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International Law, Israel, and Palestine

UN Commission on Human Rights Adopts Resolution Which Condemns Continuing Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Territory, Including the Tragic Assassination of Sheikh Yassin

United Nations
Press Release
March 24, 2004

The Commission on Human Rights this morning strongly condemned the continuing grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular the tragic assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on 22 March 2004 in contravention of the Hague Convention IV of 1907.

In a resolution adopted following an urgent special sitting on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory resulting from the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, the Commission noted with grave concern the implications of such targeted assassinations, liquidation and murder of political leadership by the Israeli occupation forces on the overall situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the possibility of a fresh wave of violence.

The Commission called upon Israel to accord fullest respect to the principles of international humanitarian law and to desist from all forms of violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The resolution was adopted by a roll-call vote of 31 in favour, two against and 18 abstentions.

Israel, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Commission had become accustomed to Israel-bashing, and today the forum had clearly reached its nadir by lending a hand and moral standing to terrorism, the most despicable of all evils. One saw a prominent United Nations organ manipulated, not for the first time, and heading toward the establishment of a precedent of lending support to acts of terrorism instead of condemning them unequivocally.

Palestine, also speaking as a concerned country, said the Commission had often adopted resolutions requiring Israel to put an end to its violation of rights in the occupied Arab territories and to put an end to their operations of liquidation, assassination and extra-judiciary executions, crimes which violated the right to life, and yet the Government of Israel ignored them. The United Nations as a whole should take a stand on these flagrant violations and call upon Israel to respect the resolutions.

Delivering statements during the special sitting were Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Ireland on behalf of the European Union, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United States, Venezuela and Yemen.

The following non-governmental organizations also participated in the special sitting: International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (in a joint statement with several NGOs1); Al Haq (in a joint statement with several NGOs2); Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru” (in a joint statement with several NGOs3); Simon Wiesenthal Congress (in a joint statement with International Association of Jewish Lawyers and jurists, Women’s International Zionist Organization; International Council of Jewish Women); World Union for Progressive Judaism and United Nations Watch.

Also this morning, the Commission continued with its general debate on the right to development, hearing statements from Benin as well as the following non-governmental organizations: Franciscans International (in a joint statement with Dominicans for Justice and Peace, Minority Rights Group International); International Federation of University Women, (in a joint statement with severals NGOs4); International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements FIMARC; Europe-Third World Centre; African Canadian Legal Clinic; Centro de Estudios Europeos; World Federation of Free Trade Unions; Interfaith International; Federation of Cuban Women; Human Rights Advocates; International Association against Torture; December twelfth Movement International Secretariat; Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru” and International Human Rights Association of American Minorities

The Commission today is meeting from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. After the morning meeting concluded at 12:30 p.m., also coinciding with the conclusion of the special sitting, the Commission immediately held a midday meeting to continue with its general debate on the right to development.

Action on Resolution

The Commission, by a roll-call vote of 31 in favour, two against and 18 abstentions, adopted resolution E/CN.4/2004/L4 on the grave situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which it strongly condemned the continuing grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular the tragic assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on 22 March 2004, in contravention of the Hague Convention IV of 1907; noted with grave concern the implications of such targeted assassinations, liquidation and murder of political leadership by the Israeli occupation forces on the overall situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the possibility of a fresh wave of violence; and called upon Israel to accord fullest respect to the principles of international humanitarian law and to desist from all forms of violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (31): Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Against (2): Australia and United States.

Abstentions (18): Austria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

READ THE ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE.

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Additional Resources

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Organizations

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Al-Haq

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

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Amnesty International

International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative

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