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Discrimination raciale, droit à l'autodétermination - débat de la 3ème commission de l'AG - Communiqué de presse (extraits) (4 noveùbre 2008) Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
4 November 2008

General Assembly

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

Sixty-third General Assembly
Third Committee
34th Meeting (AM)


Also Briefed on Progress Being Made Towards Durban Review Conference;
Seven Draft Texts Introduced: Child Rights; Human Rights Education among Issues



The Third Committee (Social, Cultural and Humanitarian) met today to continue and conclude its consideration of the elimination of racism and racial discrimination and of the right of peoples to self-determination (for background, please see Press Release GA/SHC/3933 of 3 November) and to begin its consideration of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions.  The Committee was also expected to hear the introduction of seven draft resolutions on the rights of children, the rights of persons with disabilities, and human rights questions, including alternate approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms.




NADYA RASHEED, observer for Palestine, said racism represented the darkest side of humanity and the attitude and discrimination resulting from it sowed nothing but fear and hate which pulled peoples and cultures apart while setting the stage for violence and suffering.  History showed many examples of racism that translated into deeds of suffering and violence.  Pointing to Palestinian history, she highlighted how racism against her people, starting with a promise 91 years ago, had plunged Palestinians into dispossession and humiliation.

That had been done “with utter disdain for Palestinians as a people with rights”, she said.  Only racism and discrimination could have driven such a “journey of pain”, where the Palestinian people’s basic rights were stomped on, shoved aside, and indefinitely crushed and ultimately resulted in the forcible expulsion of more than 800,000 Palestinians from their historical homeland.  The inherent human right of Palestinians to return to the homes they were forcibly expelled from had continued to be denied.

She said Palestinians made up 20 per cent of Israel’s population, yet they lived on the periphery of institutional politics and society and were forced, through a series of discriminatory laws, to live their life as third class citizens.  “This is a country where discrimination is enshrined into laws”, she said.  Yet she said the Palestinian Israelis were not alone in confronting racism and discrimination.  She noted that Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory, John Dugard, had indicated that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem contained elements of colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation.  That situation made the Territory of special concern to the international community.  Israel, she explained, stood in breach of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1996, as well as the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1973.

She said Israel also continued to manifest its unwavering colonial and racist attitude towards Palestinians by continuing to construct the illegal separation Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, despite a clear ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2004 that the Wall regime and the exclusively Israeli settlements it was designed to engulf were illegal and should be dismantled.

“This mangled system of racism, colonialism and foreign occupation has subjugated the Palestinian people for too long, shackling their dream of a dignified future and systematically undermining their inalienable right to self-determination,” she said.  Lifting that darkness required courage from the international community and an unwavering commitment to eradicate it by upholding the principles and ideas enshrined in relevant international conventions and laws.

WARIF HALABI (Syria), aligning herself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, ...


Turning to the Middle East region, she said that the situation there had worsened and racial practices and discrimination in the region had increased “very seriously”.  She noted a number of discriminatory practices of the occupying Power in the occupied Palestinian territories, including ongoing killings of Palestinian people and various efforts to alter the demographic of occupied lands.  Her delegation expected that the results of the Durban Conference would address those “very serious phenomena”, with a view to elimination and to guarantee international peace and security, and would do so with full respect of United Nations principles and all human rights.  Syria deplored the absence of effective recommendations that would push States into complying with their commitments, especially in regard to the rights of people living under occupation.  The right to self-determination was an inalienable right and it was “extremely sad” that, today, the United Nations was “impotent, sometimes voluntarily”, and unable to guarantee the implementation of that “sacred right”, especially as it concerned people living under occupation.

NADYA RASHEEED, observer for Palestine, said that the right to self-determination and foreign occupation stood in fundamental conflict to one another.  The denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination for 41 years allowed Israel, the occupying Power, to perpetuate illegal policies against the Palestinian people under its occupation.  She urged the international community to take swift and concrete measures towards assisting the Palestinian people to realize that right.  In addition to self-determination, Palestinian rights to life, liberty and security of persons, to freedom of movement, livelihood, education, property, and many others were being violated, by Israeli occupation, which also produced illegal settlements, closures, checkpoints, home demolitions, land confiscation, destruction of crops and wanton killings by illegal settlers and occupying forces.

She singled out Israel’s “massive colonization campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” in contravention of international law, United Nations resolutions and the International Court of Justice as a “glaring example” of Israel’s violation of Palestinians’ right to self-determination.  “Despite the overwhelming pain and loss that the Palestinian people have endured due to the Israeli occupation,” she stressed that “the Palestinian people will never succumb to the forces of oppression, violence and injustice.  Their desire for freedom and independence and their struggle to achieve them will continue until the Israeli occupation is brought to an end, allowing for the Palestinian people to … live a normal, free and dignified life in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital….”


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For information media • not an official record

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