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        General Assembly
24 November 1998

Original: English

General Assembly
Fifty-third session
Official Records

Third Committee
Summary record of the 40th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 9 November 1998, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mr. Carranza (Vice-Chairman) ....................................................(Guatemala)


Agenda item 110: Human rights questions (continued)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (continued)

(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (continued)

(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (continued)

In the absence of Mr. Hachani (Tunisia), Mr. Carranza (Guatemala), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.

Agenda item 110: Human rights questions (continued) (A/53/3, 58, 74, 75, A/53/77–S/1998/171, A/53/79, 80, A/53/94–S/1998/309, A/53/99–S/1998/344, A/53/131–S/1998/435, A/53/165–S/1998/601, A/53/167, 203, A/53/205–S/1998/711, A/53/214, 215, A/53/225–S/1998/747, A/53/343, 404, 425, 489, 493, 494, A/53/497–S/1998/951 and A/53/557; A/C.3/53/4, 5, 7, 9, 12 and 13)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (continued) (A/53/72–S/1998/156, A/53/81–S/1998/225, A/53/82–S/1998/229, A/53/83–S/1998/230, A/53/86–S/1998/240, A/53/89–S/1998/250, A/53/93–S/1998/291, A/53/95–S/1998/311, A/53/98–S/1998/335, A/53/113–S/1998/345, A/53/115–S/1998/365, A/53/268, 279, 284, 293 and Add.1, 304, 309, 313, 324, 337, 400 and 501; A/C.3/53/6; A/C.3/53/L.5)

(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (continued) (A/53/84–S/1998/234, A/53/114, 120, A/53/182–S/1998/669, A/53/188, 322 and Add.1, 355, 364, 365, 366, 367, 402, 423 and Corr.1, 433, 490, 504, 530, 537, 539 and 563; A/C.3/53/5 and 8)

(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (continued) (A/53/36)


34. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) said that the item under consideration should be one of the top priorities of the international community. Gross violations of human rights occurred daily all over the world. The United Nations must take stronger measures to implement the international human rights instruments, based on the recognition that all human rights were universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided an opportunity for the international community to renew its commitments and meet its obligations in combating all human rights violations, and to develop innovative ways and means of monitoring and guaranteeing the implementation of human rights instruments.

35. The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, continued to be of great concern. Israel, the occupying Power, was persisting in its oppressive policies and practices against the Palestinian people, in grave violation of international humanitarian law. In addition to collective violations, including foreign occupation, deprivation of the right to self-determination, confiscation of land and natural resources, and building of illegal settlements, it was guilty of various individual violations, including detention, imprisonment, torture and obstruction of movement and means of livelihood. Those policies and practices were jeopardizing the peace process.

36. The international community could not allow 7 million people belonging to an ancient civilization to be controlled and dominated by Israel. The United Nations had a responsibility to give more attention to the flagrant violations being committed against peoples living under foreign occupation, particularly the Palestinian people, as called for in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The Palestinian people were deeply concerned about the continuing difficulties in the peace process, but remained hopeful that there would soon be real and positive change on the ground, leading to genuine progress with regard to their human rights and living conditions.


52. Mr. Najem (Lebanon), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, wondered what the representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply to a statement by the Lebanese delegation, had been talking about when he had mentioned human rights and justice, and what that had to do with the village of Qana, where the Israeli occupation forces had committed genocide by killing 106 civilians, including women, children and old people who had taken refuge in the United Nations compound from Israel’s Operation Grapes of Wrath. Qana was known in the Bible as the site of Christ’s first miracle, but the Israeli occupation forces were also attempting to destroy the Muslim religion and civilization with their crimes against holy places, not just United Nations compounds.

53. He wondered what principle the representative of the Israeli occupation forces could have been invoking when he had asked the Lebanese delegation not to refer to the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Day in and day out, the Israeli occupation forces killed people and perpetrated acts of aggression against civilians by closing schools and interrupting the course of people’s lives, so if there was a principle, it could not be one in which anyone could believe.

54. The right to security of person and the right to life were inalienable human rights, yet every day the Israeli occupation forces tried to stamp them out. The Israeli representative had said that Israel and Israelis had a right to life, but that right did not seem to apply to anyone else.

55. Israel had occupied Lebanon since 1978 and refused to implement Security Council resolution 425 (1978) calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. There was nothing the occupation forces had not tried against Lebanon: there had been large-scale raids and at one point they had even occupied Beirut. The occupation forces were committing such acts in order to impose their own conditions on Lebanon. However, Lebanon would never accept that the occupation should continue. Peace in Lebanon must be based on the relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution 425 (1978), and on the exchange of land for peace.

56. What the Israeli occupation forces termed terrorism was simply resistance against occupation, a right recognized in such international instruments as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which spoke of foreign occupation and its impact on human rights. Lebanon’s resistance would continue until resolution 425 (1978) was implemented in full.

57. The Israeli representative’s comments concerning the implementation of resolution 425 (1978) had been simply allegations designed to hoodwink world public opinion. The only way for Israel to implement the resolution, if indeed it wanted to, was to immediately withdraw its forces. The preconditions set by Israel for doing so were simply attempts to avoid doing what it must and were designed to distract attention from its true intentions.

58. Everyone knew that, in order to exercise the right to peace, people must know the truth. The truth was, quite simply, that people living under occupation suffered. That was why the Third Committee rejected occupation. That was also why he had exercised his right of reply: to explain what was happening in his country.


The meeting rose at 5.20 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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