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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

RD/D/27
3 September 2001
DELEGATES CONTINUE TO DEBATE WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES
AT WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM

United States, Israel Announce Withdrawal from Conference


Speakers in the general debate of the World Conference against Racism this afternoon and evening addressed a wide range of issues as the United States and Israel announced that they were withdrawing their delegations from the Conference.

Both the President of the Conference, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and its Secretary-General, Mary Robinson, expressed regret over the withdrawal, and urged other delegations to persist in their endeavours to build on the constructive work already done and to bring the Conference to a successful end.

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Statements

ALI MOHAMMED AL-ANISI, Director of the Office of the Presidency, Deputy President of the Human Rights Commission of Yemen: We are all required to contribute effectively towards achieving the goals of this Conference. Yemen has participated in the efforts of the international community to combat racism and to guarantee respect for human rights. It has signed and ratified the treaties and agreements relating to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

The Islamic religion calls for justice, brotherhood, equality and love, and prohibits tyranny of human on other humans. The rights of minorities are protected in Islamic societies. Religious and ethnic minorities live in peace and harmony in the Arabic and Islamic environments. That was the case until the Zionist settlers came to Palestine with the help of the colonial Powers. When the Zionists arrived, they started a campaign of genocide, forcing the mass exodus of the indigenous people of the area -- Palestinian Arabs. Zionists arrived from all corners of earth, and were implanted in the homes of the Palestinians. Israel is practicing many kinds of racial and religious discrimination against the Arabs. This Conference must direct a clear condemnation of Israel and assert that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination. The international community must bear its responsibility to guarantee security and protection for the Palestinians. Further, the international community must oblige Israel to pay compensation for the crimes it committed against the Palestinians.

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ALI ABDUSSALAM TREIKI, Secretary of the People's General Committee for African Unity of Libya: ...

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The Palestinian people were expelled collectively from their land. They are daily exposed to killings for political reasons. What could be more racist than what is happening in Palestine? But super-Powers protect the racist regime. We condemn what the Germans did, but do the Jews have the right to repeat what Hitler did? We, as oppressed nations, have lost confidence in international law; lost confidence in the United Nations, lost confidence in the Security Council because it has become a tool for aggression and hegemony. The oppressed nations of the world must join hands to put an end to the aggression to them.

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PRACHA GUNA-KASEM, Special Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Thailand: ...

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One of the issues considered during the run-up to the Conference was what constitutes discrimination and exactly who would be identified as victims. My delegation feels that deep in our hearts, we all know who the victims of discrimination are and we can all feel and witness the suffering of those being discriminated against. The victims cannot be denied, so how can we deny the truth? Just as human rights are indivisible, so is human suffering. In the Middle East, both the Israeli people and the Palestinians are suffering. At this Conference, we should not exacerbate their plight; we should do whatever we can to bring an end to it. All parties concerned should at the same time resume negotiations as soon as possible. On the issue of past practices, we fully sympathize with the victims of slavery and colonialism. We feel that it can never be possible to fully repair the wounds and the pain suffered by those victims and would urge that the consequences of the past be addressed through assisting victims with development challenges in the spirit of international solidarity and partnership. In that regard, Africa truly deserves recognition and priority attention.

ABDUL-RAHMAN AL-ATTIYAH, Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar: Qatar has always tried, and continues to this day, to take a firm position on racism and human rights. In doing so, it proceeds from its belief in the importance of eradicating this catastrophe that threatens security and stability all over the world. Qatar has played a prominent and effective role on both international and regional levels by participating in all conventions and activities that consolidate equality, tolerance and justice. It has spared no effort to coordinate with other nations in the realm of human rights and combating racism, apartheid in all its forms, slavery and marginalization. Qatar is proud that it has transformed those values into a tangible way of living. That is manifest in perpetual interaction in a multi-cultural community in which people from different parts of the world, who came to help us in our modern development, found a secure and decent life.

Israel's enmity towards the Palestinians, and its destruction of their properties and economy, not only stem from its desire to subjugate them, but also stem from its strong sense of superiority, which relegates the Palestinians to an inferior position. Ironically, Israeli security is considered sacred when balanced against Palestinian security, and all of Israel's heinous violations are justified as a means to bring back every Jew to a land that they raped from its legitimate owners and denied them their right to claim it back. Our greatest concern is that entire peoples are denied their political rights. The continuous suffering of the Palestinian people is a case in point. Faced with indifference and marginalization, those people have suffered for more than 50 years of genocide, of having their rights denied, being displaced, being expelled, and having their property destroyed. We must restore to the Palestinian people the rights guaranteed them by international law and endorsed by all States participating in this Conference. The tragic events endured by the Palestinian people are a grave phenomenon and a stigma to the conscience of the entire mankind.


Rights of Reply

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The representative of Palestine, exercising his right of reply, said the representative of Israel spoke on behalf of a Minister who declined to address this assembly. We believe that is an admission that Israel has failed to prove that it is a peace-loving country that abides by international laws and humanitarian law. He did refer to something about 4,000 years ago. We don't understand what relevance this has today. Israel must realize that since the defeat of nazism and fascism, the international community has adopted norms and values that govern the international community. Those protect individual rights and national rights. The right of return for the Palestinian people has been refused by the Israelis repeatedly. Another inalienable right is the right to self-determination, and that has not been extended to the Palestinians by the Israelis and another world Power.

In the meantime, Israel has promulgated a law to return, but it was only applicable to Jews. The representative said Jews and Arabs can live side-by-side, but how does he explain that the only way that has happened in the last year is at gunpoint? How can they achieve peace with F-16s and Apaches. Israel has to honour and fulfil the principles enshrined in the international instruments of human rights. It is not seen how the world can be fooled much longer by the Israelis. Their reasoning is not biblically correct or politically sound.

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Statements

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SAMIR K. AL-NIMA (Iraq): ...

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In Palestinian occupied territories, the Israeli forces of occupation have been committing crimes against humanity since 1948. Under the eyes of the international community, the Israeli occupation forces have been committing the worst forms of aggression and racial discrimination against the unarmed Palestinian people, including the killings of civilians, especially children, isolating Palestinian villages and towns, imposing economic blockades, destroying houses, and other forms of inhumane practices. The document of the Conference has to unmask the real nature and condemn the Zionist racial practices as the international community did in its last conference on racism.

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IBRAHIM ALI AL-MAJED (Bahrain): ...

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Foreign occupation built upon the suppression of self-determination and polices of racial discrimination and intolerance is at odds with the principles of the United Nations Charter. It also constitutes a serious violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. It is a hateful form of racial segregation and discrimination as well as a threat to international peace and security. It is beyond a doubt then that the Israeli occupation of occupied Arab territories will merit the harshest of descriptions. It has caused serious hardship for the Palestinian people and has prevented them from participating in even the most ordinary everyday activities. Israeli policies are based on racial discrimination and have forced the Palestinian people to struggle for freedom and self-determination. We call on the occupying State, Israel, to stop those practices. We believe that the Middle East is in need of a just and comprehensive peace that would enable all its peoples to attain economic and social development.

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