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

Background ReleaseGA/SHC/3494
4 November 1998



Report of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Also To Be Discussed

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today begins consideration of further human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Also to be considered are human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives. The report of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights is also to be discussed. Almost 30 reports are before the Committee for consideration. A summary of most of those reports (some are still to be issued) follows.


The Secretary-General's report on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (documents A/53/293 and Add.1) is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 52/120, which, among several other provisions, requested the Secretary-General to bring the text to the attention of all Member States, to seek their views and information on the implications and negative effects of unilateral coercive measures on their populations and to submit accordingly a report thereon to the Assembly.

In response to that request, as of 24 July, replies were received from Cuba, Fiji, Iran and the Sudan, and from Palestine. A reply from Morocco was issued in an addendum to the report.


Another section of the report contains a response from Palestine. It says that the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly concerning the Palestinian people's right to self-determination was resolution 181 (III) of 29 November 1947, in which the Assembly recognized the Palestinian people's right to establish its Palestinian State, and called upon them to practice that right.

Between 1969 and 1983, the Assembly adopted a number of resolutions all reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, especially its right to self-determination. In 1980, the Assembly requested the Security Council, in the event of Israel's non-compliance with the resolution, to convene to consider the situation and the adoption of effective measures under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. Yet, the Security Council did not respond to the Assembly's request because of the negative position of the United States and the threat on its part to resort to a veto against any draft resolution to that effect.

In 1982, the Assembly requested the Security Council to discharge its responsibilities under the Charter and recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian Arab people, including the right to establish its independent Arab State in Palestine. The General Assembly has been reiterating these resolutions to this day in its subsequent resolutions. The Palestinian people has been prevented from achieving self-determination as a result of the Israeli military occupation of all the Palestinian Territory, and also because it has been suffering under the practices of the Israeli occupation authorities which violate its national and human rights -- at the forefront of which is its right to self-determination.


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