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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/CN.4/2001/SR.3
26 March 2001

Original: English

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

Fifty-seventh session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 3rd MEETING

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,

on Tuesday, 20 March 2001, at 3 p.m.

Chairperson : Mr. DESPOUY (Argentina)

CONTENTS


STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF PORTUGAL

ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE SESSION (continued)

REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS



The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF PORTUGAL

5. Turning to specific situations, he said that there were still several issues to be resolved in East Timor. It was important to promote accountability, full disclosure of the truth and national reconciliation. The situation of the refugees in West Timor still gave rise to deep concern, since they lacked food, shelter and basic sanitary conditions. Many were still deprived of the right to exercise the choice of returning to their land. In addition, militia groups remained active, intimidating refugees and even attempting to infiltrate East Timor. He trusted that the Commission would remain seized of the matter until a satisfactory outcome was achieved. The Commission should also pay particular attention to the situation in the Middle East, especially Palestine. It was important that a balanced approach should be maintained while efforts to achieve a lasting solution continued.

[...]

ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE SESSION (agenda item 3) (continued ) (E/CN.4/2001/12; E/CN.4/2001/CRP.1 and 2)

9. Mr. AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), ...

[...]

10. The OIC had consistently condemned the violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Syrian Golan, the Lebanese territory occupied by Israel, Kosovo, Jammu and Kashmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the inhuman isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people. In particular, the unabated violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the Israeli defence forces continued to evoke deep concern in the Islamic world.

11. The Commission should give priority at its current session to putting an end to those violations and to the grave breaches of humanitarian law, which had been referred to in the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (E/CN.4/2001/114), the human rights inquiry commission (E/CN.4/2001/121) and the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/2001/30). The convening and outcome of the fifth special session of the Commission had been a manifestation of the international community’s deep concern and it was disturbing to note that the implementation of the resolution adopted at that session had not received due attention. It was regrettable, moreover, that only four special rapporteurs had expressed an interest in visiting the region and he urged all the special mechanisms to arrange visits to Israel and to the occupied Palestinian territories.

[...]

REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS (agenda item 4) (E/CN.4/2001/6, 16, 114, 133; E/CN.4/2001/NGO/27; E/CN.4/2000/12)

[...]

52. Mr. LIU Xinsheng (China) ...

[...]

53. His delegation supported the High Commissioner’s visit to Palestine in accordance with the Commission’s resolution at its special session on the Question of Palestine. The regional preparatory meetings for the Durban Conference were complete and the drafting of the final document had entered a critical stage. In that connection, the High Commissioner should step up her exchanges with Member States to ensure that the Conference would reflect a plurality of views.

[...]

55. Mr. LITTMAN (World Union for Progressive Judaism) said that the report of the High Commissioner on the question of the violation of human rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine (E/CN.4/2001/114) referred in paragraph 24 to the problem of hate speech and incitement, including the “numerous examples” which had been cited to the High Commissioner during her visit, with evidence being “clearly visible on the walls of Palestinian houses” (para. 24). The report also stated that the High Commissioner had been “shocked by calls broadcast on Palestinian television and radio urging the killing of all Jews”.

56. The grave problem of “hate speech” had also surfaced in the Palais des Nations during the annual Special Meeting of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Observer for Palestine had delivered his usual tirade to the effect that a group of criminal gangs from various areas of the world had come to Palestine to set up a State and that the State in question had, since 1948, continued to commit crimes before the eyes of the world. Such a racist remark would encompass not only the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Europe, but also a million Jewish refugees fleeing pogroms and persecution and fearing for their future in Arab countries and Iran. Some 350,000 had found refuge in Europe and the Americas, with 650,000 returning “by right and not on sufferance” to their ancestral homeland, as recognized by the League of Nations and, subsequently, by the United Nations.

57. Unchecked, the Observer for Palestine had proceeded to indulge in more abject calumny reminiscent of former blood libels and anti-Jewish hatred. He had even claimed that Israel had attempted to assassinate the High Commissioner. If there was no truth in such an allegation, he wondered why it had not been opposed and the speaker called to order, as would have been done automatically regarding similar mendacity targeting another State, particularly by an Observer.

58. He called upon the High Commissioner to inform the Commission directly whether that libellous accusation had been substantiated by the official inquiry and, if not, what was being done to wipe out the stain on the Organization’s reputation of having allowed a crude falsehood to remain unchallenged for nearly four months. The High Commissioner should either confirm the allegation if indeed there was proof, or correct such ignominious “hate speech and incitement” which deliberately targeted a specific group (the Jews), as well as a Member State of the United Nations (Israel).


The meeting rose at 4.40 p.m.

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