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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 26th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Friday, 30 March 2001, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson: Mr. MENDONÇA E MOURA (Portugal)
later: Mr. DESPOUY (Argentina)
(a) QUESTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CYPRUS (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, INCLUDING:
66. Mr. KHABBAZ-HAMOUI (Syrian Arab Republic) said that the number of human rights violations and the number of countries committing such violations seemed to be growing rapidly. There was a suspicion, however, that some countries used human rights as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Such behaviour tended to distract attention from major violations, such as forcible annexation, which affected the basic rights to life, food, education, self-determination and development.
67. It was regrettable that some countries used the Commission to mock the world with double standards, not mentioning violations by countries that were their friends. Violations by Israeli forces on the Lebanese border, for example, and the continued occupation of farms in southern Lebanon were a case in point. Lebanese citizens were imprisoned and tortured. Death and mutilation were caused by the tens of thousands of landmines sown by Israel before its withdrawal, yet that country would not provide the United Nations with maps showing their location. Nor would it allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit detainees. That was a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
68. His delegation deplored the references made to his country in the statement by the European Union, which was an irritating repetition of previous statements devoid of any justification in fact. Measures had been taken to respect and consolidate various freedoms and build the rule of law, despite the heavy burdens of the situation inherited from the Israeli occupation. He hoped that in the future such statements would not ignore Israeli human rights violations but would be objective, thus ensuring that the Union could retain its credibility.
81. Mr. NASR (Observer for Lebanon) said that the Government of Israel, which continued to show contempt for United Nations resolutions, had made no progress on the issue of the Lebanese detainees being held without trial and subjected to solidarity confinement and torture, and had denied the ICRC access to them.
82. That Government had also failed to respect internationally recognized land borders and Lebanese airspace. Israeli troops had left hundreds of thousands of anti-personnel landmines in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa valley and continued to retain for bargaining purposes the maps which revealed their location. The Commission should urge the Israeli Government to hand over those maps as a matter of extreme urgency, in order to prevent continued civilian deaths.
83. Mr. HEYWARD (Observer for Australia) ...
88. His delegation remained alarmed at the egregious human rights situation in Afghanistan and the effects of the ongoing conflicts in Sierra Leone, the Sudan and the Great Lakes region of Africa. It was also deeply disturbed by the violent confrontations in the West Bank, Gaza and parts of Israel, and appealed to all parties to work towards peace. In Sri Lanka, recent efforts to facilitate negotiations were welcome.
92. Mr. FARRELL (Observer for New Zealand) ...
97. The deteriorating situation in Israel and the occupied territories was of serious concern. The use of excessive force by the Israeli Defence Force and its policy of assassinations should be halted immediately, as should the further expansion of Israeli settlements. Both parties should bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations.