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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

Fifty-ninth General Assembly
Third Committee
34th Meeting (AM)
GA/SHC/3797
2 November 2004

AS THIRD COMMITTEE CONCLUDES DISCUSSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS,

DELEGATES CALL FOR COMMISSION'S REFORM, CITING EXCESSIVE POLITICIZATION


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Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its consideration of human rights questions.  For additional background information, please see Press Release GA/SHC/3792 of 26 October, as well as Press Releases GA/SHC/3793, GA/SHC/3794 and GA/SHC/3795, of 27, 28 and 29 October, respectively.

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

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Statements on Human Rights

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HASAN KLEIB (Indonesia) ...

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Human rights must be seen in a broader context, he concluded.  Extreme poverty must be considered the worst human rights violation.  Human rights and human development shared a common purpose, enhanced human capabilities and generated opportunities for lives of dignity, equality and well-being.  Finally, he called on all nations to pay greater attention to the situation in the Middle East.  Israel’s practices over the past year did not reflect any respect for human rights; the failure of nations, especially those championing human rights, had upheld a double standard permitting the abuse of the human rights of the Palestinian people.

NADYA RASHEED, observer of Palestine, said the 37-year old occupation had denied the Palestinian people all their freedoms and rights and had imposed upon them death, destruction, poverty, imprisonment and a perpetual state of armed conflict.  The occupying power had relentless committed human rights violations against the Palestinian people and their leadership.  Their lands, homes, crops, infrastructure, economy and the very fabric of their lives had all become targets of persistent attacks by the Israeli occupying forces.  More than 3,440 Palestinians had been killed and more than 50,000 had been injured since September 2000 by the occupying forces.  The occupying power had also continued to detain and imprison thousands of people.  Such illegal confinement had involved punishment by physical abuse and torture.  Today there were more than 6,000 Palestinians, including more than 350 children and 75 women, being held in Israeli detention centres under the most deplorable and unsanitary conditions.

She said the building of the expansionist wall in the occupied Palestinian territories had further displaced and dispossessed thousands of Palestinians.  The unlawfulness of the wall had been made unequivocally clear under international law as expounded by the International Court of Justice.  The Court had clearly stated that the wall indeed violated both humanitarian law and human rights law and seriously undermined the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

She reiterated that the only way the Palestinian people would be granted their basic and fundamental human rights was by bringing an end to Israel’s prolonged and dehumanizing occupation.  The establishment of a PalestinianState, with east Jerusalem as its capital, would grant the Palestinian people the rights they had yearned for over the years in the face of oppression and subjugation.  She urged the international community to adopt a stronger stance against Israel’s illegal policies and measures it had taken against the Palestinian people.

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MOHD RADZI ABDUL RAHMAN (Malaysia) ...

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The Special Rapporteur on the right to food had once more drawn attention to the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, he recalled.  The blatant and unabated violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the occupying forces, including their right to food, must not be allowed to continue. The inhumane treatment and suffering inflicted upon the Palestinian people, and the destruction of their land and property, deserved the urgent attention of the international community.  Influential Member States must do their utmost to persuade Israel to take immediate steps to end violations of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

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SAMI ZEIDAN (Lebanon) ...

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On the situation of human rights in Palestine, he reiterated support for the work of the Special Rapporteur, and for the need for a just, complete and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  That must be in accordance with United Nations resolutions, particularly regarding the just settlement of the refugee issue and guaranteeing the right to return for Palestinian people.

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Statements in the Exercise of Right of Reply

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The representative of Israel, exercising the right of reply, said the Committee should take a more critical approach to the one-sided report of Special Rapporteur John Dugard.  By ignoring any hint of corruption and mismanagement and incitement to violence, his report did not serve the cause of the Palestinian people and actually perpetuated the abuse of human rights.  Israel was committed to the Road Map as the only way to achieve a two-state solution and for the Israelis and Palestinian people to live side by side in peace and security. Terrorist acts against the Israeli people should have long ago been labelled as crimes against humanity and war crimes of the gravest form.  He hoped the Palestinians would seize the opportunity offered by Israel’s decision to disengage from the Gaza Strip to engage in dialogue and put an end to the violence.

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The observer of Palestine, exercising the right of reply, said Israel should reconsider speaking of the Road Map as if it were acting in compliance with it. Israel continued to commit illegal acts that were contrary to the Road Map and had registered 14 reservations to it.  It continued to kill Palestinian people and to destroy and confiscate Palestinian land.  Its Gaza disengagement plan was, as one Israeli official had called it, a “freezing process” that would not lead to a solution.  The only answer was simply for Israel to end its occupation and to end the confiscation of Palestinian land.  The first suicide bombing did not occur until 27 years after the occupation.  Everything must be put in context of Israel’s brutal occupation.  It was critical to understand the root causes of the problem if there was to be a solution.  There would be no solution until Israel recognized the rights of the Palestinian people for full protection under the rule of law.

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