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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/SR.6
13 August 2001

Original: ENGLISH

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

SUB-COMMISSION ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Fifty-third session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 6th MEETING

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Thursday, 2 August 2001, at 10 a.m.

Chairperson: Mr. WEISSBRODT


CONTENTS

Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including policies of racial discrimination and segregation, in all countries, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO colonial and other dependent countries and territories:

report of the Sub-Commission under Commission on Human Rights resolution 8 (XXIII) (continued)



The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.


Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including policies of racial discrimination and segregation, in all countries, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO colonial and other dependent countries and territories:

report of the Sub-Commission under Commission on Human Rights resolution 8 (XXIII) (item 2 of the provisional agenda) (continued) (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/3 and Add.1-3; E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/NGO/1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 15)

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5. Mr. van HOOF ...

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7. He fully endorsed Ms. Hampson’s condemnation of recent Israeli action in Palestine. He also welcomed her structured and thematic approach to the agenda item. The theme of accountability certainly merited further attention, as also, in his view, did the lawfulness of detention.

8. Mrs. WARZAZI said that it was impossible to speak of human rights without recalling the intolerable situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. It could hardly be called a war when young men with nothing but stones and courage were pitted against all the sophisticated weaponry of the Israeli armed forces. The world’s leaders allowed Israel to act with complete impunity and were thus to some extent complicit. How was it possible to proclaim a culture of human rights when thousands of Palestinian people continued to be subjected to arbitrary attack, torture and closures, and when the Security Council failed to take decisive action to end those crimes?

9. Moreover, the right of veto in that body ran counter to the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, having become the personification of murder and terror, while political pressures were exerted to silence dissent. Only the previous month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had apologized to the representative of Israel for stating that the Israeli settlement policy was a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and constituted a war crime. How could Governments that preached human rights while turning a blind eye to their violation sit in judgement over others?

10. The agenda item under consideration provided an opportunity to denounce human rights violations wherever they might occur. NGOs participating in the debate had drawn attention mainly to situations in developing countries. Although she shared most of their concerns, she believed that attention must also be drawn to a new form of political colonialism, namely, the unacceptable behaviour of certain Western Governments which consisted in seeking to impose their own model of democracy on the world despite reneging on their international obligations.

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19. Ms. ZERROUGUI ...

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20. There were a number of other important sources of disagreement within the Preparatory Committee, including those on the Palestinian question. For 50 years, the Palestinians had lived under occupation, suffering violations of their most basic human rights. Such issues had to be given full exposure, or the World Conference would lead more to words than to action. Fine words not followed by action undermined the credibility of international human rights instruments. Both the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights had spoken at the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Human Rights of the need to ensure that bold statements of intent regarding human rights became a reality. The Sub-Commission should break the conspiracy of silence and continue to draw attention to legitimate human rights causes.

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33. Mr. ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ ...

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35. Human rights continued to be flouted wherever a colonial presence had survived. Where it existed, such a presence tended to be associated with irredentism by peoples who considered that they had been deprived of the right of self-determination. In many cases, their assertion of those rights - in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas - set in motion a cycle of insurrection and repression. He expressed support in that connection for Mrs. Warzazi’s statement about the situation in the occupied Arab territories, particularly the West Bank and Gaza. The Sub-Commission must seek to develop a creative approach to such situations.

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38. Mr. PINHEIRO commended Mr. Alfonso Martínez on his plea for a more creative and imaginative approach to agenda item 2, particularly with reference to the Palestinian tragedy.

39. Mr. ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ said that ingenuity was required in dealing with all situations in which human rights and fundamental freedoms were being violated.

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41. Mr. EIDE ...

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42. Conflicts were interrelated and many of the issues raised under agenda item 2 involved religious intolerance and extremism, and the tendency of rulers to apply unduly harsh methods to situations that could be handled peacefully and constructively. Israel owed its creation to the Holocaust for which Europeans were largely responsible. It was intended to be a place where Jews could seek refuge from the tragedies that had befallen them in the past, especially in Europe. But the relationship between Israel and Palestine had generated a new conflict, which had been steadily escalating. The choice of means by both sides tended to exacerbate the situation and there seemed to be no way out of the crisis. The settlements in the occupied territories, which had been on the United Nations agenda for a very long time, constituted a clear-cut provocation to the Palestinians and led to increasing insecurity for both settlers and the people of Israel. The possibility of living in peace depended on reaching an accommodation, but there was little willingness in Israel to seek such an accommodation because of political processes. It was therefore up to the international community to address the problem and find a solution acceptable to both parties.

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The meeting rose at 1 p.m.

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