fifty-seventh session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 5th MEETING

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,

on Wednesday, 21 March 2001, at 3 p.m.

Chairperson : Mr. DESPOUY (Argentina)

CONTENTS


STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF SOUTH AFRICA

STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF BELGIUM

STATEMENT BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF ZAMBIA

STATEMENT BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF KENYA

REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS (continued)

THE RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO PEOPLES UNDER COLONIAL OR ALIEN DOMINATION OR FOREIGN OCCUPATION

ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE SESSION (continued)




STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF SOUTH AFRICA

1. Ms. DLAMINI-ZUMA (South Africa) ...

[...]

3. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia or a related intolerance tended to be at the root of any conflict, whether in Northern Ireland, the Balkans or the Sudan. It also lay behind genocide in Rwanda, apartheid in South Africa and problems in the Middle East. The challenge before the Conference was thus to provide a bridge between the past and the future: a past of deeply divided societies and experiences such as slavery, colonial exploitation and racism - and a future founded on human rights, democracy, and respect for the equality of human beings. The injustices of the past having been recognized, it should be possible to find universally acceptable ways of healing past divisions and of restoring the dignity of all. The North-South divide must be bridged by, inter alia, addressing disparities in wealth and development.

4. Change, like the process of giving birth, was usually uncomfortable, yet the outcome was always precious. Similarly, it might be painful to talk about past divisions at the World Conference, but the sacrifice would be worth while. It should prove possible to devise a programme of action capable of being implemented at the individual, national and international levels. The international community must build a world in which a Palestinian child and an Israeli child would enjoy equal access to food, shelter, health services, education and security; in which an Israeli mother would feel pain when a Palestinian child bled and a Palestinian mother feel the same pain when an Israeli child bled. In such a world, the Palestinians would have their own motherland and live in harmony with their Israeli neighbours. The realization of such a dream might not come easily, but the alternative was unthinkable.

[...]

REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS (agenda item 4) (continued) (E/CN.4/2001/6, 16, 114 and 133; E/CN.4/2001/NGO/27; E/CN.4/2000/12)

42. Mr. AL-ASKAR (Observer for Kuwait) thanked the High Commissioner for her report on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (E/CN.4/2001/114), which documented the serious acts of violations of human rights taking place in the occupied Palestinian territories.

43. His delegation looked forward to seeing the High Commissioner’s conclusions and recommendations translated into concrete action, particularly with regard to the provision of international protection to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, the de jure applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) to the occupied Palestinian territories, the cessation of the construction of new settlements and the removal of those located in heavily populated Palestinian areas, and the request that the Israeli security forces protect Palestinians from violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers.

[...]

46. Mr. AL-NAMA (Observer for Iraq) said that the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories had taken a sharp turn for the worse since September 2000, with appalling violations of the human rights of the Palestinian population by the Zionist entity. The report of the High Commissioner (E/CN.4/2001/114) provided authentic testimony of what was happening. She expressed her profound concern at the serious loss of life, and at the gravity of the violations of human rights, with the killing and injuring of the civilian population, including women and children, expropriation of property and farmland, economic blockade and the use of excessive force by the occupying Power.

47. The crimes committed by the occupying Power amounted to genocide based on ethnic cleansing and expansion through colonization. Those who claimed to have been the victims of Nazis were currently committing the same, and indeed worse, crimes against the Palestinian people. The Zionist policy of seeking a peaceful settlement was merely intended to act as a smokescreen to mask the true intention of expropriating land by force and blackmailing the Palestinian population in order to extract concessions in exchange for unkept promises.

48. His Government called on the Commission to help find the necessary means to protect the Palestinian people against Israel’s genocidal and racist practices. International forces must be sent to protect the Palestinian people, and Israeli officials and military must be brought to book and punished for their crimes against humanity.

49. Mr. RAMLAWI (Observer for Palestine) expressed his delegation’s regret at the High Commissioner’s decision not to seek a renewal of her mandate. Her report (E/CN.4/2001/114) displayed the height of objectivity and her conclusions and recommendations were exemplary, particularly her insistence on the need for conformity with the requirements of international human rights and humanitarian law. The recommendations contained in paragraph 96 of the report should be reflected in the resolution adopted by the Commission. He drew particular attention to the recommendations that compensation should be provided to the victims of the unlawful use of force and that all holy sites should be respected. The High Commissioner had proved most sensitive to Palestinian sensibilities and he paid tribute to the courage she had shown when her vehicle had come under fire.

50. Mr. MADI (Observer for Jordan), ...

[...]

51. The High Commissioner had submitted a balanced and objective report on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (E/CN.4/2001/114). His delegation shared her concern about the deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied territories and supported her conclusions and recommendations. All those listed in paragraph 96 should be implemented. His delegation also believed that a lasting peace could be achieved only through peaceful negotiations in conformity with the requirements of international human rights and humanitarian law. Durable peace could not be achieved without commitment, mutual respect and cooperation.

[...]

Statements in exercise of the right of reply

53. Mr. LEVI (Observer for Israel), having drawn attention to his Government’s response (E/CN.4/2001/133) to the High Commissioner’s report on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (E/CN.4/2001/114), said that, according to the Minister of Planning of the Palestinian Authority, the intifada would topple the Sharon Government within six months. He had boasted that, whereas Hezbollah in Lebanon had killed 20 to 25 Israeli soldiers a year for 20 years, the intifada had killed 74 Israelis in four months alone. If the Commission wished to ascertain the reasons for the riots and the casualties on both sides, it was unnecessary to send rapporteurs to the area, the statements of the Palestinian Authority leadership provided sufficient information.

54. His Government had no interest in imposing a solution nor did it wish to be dictated to. The way forward was not through one-sided resolutions passed by the Commission but through a call by the Palestinian Authority - in Arabic - to the Palestinian people and armed groups to stop the violence. That very afternoon, the Middle East Committee of the Council of Europe had toured the area and noted that 40 per cent of the wounds suffered by Israelis had been caused by shots fired by members of the Palestinian security forces.

55. The Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs had stated that a change in the situation should be based on four principles: an end to the violence; a change in rhetoric from the language of confrontation, which led only to violence, to the language of peace; a return to the negotiating table, which was the only way of achieving a lasting settlement; and a move to ease living conditions in the territories. Those principles must be applied in a simultaneous, unconditional and uniform way.

56. Mr. RAMLAWI (Observer for Palestine) said that a representative of the Israeli Government was hardly the person to pontificate about an end to violence. Israel’s original occupation of the Palestinian territories had been achieved through violence and ever since then that country’s policy had been based on violence. The visit by the current Prime Minister to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, protected by 3,000 soldiers, had in itself been an act of violence. Israeli forces had engaged in massacres, sometimes of whole villages. The military occupation, the use of tanks against civilians, bombing by aircraft, political assassinations and the creation of settlements showed that Israelis were past masters of violence, bearing no comparison with those who merely threw stones. Yet it appeared that the latter were those who were to be asked to stop the violence. The international community would lend little credence to such an appeal.

THE RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO PEOPLES UNDER COLONIAL OR ALIEN DOMINATION OR FOREIGN OCCUPATION (agenda item 5) (E/CN.4/2001/17-19; E/CN.4/2001/NGO/9, 10, 40, 117, 146, 163 and 174)

57. Mr. FAYSAL (Syrian Arab Republic) said that it was shocking that, in the twenty-first century, the right to self-determination still needed to be discussed, simply because there were those who did not wish to abide by reason and logic. Most peoples throughout the world had achieved self-determination, but others were still struggling for it. A prime example of the latter situation was Palestine. Israel and its supporters did not wish to recognize the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to establish their own State on their own soil. It might seem that a policy of genocide, murder, blockades, the establishment of settlements and the destruction of land could persuade the Palestinians to abandon their aspirations. History, however, showed that such policies always failed. The Palestinians would achieve self-determination in due course, in accordance with the two International Covenants of Human Rights and all the other human rights instruments. Only Israel and those who forgave Israel any sin it might commit were able to ignore the fact that the right to self-determination was an inalienable one. The international community must call unequivocally on Israel to accept the dictates of logic and justice, cease its murderous practices and allow the Palestinians their self-determination after 53 years of harassment.

[...]

The meeting rose at 5.35 p.m.



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