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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 40th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Monday, 15 April 2002, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson : Mr. LEWALTER (Germany)
later: Mr. JAKUBOWSKI (Poland)
(a) TORTURE AND DETENTION
(b) DISAPPEARANCES AND SUMMARY EXECUTIONS
(c) FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
(d) INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY, ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, IMPUNITY
(e) RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE
(f) STATES OF EMERGENCY
(g) CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION TO MILITARY SERVICE (continued)
“The Commission on Human Rights
Expresses its deep dismay that its resolution 2002/1 of 5 April 2002 has not been implemented, even though the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory has continued to deteriorate owing to the absence of a positive response from the occupying Power;
Calls for the immediate implementation of its resolution 2002/1 of 5 April 2002;
Urges the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report urgently to the Commission on Human Rights on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory on the basis of authentic reports from all concerned organizations present in the occupied territories.”
15. Mr. PEREZ-VILLANUEVA Y TOVAR (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union, reaffirmed the Union’s support for the High Commissioner in the exercise of the extremely difficult mandate entrusted to her as a result of the exceptional gravity of the situation in the occupied territories. He was sure that the common objective of all Commission members and observers was to contribute in a practical and effective way to putting an end to the human rights violations and loss of human life on both sides. To achieve that, the Commission’s decisions must be based on as broad a consensus as possible and must not interfere with other initiatives under way in the region. The Union wished at all costs to avoid the discussion turning into another round of sterile accusations that did a disservice to human rights institutions and the Commission in particular. Any decision should contribute in a practical way to improving the lot of the victims. The Union took note of the proposal by the representative of Pakistan but needed time to study it in detail.
16. Mr. DEMBRI (Algeria) said he had always thought that all members of the Commission on Human Rights were on the side of the victims of human rights violations wherever those violations occurred, and yet the Commission was once again indulging in a formal dialectic exercise, despite having already lost its credibility in the light of the international initiatives being undertaken. He paid particular tribute to Mr. Saramango, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who had launched an appeal on behalf of the Palestinian people, and to all those who, regardless of their nationality, had rallied round the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Arafat, whose very life was threatened. While the violations committed bore the hallmarks of genocide and crimes against humanity, the members of the Commission were still wondering whether to adopt a Chairperson’s statement or a binding resolution. In that regard, he pointed out that the Commission’s resolutions were never binding except on weak countries. The Commission should demand the opening of humanitarian corridors to alleviate the suffering of the victims. The High Commissioner and her team should try to visit the territories, even without having obtained visas. It might be necessary to set up an international peace force to prevent a genocide. In any case, he supported the proposal by the representative of Pakistan.
17. Mr. VEGA (Chile) said that, if it was to defend human rights in the occupied territories, the Commission needed to act with great firmness but also with a certain amount of prudence. Its aim should be to ensure that resolution 2002/1 was implemented without delay, and thus to help reduce the number of victims.
18. Ms. GERVAIS-VIDRICAIRE (Canada) recalled that her delegation had not voted for resolution 2002/1. She took careful note of the letter addressed to the High Commissioner by the Israeli Ambassador on the feasibility of a mission. Unlike the representative of Pakistan, she did not believe the Commission had remained silent on the human rights situation in the occupied territories. That issue, on which the Bureau of the Commission was still working, had in fact been considered under agenda item 8 and had formed the subject of a special debate. Moreover, it was extremely important that the Commission should complete its work. Like the representative of Spain, she stressed the need to take account of other important initiatives such as the visit by the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, and to study more closely the draft decision proposed by the delegation of Pakistan.
19. Mr. LIU Xinsheng (China) said the High Commissioner’s mission would prevent the human rights situation from getting even worse in the occupied territories. He therefore supported the proposal by the representative of Pakistan. He also hoped that all the parties concerned would do whatever was necessary to ensure that the visit of the High Commissioner could go ahead as soon as possible.
20. Mr. ATTAR (Saudi Arabia) endorsed the statements made by the Palestinian and Pakistani delegations, and reaffirmed that the Commission should assume its responsibilities and help the High Commissioner to discharge the task entrusted to her by resolution 2002/1. He agreed with the representative of Algeria that the Commission needed to maintain its credibility and to take a decision as quickly as possible on the proposal by the delegation of Pakistan.
21. Mr. AKINSANYA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said it was regrettable that the High Commissioner was unable to visit the occupied Palestinian territories in accordance with resolution 2002/1. Given the gravity of the situation, which required a quick decision, he supported the proposal by the delegation of Pakistan.
22. Mr. NORDMANN (Observer for Switzerland) said that the High Commissioner’s mission to the occupied territories was necessary if the Commission was to form an accurate picture of the facts and events in the occupied territories rather than rely on the contradictory accounts received so far. He hoped that the mission would be able to go ahead as quickly as possible and that the High Commissioner would be able to assess the humanitarian situation in the occupied territories. The minimal and universal rules of humanitarian law must be observed in all circumstances in order to limit the effects of the violence. He shared the great concern expressed by the members of the Commission and the determination of the High Commissioner and her team to visit the occupied territories.
23. Mr. FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba) said it was regrettable that the High Commissioner had been unable to visit the occupied territories, essentially because of the Israeli Government’s failure to cooperate. He pointed out that the High Commissioner’s fact-finding mission had an international mandate that complemented current or future bilateral initiatives. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories was intolerable and an in-depth inquiry should be held into the Jenin massacre. His delegation supported the proposal by the delegation of Pakistan and was prepared to adopt it immediately.
24. Mr. AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the OIC member States, said that he would have preferred the Commission to have reached a decision at once, but he was prepared to leave more time for the delegations which so desired to study his proposal more closely.
25. The CHAIRPERSON suggested that consideration of the draft decision should be postponed until the following meeting.
26. It was so decided.