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UN Commission on Human Rights

UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR) adopts an additional resolution on the occupied Palestinian territory calling for a comprehensive investigation into the breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law.

On 24 April 2002, in accordance with CHR decision 2002/13 of 16 April 2002, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson, presented her report (E/CN.4/2002/184) to the plenary session of the Commission. During the general debate that followed that presentation, Pakistan announced that his country would present, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference an additional resolution on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

On Friday 26 April 2002, the last day of the annual CHR session, Pakistan introduced resolution L.116.

In the resolution, the Commission took note of the report of the High Commissioner providing details of reports of the gross, widespread and flagrant violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people and the utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the Israeli forces in their operations in the occupied Palestinian territory and it deplored the denial by Israel of the visit of the team headed by the High Commissioner herself. CHR Member states also expressed deep concern at the grave humanitarian situation of the Palestinian civilian population following the invasion by Israel of Palestinian cities and camps, especially Jenin Camp, and condemned the continuing gross, widespread and flagrant violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by the occupying power, Israel. In particular, the Commission endorsed in this context the proposal by the High Commissioner for a comprehensive investigation into the breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law. Finally, it called upon Israel to ensure full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, especially the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War as well as it called upon the international community to provide urgent and adequate humanitarian assistance for the reconstruction of the areas in the occupied Palestinian territory destroyed by Israeli military operations.

The resolution was adopted by a roll call vote of 33 in favor (Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Zambia) and 1 opposed (Guatemala), with 19 abstentions (Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Uruguay).

Though they agreed with the High Commissioner on the need to protect human rights in the region and deplored that she had not had access to the region, countries that chose to abstain on the resolution said that their decision was motivated by the fact that, in the text, no mention had been made of terrorism, nor had the need for both sides to be accountable. They also stated that the parties in the conflict should be encouraged to come back to the negotiating table and argued that peace could be achieved only through respect for human rights and international law. All parties should, therefore, face up to their responsibilities and make sure that violations of the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis were prevented.

In his concluding remarks, the Ambassador of Syria declared that the resolution reaffirmed the need to investigate the inhuman war crimes committed against the Palestinian people by the Israeli official and unofficial forces and that the suffering of all was due to the Israeli occupation.

The Office of Franciscans International in Geneva has constantly informed members of the Franciscan Family about the development of the debates and actions on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories that took place during the annual session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. In the future, we will continue to provide you with updated information on whatever action will be pursued by CHR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Geneva, 30 April 2002
For further information on CHR debates and actions
on the occupied Palestinian territories, please contact:
Alessandra Aula
FI Geneva office
aula@fiop.org

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