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

Fifty-fifth General Assembly
Third Committee
44th Meeting (PM)
2 November 2000



The clash of perspectives on human rights issues was the focus of vigorous debate this afternoon as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) continued its consideration of issues related to human rights.


Introduction of Draft Resolution

SERGEY N KAREV, (Russian Federation) … went on to say that the Middle East was once again caught in the midst of violence. Russia, a co-sponsor of the peace process, had persistently called upon all parties to take concrete steps to end the violence. In particular, it was necessary to immediately withdraw Israeli forces, to unblock the Palestinian territories and to establish control under the auspices of Palestinian forces. Both sides should respect the sanctity of religious holy sites and guarantee their safety. It was also imperative to conduct consultations with a view to coming to an agreement on a mechanism for further negotiations. …


SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, observer of Palestine, said the question of the Palestinian people's human rights was within the mandate of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, but the seriousness of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, warranted the airing of concerns within the Third Committee.

The situation in the occupied territories had deteriorated to the point where the peace and stability of the entire Middle East region as a whole was threatened, she continued. The occupying Power continued to violate the Palestinian people's rights in a gross, systematic and widespread way, primarily to create illegal realities on the ground as a way to break the Palestinian people's determination to realize their inalienable rights –- and in particular the right to establish their independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. Since 28 September, Israel had used excessive force against Palestinian civilians, killing more than 160 and injuring more than 3,500. It had shut down international crossing points, preventing Palestinian people and goods from entering or leaving the territory. The right to freedom of worship had been denied, and Amnesty International had labeled the situation as "clearly an acceleration of the violation of human rights so flagrant it could be considered a war crime".

She recalled that a special session of the Commission on Human Rights had been convened on 17 October, ending in a condemnation of the provocative visit by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon which had triggered the tragic events that followed, including the disproportionate use of force by Israel. The international community must protect the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territory.

Saying she welcomed the forthcoming visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and appreciated the report by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, she said she regretted Israel's refusal to meet with the Special Rapporteur. She called for an immediate withdrawal of Israel's security forces from the territory to reduce the tension and the instability they generated.


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For information media - not an official record