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Le Rapporteur spécial sur la situation des droits de l'homme dans les TPO s’adresse au troisième comite de l'AG (Social, Humanitaire et Culturel) Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
General Assembly
29 October 2014



General Assembly
GA/SHC/4113

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


Sixty-ninth General Assembly
Third Committee
33rd & 34th Meetings (AM & PM)


United Nations Expert Relays ‘Loud and Clear’ Message from Palestinians: End Impunity, Blockade, Occupation, Third Committee Hears

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With thousands of unexploded ordnances still littering neighbourhoods and winter fast approaching, accelerated efforts were needed to swiftly deliver humanitarian relief and reconstruction materials to Gaza, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was told today during interactive dialogues with experts, as it continued its debate on human rights.

“I am shocked by the devastating impact of the 50-day war in Gaza on Palestinian civilians, but particularly on children, who continued to live with injuries and the trauma of witnessing the deaths of family, friends and neighbours,” said Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967. More than 500 Palestinian children were killed, and over 200 schools had been damaged, he told the delegates.

The war in Gaza lasting from July through August had ravaged civilian life, he added, while in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces and settlement construction continued to cause serious concerns. Aware of Israel’s concerns relating to the one-sided wording and open-ended nature of the mandate, he said it was in Israel’s own interest to grant his mandate full and unhindered access to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

For his part, he told delegates that he was responsible for giving a voice to the victims of human rights violations, offering an objective assessment and making recommendations that might improve the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “Voices from across the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory] were loud and clear on three demands: the need for accountability, an end to the blockade and an end to the occupation,” he said.

Echoing that sentiment were several delegates who took the floor in the ensuing interactive dialogue. They called for an immediate end to the occupation and a resumption of peace talks based on a two-State solution. Other speakers urged Israel to allow the Special Rapporteur’s country visits, while acknowledging Israel’s right to defend itself.

The Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine called on the Special Rapporteur not to use flexibility while dealing with the occupying Power, especially in light of its aggression against the people of Gaza during the summer. He then called on the Special Rapporteur to be vigilant and strong in dealing with Israel and its aggressive and illegal behaviour. He also asked the international community to address Israel’s violation of related laws.

A representative of Israel underlined his country’s efforts to end the fighting, as well as to minimize casualties, underscoring that the Israeli Defense Forces had done their “utmost”, unlike other military forces, to prevent civilian casualties. The reason why the fighting did not end and casualties persisted was that rocket launchers were placed in schools and hospitals were used as headquarters by Hamas. He regretted every loss of life, both Palestinian and Israeli.

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Background

The Third Committee met this morning to continue its consideration of the protection and promotion of human rights, with two experts expected to present reports and engage in interactive dialogues. For background, see Press Releases GA/SHC/4108 of 22 October.

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MAKARIM WIBISONO, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said he approached his mandate with independence, integrity and impartiality, and noted that all Member States should cooperate with human rights mechanisms. Engagement was a manifestation of the responsibility of Member States to respect and protect human rights. While he was aware of Israel’s concerns relating to the one-sided wording and open-ended nature of the mandate, he said it was in Israel’s own interest to grant his mandate full and unhindered access to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. However, he was denied access to that Territory during his first official mission to the region last month.

The current report had been drafted prior to that mission, he said, before he had been able to directly question Palestinian victims and various witnesses. He would present his first substantive report to the Human Rights Council in March 2015. Sharing some key preliminary impressions from his first mission, he said he was shocked by the devastating impact of the 50-day war in Gaza on Palestinian civilians, but particularly on children, who continued to live with injuries and the trauma of witnessing the deaths of family, friends and neighbours. During that war, more than 500 Palestinian children were killed. He had been informed that over 200 schools were damaged and thousands of unexploded ordnances continued to litter neighbourhoods in Gaza.

He stressed the importance of accelerating humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts in Gaza with the imminent approach of winter and urged Israel to implement in good faith the Gaza reconstruction mechanism brokered by the United Nations. In the West Bank and Jerusalem, there were areas of serious concern, including the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against Palestinians, including during demonstrations and search operations within refugee camps, the detention and ill-treatment of children, the thousands of Bedouin and herder communities at risk of forcible transfer, continuing settlement construction and expansion and repeated provocations at holy sites in Jerusalem. “Voices from across the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory] were loud and clear on three demands: the need for accountability, an end to the blockade and an end to the occupation,” he said.

Following the presentation, delegates took the floor to make comments and ask questions. Some delegates said the international community had witnessed Israeli bombardments in Gaza during the summer, urging Israel to respect human rights law. The recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people was necessary to begin peace talks, a number of delegates said, calling for an immediate end to the occupation and a resumption of peace talks based on a two-State solution.

Some delegates applauded Israel’s resumption of talks with the Special Rapporteur and condemned the bombardment done by Hamas and their use of civilians as human shields. Acknowledging Israel’s right to defend itself, some speakers urged Israel to allow the Special Rapporteur’s country visits.

The Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine called on the Special Rapporteur not to use flexibility while dealing with the occupying Power, especially in light of its aggression against the people of Gaza during the summer. He then called on the Special Rapporteur to be vigilant and strong in dealing with Israel and its aggressive and illegal behaviour. He also asked the international community to address Israel’s violation of related laws.

A representative of Israel noted that the same delegates that were against the use of country-specific mandates had supported that measure when it related to his country. He then underlined his country’s efforts to end the fighting, as well as to minimize casualties, underscoring that the Israeli Defense Forces had done their “utmost”, unlike other military forces, to prevent civil casualties. The reason why the fighting did not end and casualties persisted was that rocket launchers were placed in schools and hospitals were used as headquarters by Hamas. He regretted every loss of life, both Palestinian and Israeli.

Questions posed to the Special Rapporteur related to his future plans on country visits, his vision for the implementation of the mandate, his plan of action to deal with obstacles to visiting Israel and his contact with the Commission of Inquiry and their division of labour. Other questions related to the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and the use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces in the West Bank.

Responding to a range of questions, Mr. WIBISONO said he would like to visit the region before he completed his report, which would be submitted during the first week of January 2015. Human beings were born equally without any distinction. Accordingly, all United Nations Member States should cooperate with human rights mechanisms, whether with the Human Rights Committee, Commissions of Inquiry or independent mandate holders of the Human Rights Council. For his part, he was responsible for giving a voice to the victims of human rights violations, offering an objective assessment and making recommendations that might improve the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. With regard to the situation in the region, he noted that combatants and civilians needed to be separated. Concluding, he was worried that Palestinian civilians, and particularly women, elderly people and children, were living with injuries and the trauma of witnessing the deaths of their families.

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RANIA TALAL ABDULBAQI (Saudi Arabia) said that the United Nations fact-finding mission should be given entry to investigate violations and crimes that Israel had committed on Palestinian land.

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Right of Reply

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A representative of Israel, in exercise of the right of reply, said that Gaza was being controlled by Hamas, which was very close to ISIL. With regards to the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against Palestinians, he said his country had a right to self-defence like others did.

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For information media • not an official record

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