Press Release

3 April 2003

Chairperson of Sub-Commission on the Promotion
and Protection of Human Rights Delivers Report, Address

(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 3 April (UN Information Service) -- As the Commission on Human Rights continued its consideration of the question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world, a lengthy series non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed concern this morning about situations in numerous countries and regions.


Statements on the Question of the Violation of Human Rights Anywhere in the World

MAHMOUD NAZAR, of Arab Organization for Human Rights, said that while his organization had always focused on the internal circumstances leading to the violation of human rights, there were now two additional factors:  the international campaign to fight terrorism and increasing foreign intervention.  This negative general trend reflected on all central issues in the region including the rights of the Palestinian people as well as those of the Iraqi people, who now found themselves surrounded on all sides despite strong opposition to the war.


Rights of Reply


A Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, speaking in right of reply, said he would like to express his amazement at the Greek statement yesterday, as it related to the situation of human rights in Syria.  Greece had completely overlooked the role played by Israel, as a country that had placed itself outside the law, as indicated in the testimony of non-governmental organizations, international organizations and Special Rapporteurs.  However, Israel was viewed by the European Union as an oasis of democracy, a paradise in which human rights were respected; moreover, violations of human rights were committed by Member States of the European Union and its and associated countries on a daily basis, against populations such as asylum-seekers, minorities and refugees.  Syria appreciated Greece’s recognition of the extraordinary measures taken to improve human rights in Syria, but the state of emergency remained in place because of the Israeli occupation of Syrian land and the presence of Israeli armed troops only 50 miles from Damascus.  It was hoped that the European Union would remember that Syria had signed the treaty of Barcelona.

A Representative of Lebanon, speaking in right of reply in response to Israel, said the latter was misguiding the Commission by having stated that there were no Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons.  There were Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons who had not had recourse to proper administration of justice.  This was a violation of human rights.  In Israel there were indeed prisoner under administrative detention.  Concerning information on the location of anti-personnel mines, Israel had provided some information but not information on the location of most of the land mines.  Israel was misguiding the Commission and Lebanon insisted on receiving information on the remaining locations of the majority of land mines.  Israel was a pure example of State terrorism.


A Representative of Iraq, speaking in right of reply, said Iraq’s “little brothers” from Kuwait were short-sighted, believing that through the use of financial resources they could corrupt the truth.  Kuwait had hidden the fate of thousands of Iraqis, Jordanians and Syrians after the United States aggression in 1991 and had tried to prolong the invasion of Iraq.  Kuwait would fail in its efforts.  In reply to the statement made by Human Rights Watch, Iraq wished to say that the Special Rapporteur had been welcome to visit Iraq, but he had asked for the mission to be postponed.  The Special Rapporteur had not come to Iraq to acquaint himself in person with the situation of human rights in the country; moreover, if he had been a neutral party, he should have spoken of the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.  It seemed that certain quarters wanted those who did not support the views of the United States to have no human rights.


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For information media - not an official record