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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


GA/SHC/3720
8 November 2002

Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Third Committee
41st and 42nd Meetings (AM & PM)

COMMON VALUES HAVE LITTLE MERIT IF NOT TRANSLATED INTO CONCRETE,
INDIVIDUAL BENEFITS, SAYS NORWAY, AS THIRD COMMITTEE
DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS CONTINUES

Other Speakers Stress Need for Consistent Standards,
Respect for Cultural Diversity When Promoting Human Rights


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Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) met today to continue its consideration of human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and particular human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and special representatives.

Statements

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AMNA HUMAID AL-ALI (United Arab Emirates) ...

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She stressed that the occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel constituted a flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedom.  The Israeli occupation forces were responsible for systematic killings, detentions without trial, and displacement -- only a few examples of how Israel was violating the human rights of the Palestinian people.  She called upon the international community to support the people of Palestine in their fight for their right to self-determination and added that Israel must immediately stop the violence, end the occupation and pay compensation to the Palestinian people for the losses they had suffered. 

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KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) ...

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Responding to an earlier statement by the United States, he said that country once again, in its self-appointed position as international human rights judge, had tediously listed human rights situations in other countries.  It was not surprising to hear at the top of the list those countries which challenged the United States’ hegemonic policies of foreign domination and control.    It was also not surprising to see that the list did not include those that were perpetrating grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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DON MACKAY (New Zealand) ...

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Good governance also meant upholding the rule of law, he said.  In that connection, the current global focus on the abolition of terrorism must not override the obligations of all States to protect and promote human rights.  He went on to comment on certain situations in particular countries, including Zimbabwe, Iraq, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the Sudan, Chechnya, Nigeria, Myanmar, China, Iran and Afghanistan and Cambodia.

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SAMI ZEIDAN (Lebanon) said his country was convinced that sustainable progress for any State was based on the principle of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms within its own borders and throughout the wider international community.  Flowing from that, Lebanon could not but condemn the continued violence and escalating violation of human rights taking place in the Palestinian occupied territories.  The international community must ensure that Israel complied with all relevant Security Council resolutions on that issue, as well as those pertaining to Lebanese detainees.

He went on to say that Lebanon believed that providing the widest possible distribution of information on human rights matters was critically important.  With that in mind, he stressed the need to ensure that human rights educational materials were translated into Arabic and other languages in a consistent manner.  He also said that Lebanon would continue to work to raise awareness, with the promotion and protection of human rights.  Human rights were rooted in human knowledge and experience, and the effective promotion of those rights would provide intellectual progress that would shape the philosophical environment for generations to come.

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JOHN DAUTH (Australia) ...

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While Australia was heartened by a growing appreciation around the world that the observance of human rights must be built on the bedrock of good governance and strong and accountable democratic institutions, there was still a long way to go, he said.  Australia remained firmly committed to engaging with governments everywhere to further promote that understanding.  At the same time, he expressed concern about the human rights situation in Indonesia, Iraq, Zimbabwe, China, Burma, West Bank, Gaza and parts of Israel, Iran, Cambodia and Sudan.  In such uncertain times, the international community must not lose sight of the continuing need to pressure governments to recognize and uphold the basic human rights of their citizens.  Respect for human rights was the foundation of a peaceful society, and only those societies could contribute to a more peaceful world.

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