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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 29th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Monday, 2 April 2001, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson : Mr. DESPOUY (Argentina)
(a) QUESTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CYPRUS (continued)
(a) QUESTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CYPRUS
(agenda item 9) (continued ) (E/CN.4/2001/31*-36, 37 and Corr.1, 38, 39, 40 and Add.1, 41, 42, 43 and Add.1, 44, 45 and Add.1 and Corr.1, 47 and Add.1 and Corr.1, 48, 107, 119, 122, 124, 127-129, 131, 132, 135, 140, 144, 149 and 150; E/CN.4/2001/134-E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/3 and Add.1-3; E/CN.4/2001/NGO/8, 13, 29, 51, 75, 81, 85-89, 114, 121-124, 129, 136, 153, 156-158, 176, 180, 183-186; E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/8; A/55/269; A/C.3/55/5)
1. Mr. ATTAR (Saudi Arabia) said that his country was committed to the protection of human rights and human dignity in accordance with its Constitution which enshrined the principles of Islam. Recent achievements with respect to the consolidation of the universal concepts of human rights included: the ratification of several core human rights instruments; respect for the reporting obligations thereunder; the establishment of a human rights ombudsman (to raise public awareness of human rights regulations and call for the punishment of infractions); and approval for the early establishment of a human rights machinery within the Government.
2. In order to ensure that politicization of the Commission’s work did not prejudice future international cooperation in the field of human rights, all delegations must attempt to engage in a constructive dialogue without levelling accusations against one another. The European Union, in particular, had made allegations against Saudi Arabia which lacked credibility and failed to take account of the country’s particularities and of the fact that, in applying its laws, the Government was seeking merely to protect the security and stability of its citizens and foreign residents. The accusations also disregarded the progress made by his country in strengthening human rights. Not only were such allegations counterproductive, they also risked undermining the Commission’s work.
66. Mr. CASTRO (Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America) said that, if the Commission were truly objective and impartial, it would be discussing the United States denial of independence to Puerto Rico, the unjustified delay in the referendum in Western Sahara, the opposition of the United States and Israel to the establishment of the independent State of Palestine and the compensation owed by the West to the less developed countries for the centuries of plundering. The clearest illustration of the politicization of the debate was the case of Cuba. Any moderately impartial observer could see that the only real impediment to the Cuban people’s enjoyment of their human rights was the economic blockade the United States had imposed on that country for the past 40 years.
67. Mr. SAFA (Arab Organization for Human Rights) said that he was in a position to inform the Commission of the plight of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli-occupied Lebanon. The closure of the Al Hayam prison had been a step forward, but 14 Lebanese citizens were still being held in defiance of Security Council resolution 425 (1978). They were clearly being held as bargaining chips and three Israeli citizens had been captured in order to put pressure on the Israeli Government.
68. Since 1982, 12,000 Lebanese nationals had been tortured and subjected to psychological pressure. Some 60 had died in custody and others on release from detention, while 4,000 former detainees were suffering from chronic illnesses. The country had been sown with 130,000 landmines, and the incidence of cancer in southern Lebanon had been increased by the Israel use of depleted uranium.
69. The Israeli Government should be required to pay compensation for the crimes that it had committed and release the Lebanese in its custody. United Nations representatives should be sent to investigate the situation.