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Source:
2 November 2005
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3834

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


Sixtieth General Assembly
Third Committee
32nd & 33rd Meetings (AM & PM)

THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXTS ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN,

CRIME PREVENTION, DRUG CONTROL


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Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its general debate on human rights questions and hear the introduction of a draft resolution on the subject.  It was also expected to take action on draft resolutions related to implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, the advancement of women, crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control.

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Statements

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MU’TAZ HYASSAT (Jordan) ...

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He lauded the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, saying the document demonstrated that the Palestinian people were increasingly affected by Israel’s violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the territories.  He called on Israel to end such violations and to fulfil its obligations under international law, including those declared by the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion on the separation wall.  While welcoming Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, he agreed with the Special Rapporteur’s view that Gaza was subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention and that Israel was responsible for ensuring the protection and welfare of Palestinians.

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NADYA RASHEED, Observer for Palestine, said the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 presented an extremely disturbing account of the grave human rights violations committed by Israel, including the continued killing, injuring and maiming of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of Palestinian homes and property.   Israel’s continued imposition of restrictions on movement, with some 600 checkpoints, had resulted in the further deterioration of the already dire socio-economic conditions of Palestinians.  Such restrictions continued to hamper and often completely obstruct access to jobs, schools, health care, holy places, sufficient food and clean water.  More than 8,000 Palestinians, including 300 children and 120 women, continued to be held in Israeli prisons or detention centres in deplorable, unsanitary conditions, and had extremely restricted access to their families and legal representation.

The dismantling of illegal Israeli settlements and the Israeli pull out from Gaza were important steps towards reversing the Israeli colonization of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and ultimately towards ending the occupation.  However, the Israeli disengagement was unilaterally planned and implemented, and failed to recognize Palestinian concerns and left many critical issues unresolved.  The withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza did not change the legal status of Gaza as an occupied territory.   Israel still remained an occupying Power in Gaza, bound to the rules and provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  It was high time that the international community exert maximum effort on the occupying Power to cease all illegal practices and policies against the Palestinian people and abide by international law.

ANDREW SOUTHCOTT (Australia) ...

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His Government also welcomed the success of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the renewed opportunity that represented to take the Middle East peace process forward.  Following Israel’s withdrawal, his Government believed it was vital that the Palestinian Authority continued to reject violence and control terrorist activities, so that a lasting peace could be built.  ...

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Statements in Right of Reply

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The representative of Syria said his delegation had repeatedly declared before the Committee that it preferred cooperation among States in the realm of human rights, especially since no one had achieved perfection in that regard.  The pointing of fingers at countries, especially like delegations were doing today, did not reflect a true dimension of those rights, but rather the political dimensions that dictated them.   Syria believed it was doing its utmost as far as ensuring the enjoyment by all citizens of their rights.  It had acceded to a number of conventions, more than that acceded to by some States that were levelling accusations and unfounded rumours.

Referring to the statement by the United States representative regarding a number of countries, he said it was no longer possible for the United States to claim it was defending human rights while it was violating such rights in various parts of the world.  It was not necessary to mention what the United States was doing by name or with details.  He also affirmed to the delegation of Canada that Syria respected its international obligations, especially those under the conventions to which it had acceded.  Furthermore, he said that discussions in the Committee must contribute to formulating criteria to which all were committed, instead of raising controversial questions, many of which were not based on objective facts.

The representative of Israel said that as he listened to the statement by the representative of Palestine, he realized that he was hearing the same recording that he had heard so many times in the past.  Of particular concern to his delegation was the lack of assumption of any responsibility by the Palestinian Authority, as reflected in the statement.  It failed to address any commitment to the internationally endorsed Road Map and the obligations made to it, and also did not mention the largest obstacle to peace –- terrorism -– as though terrorism had never existed.  His Government believed that the situation had changed over the past few years, although the Palestinian delegate might want States to believe otherwise.  What had not changed, however, was the Palestinian Authority’s reluctance to confront terrorism and fulfil its first obligation in the Road Map -- to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and collect arms.  Neither side had a monopoly on suffering, nor could either side fail to assume their commitments, he added.

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