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SUB-COMMISSION ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 7th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Tuesday, 15 August 2006, at 10 a.m.
Chairperson: Mr. BOSSUYT
later: Ms. CHUNG
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
3. Mr. DECAUX ...
4. The crisis in the Middle East was the current focus of international attention. While the United Nations Security Council had been reaching a consensus on its resolution 1701 (2006), Lebanon had been engulfed in a cruel and unjust war. While the international community had procrastinated, the warmongers had raised the stakes and made it even more difficult to achieve a negotiated solution based on the free exercise of rights and dignity of the Palestinian people and guarantees for Israel’s security within internationally recognized borders. By adopting a Chairperson’s statement condemning the fate of all victims of that war and of displaced persons across the region, the Sub-Commission had appealed to the Security Council to meet its responsibilities in respect of threats to international peace and security. The statement, which had been approved by consensus, had not been tainted with the politicization witnessed at the first two special sessions of the Human Rights Council, and demonstrated that the members of the Sub-Commission could speak with one voice on human rights issues.
8. Ms. WARZAZI said that, in the context of agenda item 2, particular mention should be made of the devotion that so many NGOs demonstrated in addressing wide-ranging situations of grave violations of human rights. Those organizations showed the will to promote humanitarian issues and never gave up, even under the most trying and discouraging circumstances. Their example should be kept in mind, particularly when considering situations of massive and deliberate violations of human rights such as had occurred over the past month, when large numbers of innocent people had been killed, injured, forced into exile and even attacked as they were leaving. Television footage had shown victims leaving their homes, comfort and families to take refuge in schools and hospitals, where medicine and food were lacking, while on the other side, those under attack were taking refuge in equipped shelters with proper medical assistance and even televisions. The reasons given to justify a month of destruction of bridges, roads, houses and even ambulances that were transporting the injured, were unacceptable. Furthermore, a United States publication had recently stated that the attack against Lebanon had been planned before the two Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped. A Moroccan journalist had observed ironically that a number of rules should be borne in mind when reporting on the current conflict, including: Palestinian and Lebanese Arabs did not have the right to kill civilians on the other side, since that constituted terrorism; Israel had the right to kill Arab civilians in “self-defence”; the Israelis had the right to abduct as many Palestinians as they wished, and they did not need to justify their actions by proving that those kidnapped were guilty of committing any crimes, but simply by saying the magic word “terrorist”; and journalists should never mention “occupied territories”, “United Nations resolutions” or “violations of international law”, since those terms could upset some readers. The journalist in question had concluded by saying that those who disagreed with those rules or considered that they favoured one party to the conflict over the other were dangerous anti-Semites.
9. The Moroccan people had condemned the brutal aggression against Lebanon, and the killings of Palestinians, including many children, under the pretext of the war on terror. Moroccan Jewish intellectuals, who could not be considered to be anti-Semites, had demonstrated their opposition to the violence, and had appealed to all Jewish Moroccans living abroad to call for an end to the Israeli attacks against Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. No policy could justify the massive violations of human rights that had been occurring on a daily basis for over a month.
14. Mr. SALAMA ...
20. A third painful development had been the outcome of the two special sessions of the Human Rights Council on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Lebanon. A nascent institution that was seeking to establish its credibility as a protector of human rights in the international community had failed to achieve that aim. The Sub-Commission, whose membership was no less diverse than that of the Council, had managed to comment on human rights with one voice because it had taken the time and the trouble to build unanimity. He therefore proposed that the new expert body should reflect on whether it was possible to distinguish the political dimensions of a given conflict from its human rights dimensions. In his view, there had been no fundamental difference between the majority of Council members on the human rights dimensions of the situations dealt with at the two special sessions. What divided them was the political background to the conflicts concerned. It was the moral and legal duty of the expert body to emphasize that priority should be given to a rights-based approach to conflicts and that every effort should be made to isolate the human rights dimension and to reduce the impact of politics.