UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN
59th SESSIONAL REPORTS
Organization of the Commission
Mr. Mohamed-Salah Dembri Algeria spoke first this morning, on behalf of the Like-
Minded Group. His statement was relative to agenda Item 3 organization of the Commission
reminded that the promotion and the protection of human rights are a daily struggle for all of
Mr. Jorge-Alberto Ferrer Rodriguez Cuba, wished to review documents on methods of
interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur, expressing doubts about the time allotted to
debates and its impact on the work of the Commission. He would study the statistics during
speaking times and address this issue in the afternoon.
The High Commissioner, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, prior to introducing his report under
agenda Item 4 and announcing a series of initiatives, proposals and reforms meant to
ameliorate his Office’s competence, reminded all parties of the Iraqi conflict to honour their
obligations under international law and to respect human rights at all times.
Mr. Shaukat Umer Pakistan speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC), was very concerned about the reappearance of Islamophobia, especially in
the post-September 11th period. He also reminded the strong commitment of the OIC to the
universal promotion of human rights.
Mr. Saeed Mohamed Al-Faihani Bahrain focused mainly on the policies and plans taken by
his country in order to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental
Mr. Tassos Kriekoukis, the representative of Greece speaking on behalf of the European
Union, expressed the needs of stronger protection of human rights and of comprehensive
action in order to uphold “human dignity, equality, security and human rights in a rapidly
changing world”, all high priority issues for the European Union.
Mr. Manuel A. Gonzales-Sanz Costa-Rica stressed that only the existence of a rule of law
accompanied by an educational process would create the necessary conditions to ensure that
everyone could fully develop his human potential in conditions of equality and prosperity. He
mentioned that thousands of children were touched by conflicts and that this should not
Mrs. Mariclaire Acosta Mexico stated that the improvement of the institutional capacity of the
OHCHR was a main concern and that the suggestions made in the report were fully
Mr. Sha Zukang China said that the OHCHR needed to be reformed in order to adjust to the
developments of the international community, i.e. terrorism.
Mr. Jorge-Alberto Ferrer Rodriguez resumed that only underdeveloped countries were
submitted to discriminatory resolutions under agenda Item 9, with reference only to political
and civil rights and that these approaches ignored the principles of universality, indivisibility,
interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights.
Mr. Mohamed-Salah Dembri, spoke again affirming that a focalisation on civil and political
rights rejects the interdependence and the indivisibility of human rights.
Mr. Valeriy Kuchinsky Ukraine said that the adoption by this session of the resolution on
protecting human rights while combating terrorism would be the right step in the right
Mr. Christopher Wedstal Head of the Canadian Delegation speaking on behalf of
Australia and New Zealand affirmed that the challenge was not to create new human rights
standards but to implement those we already have.
Mrs. Laxanachantorn Laohaphan Thailand said that “States must uphold their
responsibilities, beginning with human rights education to enable people to realize their rights
and to exercise then accordingly”.
Mr. Alexey Vlaskov Russian Federation stated that he gave all his support to the OHCHR
even though his country disagrees with the guidelines concerning membership in the
Commission that would contravene the UN Charter.
Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri India affirmed that his country was against the codes of the High
Commissioner because these would violate the UN Charter’s principle of sovereign equality
of Member States.
Mr. Kevin E. Moley United States mainly focused on the fact that only real democracies,
only nations whose citizens fully enjoy political and civil liberties deserve membership to the
Commission, because they do not threaten international peace and security.
Mrs. Naela Babr Egypt spoke next as the first State observer and expressed some reflections
concerning the High Commissioner’s report, especially the need to carefully determine the
mandates of Special Rapporteurs in order to avoid duplication and overlapping.
Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya Nepal reminded the importance of human rights.
Mr. Sverre Bergh Johansen Norway stated that international cooperation and domestic action
were interdependent and inseparable elements in any serious attempt to provide effective
protection of human rights.
Mr. Amare Tekle Eritrea affirmed that the elimination of hunger and extreme poverty as well
as peace are the sine qua non conditions for the achievement of development.
Mr. Djismun Kasri Indonesia mentioned the need for international cooperation and assistance
for the realisation of social, economic and cultural rights.
Mr. David Littman Association for World Education speaking on behalf of other NGOs
affirmed his full support to the High Commissioner’s code.
Mr. Lubna Freih Human Rights Watch expressed the need for the Commission to adopt a
resolution on the protection of human rights in countering terrorism.
Ending, the High Commissioner responded to the comments made. He particularly
emphasized that his proposals focused on greater transparency.
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimintation)
Mr. Ion Diaconu, Chairman of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,
marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Dr. Sorajak Kasemsuvan Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand stated his country’s
efforts for the promotion and the protection of human rights, showing great interest in the
drug generated problem. Furthermore, he affirmed that this problem especially affects their
children who form one third of the drug-addicts.
Mr. Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, the Special Rapporteur on the use of Mercenaries,
opened Agenda Item 5 introducing his report and stating that he undertook visits to El
Salvador and Panama.
A Representative of El Salvador, speaking as a concerned country, was worried and
inquired if the answers given by his country to the Special Rapporteur were included in the
A Representative of Panama, also speaking as a concerned country, affirmed that the
report would be analysed with proper attention in the capital.
A Representative of Cuba asked the Special Rapporteur if he had set a date for visiting the
United States because there are units of terrorist organizations responsible for the recruitment
of mercenaries ( especially americano-cuban groups).
A Representative of Canada noted in the report an effort to broaden the definition of the
term “mercenary”, effort fully supported by his country, and he even suggested to broaden the
Special Rapporteur’s mandate.
Mr. Ballesteros responded to these comments saying he received the communication from the
government of El Salvador even though it referred to only one out of several issues brought
up, he was setting up a date for his visit to the United States and he was trying to find a more
comprehensive definition of the term “mercenary”.
The Representative of El Salvador inquired whether there would be a rectification within the
report which was answered in the affirmative by the Special Rapporteur.
A Representative of Malaysia also wished a rectification in the report concerning paragraph
41, wrongly stating that his country was the object of terrorist aggressions.
A Representative of Pakistan suggested that the Special Rapporteur take into consideration
the case of occupying States and agents of those States who deliberately denied the right to
self-determination when broadening the definition of the term “mercenary”.
An Observer of Palestine noticed that it seemed that the Special Rapporteur mentioned Israel
as one of the places where terrorist attacks were committed and he wondered what about
places around Israel and what about the Israeli terrorist attacks against Palestine.
A Representative of Syria stated the importance of clarifying whether the Special
Rapporteur was referring to Israel as the perpetrator of terrorism or a victim of it.
Mr. Ballesteros apologized for omitting the situation of Palestine.
Shaukat Umer Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference spoke first under Agenda Item 5, stating the right to self-determination was an
inalienable right belonging to all peoples. He added that the Commission has a special
responsibility towards the occupied people of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir.
Furthermore, talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he reminded that “children have
probably suffered more from the present conflict”.
Mr. Saeed Mohamed Al-Faihani Bahrain, Mr. Abdulwahab Abdusalam Attar Saudi Arabia,
Mr. Zhang Meifang China also reminded the right of the Palestinian people to self-
determination and were hopeful that the international community would give effect to this
Mr. Shaukut Umer Pakistan also affirmed the importance of the right of people to self-
determination and reminded the sad story of Kashmir.
Mr. Faycal Khabbaz-Hamoui Syrian Arab Republic, Mr. Sipho George Nene South Africa,
on behalf of the African Group, Mr.Naéla Gabr Egypt, as the first State observer, Mr.
Nasser Salman Al Aboodi United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group
States, Mr. Nabil Ramlawi Palestine, Mr. Mahmoud Dhari Iraq and Mr. Ahmed Mohamed
Masoud Al-Riyami Oman all said the right to self-determination was one of the main
foundations of the UN Charter and condemned the Israeli behaviour.
Mr. Yaakov Levy Israel referred to the story of the right of the Jewish people to self-
determination and said he expected respect from his neighbour countries as Israel respects
Mr. Murad N. Najakov Azerbaijan affirmed that self-determination should not be interpreted
as permission or encouragement for activities that undermined in any way the sovereignty of a
State, or it would be downgraded to the concept of separatism.
Mr. Shehab A. Madi Jordan said it was truly an irony that every year the Commission
discussed the human rights of the Palestinian people whilst Palestine remained occupied and
Palestinians could not enjoy their rights.
A Representative of Israel, speaking in right of reply, asked Pakistan what about the
suffering of the children of Israel, their massacre and the cruel violence that is imposed
on them. He said this was the worst violence possible because it hits the future
The Representative of Palestine and the Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic then
accused the Israeli Representative of lying in his declarations.
The Representative of Israel then asked the Chairperson not to allow such personal attacks,
request that she respected.
The Representative of the Cuban delegation opened the session saying that the right of peoples
to self-determination is threatened by the imperialism of the United States of America. He notably
denounced the illegal intervention in Iraq, US support to the Israeli army in the occupied
Palestinian territories, and the embargo in Cuba.
The US delegation replied by comparing Fidel Castro’s rule to Saddam Hussein’s
The representative of the government of Viet-nam had also expressed his support to the
Palestinian population that does not enjoy its right to self-determination and to live in peace.
He invited the International Community to take concrete measures in order to find a rapid and
sustainable solution to the Middle East issue.
The representative of the delegation of India accused the Pakistani authorities to not
recognise the right to self-determination to its own population and to use terror as an
instrument of state policy.
The Pakistani delegation replied that the government of India ignored the Security Council
resolutions which recognised to right of Kashmiri people to self-determination.
The representative of the government of Algeria compared what is going on in Palestine to
the holocaust. He said that the respect of the right to self-determination and right to return
only could enable to put an end to this conflict. While the representative of the Algerian
government was speaking, the Israeli delegation interrupted him twice to urge him not to
compare the situation in Palestine and the holocaust and the US delegation intervened once to
say that his speech was not appropriate.
Many NGOs took the floor to denounced situations where the right to self-determination is
not yet achieved.
Special Rapporteur, Doudou Diene, began a presentation of his report concerning modern
racism. He said that globalization, instead of stimulating tolerance, is forcing the world
towards uniformity, where it is shameful to be different, resulting in increased cases of
discrimination. Diene asserted that governments must not simply strengthen political
strategies and institutional instruments, but must create an intellectual strategy whereby
ethical roots of racial discrimination can be studied. He urged States to take measures to
make society more pluralistic. It was mentioned that a study will be done on the relationship
between poverty and racism, and education and racism.
The Special Rapporteur from the Working Group on People of African Decent began by
saying that the majority of people of African decent are living in poverty, which seems to
make them more subject to racial discrimination. This argument was supported by the fact
that most prison inmates are of African decent. It was recommended to the States that racial
profiling be eliminated.
The Ambassador from Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference stated that since September 11, the world has been targeting Muslims as an ethnic
group and that anti-terrorist measures have focused on Islamic countries. As a result,
Muslims world-wide are being discriminated against and their faith perceived as being
intolerant of others.
The representative from Bahrain suggested that dialogue be promoted between groups based
on faith. He further said that his government is working with NGOs to instill in the minds of
their people that racial discrimination is not acceptable.
A representative from South Africa, speaking on behalf of the Africa Group, condemned
those developed countries that are boycotting meetings of the Anti-Discrimination Unit,
which focus on the strengthening of underdeveloped countries. It was also mentioned that it
was the responsibility of the States to implement instruments and mechanisms as outlined by
the Durban Conference.
The Ambassador of Greece, speaking on behalf of the EU, stated that neither stability nor
peace can be realized until intolerance disappears. He suggested that the Durban Program of
Action focus on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Education and training were highlighted as
important means of instilling respect for difference and diversity.
The Ambassador of Costa Rica spoke on behalf of GRULAC, reinforcing the importance of
actually implementing the Durban provisions through consensus on the program of action.
The Ambassador from Sweden focused on sexual discrimination with reference to sexual
orientation. He mentioned that legislation exists world-wide that incriminates people based
on sexual orientation. The CRC, among several other conventions, raises the issue of
human rights violations, which are based on sexual orientation. He called upon all
nations, as well as the United Nations as an institution, to create and enforce laws protecting
the rights of individuals despite their sexual orientation.
The representative from the Syrian Arab Republic said that racial discrimination is
heightened by the fact that so many States desire what belongs to others and often seek to
suppress natural liberties of their neighbors, such as the right to travel, work, and eat. He
explained that Islam, as a religion, is being deformed and misinterpreted as being an intolerant
and violent faith, which it is not.
The representative of the Russian Federation spoke of stateless, indigenous, and other
persons who tend to be victims of discrimination. She mentioned that former Russian soldiers
cannot attain Estonian citizenship and that Latvian citizenship is not available to anyone who
cannot pass a Latvian language examination.
The Ambassador from Kenya confessed his disappointment that it has taken the UN a full
year to formulate a program of implementation based on the Durban convention, and
mentioned the blatant disregard of Durban on the part of some members of the Commission
for not having participated.
The representative from Saudi Arabia voiced his country’s special concern for Item 6 and
explained that its national policy included equal treatment for all persons. Laws and
regulations apply to each individual without discrimination, and these political instruments
are constantly being monitored and altered to be more sensitive to the issue of discrimination.
The representative from Sri Lanka validated Mr. Dieme’s insistence upon intellectual
mechanisms of combating discrimination. He also mentioned that promoting pluralistic
society is essential to the war against discrimination.
The representative from Algeria reinforced the fact that Islam is being equated with
intolerance, violence, and backwardness. He was disappointed that the Durban declaration
has not made much progress since 2002 and that people of African decent are still invisible to
society, unable to excel to societal levels that others can achieve.
The representative of Indonesia spoke about Indonesia's aim to combat racial and religious
prejudice. He mentioned that Indonesia is eliminating existing laws that discriminate against
minorities. It was strongly suggested that States implement legislation outlined by Durban.
The representative from Cyprus asserted that her government rejects discrimination of any
kind and that it has developed laws to eradicate it where it exists. She said that governments
are obligated to educate their people about tolerance and ethnic diversity.
The Romanian representative stated that his government's political framework is based on
international conventions and laws. Romania has developed a Council for Combating
Discrimination, which is a key player in the sanctioning of perpetrators.
The representative of Benin expressed the importance of education and of disseminating
information on tolerance. He called upon the Commission to follow-up on acts of
discrimination, to ensure the punishment of perpetrators. He admitted that migrant
workers, women, and children are often the victims of discrimination and intolerance.
Liechtenstein's representative admitted that his delegation did not agree with all of the
Durban text, but that it is an important first step. He mentioned that his country has
developed a National Plan of Action as a result of the UN Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination to which it has prepared a country report. Since the submission of the first
report, Liechtenstein has established a training program for police officers, focused on
sensitivity to diversity and just treatment.
The first NGO speech was a joint statement by the Coordination Board of Jewish
Organization (B'nai-B'rith International, International Council of Jewish Women). This
group highlighted the problem of increased anti-Semitism around the world. It was requested
that the Special Rapporteur include more information on discrimination against Jews and
Christians as opposed to focusing on the Muslim community.
The World Jewish Congress and the International Association Jewish Lawyers and
Jurists prepared a joint statement, urging the Commission to condemn Egypt and other Arab
States for showing a television series entitled "Horseman Without a Horse," which the Jewish
community found highly offensive.
The African Society of International and Comparative Law (Interfaith International and
the World Federation of Democratic Youth) also prepared a joint statement confessing a
strong disapproval of the war against Iraq despite a lack of world support. It was mentioned
that there has been an increase in the amount of racial discrimination in the past two years and
that several governments have been committing human rights violations since September
A joint statement was presented by the Lutheran World Federation, the International
Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism, and Minority Rights Group
International. The existence of gender discrimination and mistreatment of women was
mentioned along with discrimination based on caste or decent. The Commission was called
upon to protect the violent acts of discrimination based on gender and social status and to
promote equal treatment of all human beings.
The speaker for the International Young Catholic Students, New Humanity, and OIDEL
called for a moment of silence for those suffering in Iraq. He said that racist attitudes are the
result of the inability to recognize that another person merits the same rights as one would
accord to one's self. It was also emphasized that civil and political rights cannot be
considered, or are not sufficient, without social, economic, and cultural rights.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism speaker condemned those who use religious
beliefs for personal gain or as justification for acts of violence. This behavior discolors and
defames many religions that are not inherently intolerant.
The Association for World Education criticized the Special Rapporteur for not having
mentioned more on anti-Semitism.
The speaker for the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre welcomes the
extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and applauded the work of the UN Anti-
Discrimination Unit. It did mention, however, that more States must submit reports on
discrimination to the Commission in order for the Durban declaration to move forward. It
was requested that the Commission take note of the issue of discrimination based on decent,
and all States were called upon to implement anti gender discrimination laws.
The International Institute for Peace focused on Pakistan and the discriminatory acts
against the Sindhi population. It was mentioned that the Pakistani military enjoys uninhibited
freedom, exempt from examination or control.
The Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Homme raised the issue of the discrimination
against and expulsion of minorities from France despite familial links to France and French
The Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Among Peoples said that racism is a
threat to all humanity and is a tool used by superior persons to suppress those who they
perceive as being inferior.
The World Federation of UN Association said that the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and the Convention on Gender discrimination has been ratified by many countries
while Durban seems to be lacking support.
The Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru raised the issue of colonialism, asserting that this is
responsible for the rise in discrimination, especially in the case of indigenous people. The
great powers were called upon to repair the damage they have done.
The International Human Rights Law Group was concerned about African descendants in
Latin America, stating that thousands of indigenous people, mainly of African descent were
living in extreme poverty and destitution. The speaker gave examples of assassinations, arms
trading, and other violent acts that are occurring in Nicaragua and Colombia. He called upon
the Commission to appoint an expert to examine this particular issue.
International Possibilities Unlimited raised the issue of people of color becoming more
associated with the criminal system and inferior education. It was mentioned that police are
not being held accountable for racist actions taken against people of color.
The International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination criticized the US and UK leaders for intervening in Iraq as opposed to Israel,
which was said to possess many weapons of mass destruction and which commits acts of
violence against human beings. The UN was called upon to stop the war.
Pax Romana emphasized the importance of identity and encouraging cultural pluralism. The
speaker asked the Special Rapporteur to give attention to the matter of self-determination .
The December 12th Movement International Secretariat mentioned the racist use of the
death penalty in the US and expressed its disappointment in the fact that the US did not
participate in the World Conference in Durban.
The International Association Against Torture said that racism would never cease to exist
until perpetrators are made accountable for their actions. The speaker said that the NGO was
not appalled by the boycotting by many States of the meeting of the Working Group on
The General Arab Women Federation spoke on behalf of Iraqi women, expressing their
right to self-determination and their resentment of the fact that their country is being used for
its natural resources. Most of the civilians being killed are women and children.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre mentioned the heightened amount of anti-Semitism in the
past couple years. The speaker was disappointed that the report on contemporary racism,
written by the Special Rapporteur, only included one paragraph on anti-Semitism as opposed
to the 17 on Islamophobia, and he insisted on a more balanced report.
Le Comite International pour le Respect et l’Application de la Charte Africaine des
Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples spoke of an increase amount of subtle forms of
discrimination, especially with regards to Africa. The issue of HIV/AIDS was raised and the
fact that it is decimating entire populations in Africa since they do not have ample access to
medication or services.
The Asian Legal Resource Center focused on Indonesia, with special regard to the Jakarta
massacres in May of 1998 when organized sexual violence against women occurred.
According to the speaker, these criminal acts were not brought to trial. The Commission was
called upon to insist that Indonesia accept the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on
violence against women.
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies examined the word “apartheid,” which is
most commonly used in relation to African slaves. The speaker said that it could also be used
to describe the situation of Palestinians, who do not enjoy the right to fresh water, safe travel,
work, and other basic human rights under Israeli control.
Migrant’s Rights International explained that migrants live in constant fear of
imprisonment and arrest, and are being perpetually marginalized. The speaker said the NGO
is, and will continue, to follow the progress of implementation of the Durban declaration and
Program of Action.
The representative from Cuba discussed the revival and strengthening of new and more
sophisticated forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia in different parts of the
world, in particular in developed countries such as The United States.
Canada affirmed its commitment to the elimination of racism and discrimination, indicating
that it was prepared to work in partnership with other countries. Among its anti-racism
campaigns, a National Video Competition was utilised in order to mobilise youth to take
a stand against racism.
Mexico declared racism and discrimination to be grave violations of human rights, and
indicated that education on this subject needed to be strengthened. It was noted that
international progress couldn’t take place if work at a national level is not first carried out.
The representative from Brazil stated that Brazil has made significant progress as a result of
the Durban conference, including restructuring the teaching of Brazilian history in
schools, so that some stereotypes are removed from the education of children and youth.
India described racism as the antithesis of all that humanity stands for – equality, justice,
peace and progress. Education was shown to be crucial in instilling the right values in the
minds of children and youth, which are vulnerable to racist influences.
The representative from the Republic of Korea stated that racism and discrimination lie at
the root of many conflicts, and that provisions needed to be made to further educate all people
on these issues.
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya affirmed that racism and discrimination needed to be totally
eliminated, as well providing compensation for those affected.
The representative from Norway welcomed the implementation of and the follow-up to the
Egypt indicated support for the statement of the African Group, and stressed the importance
of the follow-up mechanisms to Durban. The racist campaigns against Muslims and Arabs
were described as a worrying trend that needed to be addressed.
The representative from Switzerland emphasized the importance of implementing the Durban
programme, and stated its intent to gradually raise awareness of issues such as discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation.
The representative from Iraq declared that racism compromises human dignity, and that all
forms should be rejected.
Lithuania supported the EU statement, and indicated the need for further international
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies described its
work to combat racism, affecting not only vulnerable persons, but also society as a whole.
Slovakia also supported the EU statement, and stated that the Slovakian Government had
adopted plans of action against racism and discrimination.
The Islamic Republic of Iran outlined false racial superiority theories, and declared its
support for the equality of all peoples.
Kuwait stated that education about racism was included in the Kuwaiti school curriculum at
all levels, in order to promote peace and mutual understanding.
The representative from Holy See described humankind as one family, and stressed that there
was a deep-seated fear in the international community, preventing racism from being
addressed. It was emphasized that racism must not be passed on to future generations,
thus school textbooks must not contain any incitement to racism.
The World Health Organisation indicated that discrimination causes and magnifies poverty
and ill health, and needed to be recognised as a significant factor affecting mental health.
The representative from Qatar stated that all human beings had the same origin, and that
discrimination on the basis of race, sex and religion was unacceptable. NGOs were described
as playing an important role in the field of human rights.
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea stated that race was a false scientific concept,
and described the crimes against humanity committed by Japan in Korea.
The International Labour Office declared that 158 countries had ratified Convention 111,
the ILO's main tool against racism and discrimination. Evaluation was described as essential,
in order to monitor progress.
Yemen stressed the need to fight against all forms of discrimination. The legal provisions
being made in order to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child were
outlined, safeguarding the rights of children and young people.
The representative of United States says US are open to people from all religions and origins.
Syria affirms that Arabs are not anti-Semitic, cause they also are Semites.
THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Arjun K Sengupta, independent expert on the Right to Development, sums up his fifth
report (E/CN.4/2002/WG.18/6). Starting from the definition of the Right to development as
as the particular process of development in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms
can be fully realized, Dr. Sengupta makes a technical speech on its possible evolution.
Greece, on behalf of the European Union, asks if Human Rights have to be reaffirmed in
the international financial institutions, and if the expert will work on some specific country
Cuba asks if the international financial policy helps the development of countries, especially
southern countries, and how the dichotomy could be resolved.
Dr. Sengupta says that Human Rights are already present in the WB and the IMF, but notions
like equity have to be further developed. He also reaffirms that States are not the only duty-
holders for the Rights to development, international cooperation must help states.
The rapporteur of the Working Group on the Right to development presents the work of the
Cuba: the Right to development can’t be realized till 800 billion dollars are spend every
year for military. The cost of one nuclear bomb equals the education budget of 23
developing countries with a children population larger that 160 million.
Syrian Arab Republic: Israeli occupants in Syria and Americans in Iraq, hinder the
Human Rights development.
China : the Right to development depends on the joint effort of States and the
international community, however States have the primary responsibility in realizing it.
The international community should let to the States the choice of the best way to realize
the Right to development.
Kenya: economic, social and cultural rights are as important as civil and political rights,
but the Commission has till now focused on the latter.
The representative of Algeria began the afternoon, saying expressed his county's desire to
promote the right to development and to empower the principle of self-determination. He was
disappointed that some member countries have boycotted meetings of the working group on
the right to development.
India's representative explained that the right to development was an inalienable right that
can only be realized by understanding the importance of co-operation among developed and
developing nations. He recommended to the Commission that the working group's mandate
be extending another two years.
The delegate from Sudan focused on the need to preserve the environment, which will
ultimately preserve human life, while increasing and improving development. He called upon
the oil industry to develop methods that are environmentally sound.
The representative from Saudi Arabia was concerned with the world's current mono-lateral
development strategy, which has contributed to the further marginalizing of developing
countries. He said that before a poor country can develop, the appropriate environment must
be present and fundamental rights, such as the right to food, water, and shelter must already
Pakistan's representative was disappointed that the Commission has failed to implement the
provisions of the Vienna declaration since there are so many countries that disagree with a
nation's basic right to develop. It was emphasized that the right to development does not
suggest that civil and political rights are less important since all of these rights are
fundamental and equally important.
The representative of South Africa mentioned that his country has introduced land reform
for both private and public development, established public health programs, and built schools
to help meet education goals. He was concerned that some developed countries are
undermining the work of the working group and are not helping poor countries to meet their
The Ambassador of Argentina stated that the world trade system must take into account the
situation of developing countries and that there is a link between this system and the
enjoyment of human rights. Agricultural trade, which is of utmost importance to most
developing countries, must be protected to increase foreign currency trading, employment,
and quantity of food.
The representative of Thailand voiced his disappointment that the working group session
was not able to come to a conclusion on implementation and that meanwhile, 133 million
children are not in school and 11 million children die before reaching the age of 5,
usually due to illness and lack of health care. He said that a world without the right to
develop is a world without peace, progress, and security. Co-operation among rich and poor
countries is essential.
The representative from the Republic of Korea stated that development must be seen as an
economic, political, and social process and that international monetary aid is vital to its
realization. Since the Korean War, he said that his country has made a great deal of progress
thanks to the help of the international community. He called upon this same community to
help others in the development process.
The representative from Venezuela emphasized the need for a structure of legal standards
for the right of development and that the international community should be held responsible
for promoting, maintaining, and ensuring this standard.
Uganda's representative mentioned that the UN, the EU, and other international
organizations are obligated to protect and encourage the exercise of the right to develop. He
encouraged wealthy nations to open their markets to poor countries.
The representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya said that the right to development was
not separate from other fundamental human rights and that peace is required for sustainable
development. He mentioned the creation of social protection services, especially to
protect children, women, and the elderly.
The Ambassador of Bahrain expressed the importance of including the teaching of human
rights principles in all schools. He talked about the need to strengthen social
development, such as promoting the rights of children and women, and protecting the
The Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo asserted that the Commission
should focus on the right to development as opposed to condemning developing countries for
past civil and political difficulties. He raised the issue of the inequity of international trade
and how it is harming developing countries.
The representative of Egypt called for trade liberalization and an increase in support for
African countries, in terms of development.
The delegate of Iraq said that the right to develop is an inalienable right that is the base of
other fundamental rights. He called upon all nations to abandon sanctions and embargos
against developing countries. He mentioned that two million Iraqis have died as a result
of embargos, most of them children.
The delegate from Bangladesh expressed disappointment that the right to development was
first introduced 16 years ago and that little progress has been made to implement this right on
account of a lack of political will. He suggested to the Commission that it develop a legally
binding institution for the protection of the right to develop.
The delegate from Yemen encouraged developing countries to make foreign investments and
to invite them to do the same.
The delegate from the Islamic Republic of Iran said that the international community was
obligated to facilitate the realization of the right to develop. He explained that multi-lateral
trading and embargos are causing more poverty in developing countries.
The representative from Oman described his country's efforts to work with the
international community for the realization of the right to develop.
The delegate from Kuwait was proud to say that his country was regarded as being
accomplished in the domain of human development due to its focus on women's rights to
work, leisure, etc., and due to its other various social programs. It was mentioned that 3-4%
of Kuwait's GDP goes to foreign aid.
The Tunisian Ambassador talked about the growing gap between wealthy and poor
countries. He mentioned a World Charter for Peace and Development which could provide a
world solidarity fund for developing countries.
The representative of Ghana proposed that the Commission develop benchmarks to evaluate
and monitor the progress of the right to development.
The delegate from the UN Development Programme underlined the fact that the human
being is at the center of the question of development. He called upon nations to ensure the
equal distribution of power within their governments and to make their leaders accountable
The representative of Qatar asserted that poverty is one of the main obstacles to human
rights protection and that policies to eradicate poverty and hunger must be implemented.
The representative of Ethiopia called for the elimination of unfair trade policies. The issue
of natural disasters, namely famine, was brought up and the need for developed countries to
aid those who are debilitated by these disasters.
The first NGO speech was a joint statement by the Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru
(Movimiento Cubano por la Paz, Union of Arab Jurists). The speaker said that human
beings need to be at the center of the move towards sustainable development. He spoke of the
need to protect indigenous people since their land is often confiscated and they do not enjoy
basic human rights. It was explained that pharmaceutical companies have, on many
occasions, patented herbal remedies that indigenous people should be credited for.
The International Federation of University Women emphasized the need for gender
equality to be a goal of development since women are often not recognized as contributing to
the economy if they work at home. It was mentioned that 70% of the poor are women. The
speaker called upon the Commission to give special attention to violence against women.
A total of 14 NGO’s took the floor to speak about an issue concerning the right to
development. The International Institute for Peace, the World Peace Council, and the
Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation all spoke about ensuring this right to the people
of Kashmir. The Center for European Studies spoke against economic sanctions and other
harsh trade conditions, as did the Centre Europe - Tiers Monde, the American Association of
Jurists, the Movement Against Racism, and the World Muslim Congress. The International
Indian Treaty Council asked those present to keep in mind the difficult conditions of Native
Americans. The General Arab Women Federation discussed the human rights consequences
of the war in Iraq. The December 12th International Secretariat asked that reparations be given
to African Americans, and the Minority Rights Group International asked that minorities be
given a voice in dialogues about development. The Special Rapporteur on the Right to
Development closed the discussion by proposing the implementation of a follow-up
mechanism for this issue
SPECIAL SESSION ON IRAQ
The President opens the discussion on the proposition of 9 states (among which Syria) to
make an extraordinary session on the war in Iraq.
On behalf of the African States, the South-African Ambassador declares they are open to a
special session on Iraqi question.
The German representative asks to report the deliberation on the special session for 24
hours, since the Security Council is at the time discussing on Iraq and it is important to wait
for its conclusions.
Poland reminds that article 12 has to be respected.
Malaysia call for a legal opinion on the matter.
Algeria says it’s is not question of article 12 or of legal opinion, the deliberation can be
reported for 24 hours, but not because of the Security Council discussing on the same issue.
The Human Rights Commission has the task to discuss about Human Rights, and it can do it
independently from the Security Council. The only valid reason to report the deliberation is
that delegations need more time to discuss together.
The Syrian Arab Republic put a revised proposal for a special session concerning Iraq to
the Commission: to undertake a “special sitting of the 59th Session of the Commission on
Human Rights on the human rights and human situation in Iraq as consequences of the war.”
It was noted the following members sponsored this motion: Syrian Arab Republic, Algeria,
Burkina Faso, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Sudan and
The representative of Germany, speaking as the co-ordinator of the Western Group,
requested that a decision be made by recorded vote. Despite opposition from Algeria, this
course of action was taken.
Cuba reiterated its view regarding the illegality of the war in Iraq, and with Libya, suggested
that the credibility of the Commission depended on it taking action. The representative of
Saudi Arabia emphasized that the people of Iraq should not have to pay the price for their
government. Malaysia and Syria called for immediate consultation among member
The representative of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the EU member states, as well as
member states acceding to the EU, indicated that the human rights situation in Iraq could be
discussed under item 9. The proposal currently being suggested was described as not
focusing on the mandate of this Commission, and was the responsibility of the Security
Council. This view was supported by Japan, Australia, Canada, Thailand, Paraguay and
Costa Rica. Further points were made by these same states concerning the previous human
rights violations in Iraq and the danger of politicising the Commission in discussing this
Countries who voiced support for the proposal included Bahrain, Brazil, Viet Nam,
Venezuela, China and Kenya. It was stressed that the special sitting would focus solely on
human rights, and not on political issues. The situation in Iraq was described as a grave
humanitarian crisis, and the Commission was called upon to protect the human rights of the
The intention to abstain was declared by Sri Lanka, India and Chile, on the basis that the
Commission could address the human rights situation in Iraq, but it must remain within its
mandate and address thematic issues, rather than political matters.
Roll Call Vote
For - 18
Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Cuba, Kenya, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia,
Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela,
Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.
Against - 25
Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia,
France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Republic of
Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.
Abstention - 7
Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, India, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Togo.
Absent – 3
Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Ukraine.
The representative of Mexico stated that the proposal was outside the mandate of the
Commission. South Africa objected, declaring that the failure to discuss Iraq denied the
Commission the opportunity to have a positive effect on its human rights situation. The
United States stressed their regret at the humanitarian problems in Iraq and their continued
commitment to rebuilding the country in freedom.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, indicated that the
debate revealed divisions in the Commission, but also revealed a profound common concern
for the Iraqi people. He emphasized that the human rights crisis in Iraq did not begin one
week ago, but had been going on for many years. He further stated that the utmost caution
should be exercised in carrying out military operations, in order to protect the right to life of
Mr. Pierre-Henri Imbert, Director-General of Human Rights of the Council of Europe,
spoke to the Commission about Terrorism, armed conflict, the abolition of the death penalty,
torture, racism and intolerance and the treatment of minorities. He stated that consideration
was currently being given to a European Convention against Trafficking in Human
The representative of Iraq, in exercising the right of reply, stressed that the Commission had
refused to discuss an important issue. He called upon the Commission to consider the fate
of the Iraqi children in this conflict. The point was made that Iraq should have the right to
have its situation discussed in the forum of the Commission.
Question on Human Rights in Occupied Territories Including Palestine
The Question on Human Rights in Occupied Territories Including Palestine. In his speech,
Mr. John Dugat, the Special Rapporteur, noted that the safety of both Israeli and
Palestinian children is threatened on a daily basis, and that Palestinian children in
particular have experienced a breakdown of family life. He noted that thousands of
children have been wounded and that several hundred have died as a result of the
violence. He also made note of the striking fact that 1,500 Palestinian children have been
detained since September of 2000, but that there has been no investigation by the Israeli
The Israeli Ambassador responded by arguing that Israel’s actions have all been a
response to Palestinian violence, and wanted everyone to be aware that Israeli children
have died, too. He claimed that the Palestinian authorities have coerced children into
being suicide bombers and enemy combatants, and that they are often used as human
The Palestinian Ambassador retorted by saying that one third of Palestinians killed in
the past few years have been children.
The Syrian Ambassador added that in Golan children are forced to learn in Hebrew and
are forbidden to use their maternal language, and that often children are given
textbooks that distort the history of the Palestinians.
The meeting ended with speakers on Item 8, but because of the lack of time, only two
Ambassadors were able to speak. The Ambassador of Pakistan, who was speaking on behalf
of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, demanded that state terrorism be stopped, and
the Ambassador of Bahrain asked that Israeli forces withdraw from the territories
The Ambassador of Greece took the floor first, on behalf of the European Union, reminding
that human rights are universal and that both parties to the conflict should respect their
international obligations. Furthermore, he stated that the children of both parties
constitute a particularly important issue. In fact, Israel is party to the Children Rights
Convention and Palestinian authorities said they would apply it. There should be an
end to this violence and counter violence.
The Ambassador of Canada spoke next, stating that the international community should work
to advance all efforts in view of encouraging the negotiation of a comprehensive, just and
The Ambassador of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the African Group, affirmed that
the international community should enforce the establishment of a peaceful solution to
this conflict, which has terrible consequences on women and children. Palestine should
make use of its right of sovereignty and become a country with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Ambassador of Malaysia reminded that since September 2000, nearly 2200 Palestinian
have been killed, including 384 children and that in February 2003 alone, out of 68
victims, 10 were children. He urged the international community to find a final solution to
end, once and for all, this grave injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people.
The Ambassador of Israel, using his right of reply, stated that the Security fence built by his
country was set up to defend Israel against the onslaught of terrorism and the attempt by
Palestinian terrorist groups to infiltrate suicide-bombers into the country.
The Representative of Palestine, also using his right of reply, reminded the appeal he made
the day before to the whole world for putting an end to the Nazism and the Zionism of Israel,
and stated that Israel has been stealing land, day after day.
The Ambassador of Israel used his right of reply for a second time to stress that the
Representative of Palestine again compared the situation of the Palestinian occupied
territories to Nazism, before being interrupted by many points of order emanating from
Algeria, Cuba, Ireland and twice from Germany.
He then terminated his right of reply.
The Representative of Palestine, using his right of reply, ended the session, stating that
Jewish blood just as Palestinian blood is red, and that what happened in Germany during
World War II is happening again in Palestine.
The representative of the Algerian delegation underlined that since the last Commission on
Human Rights, Israel pursued its colonisation of the Palestinian territories and its aggression
against Palestinian people in a quasi total impunity. He drew the attention on the EU
responsibility, which gives funds to Israel. He added that the Israeli State deny all the
international resolutions, including those of the Security Council.
The representative of the Indian delegation said that the situation in Palestine seriously
affected the realisation of all the rights of Palestinian people. He stressed on the universality
of the international humanitarian law and asked both parties to undertake a new round of
The representative of the Russian delegation asked for a political regulation of the conflict in
accordance with the Security Council resolutions. He said that he was supporting the right of
Palestinian to self-determination and asked the Palestinian authorities to promote democratic
mechanisms in order to implement propitious conditions for the establishment of an
independent State. Besides, he condemned terrorists acts from both sides.
The representative of the Libyan delegation underlined that the material support given to
Israel by certain members of the Security Council encouraged Israel to continue its politics of
colonisation of the Palestinian territories.
The representative of the delegation of Saudi Arabia underlined that the first responsibility
felt to Israel which denies international standards and peace agreements with Palestine. He
added that Israel must understand that as long as it does not respect international norms, Israel
will not live in peace. Besides, he specified that the intifada was not a terrorist movement
but a resistance movement.
The representative of the Cuban delegation condemned the veto power systematically used
by the United States to block the Security Council resolutions concerning Israel. Thus, the
United States grant impunity to Israel.
The representative of the delegation of Norway welcomed the appointment of the Prime
Minister of Palestine who is likely to strength the democratic process in Palestine and the
statement of the president Bush who is committed to set up a peace process.
Many delegations asked the international community to act urgently in order to obtain from
the Israeli State to comply with its international obligations.
The representative of the delegation of Israel said that the measures taken by the Israeli State
in Palestine was self defence measures aiming to prevent terrorist acts.
The World Jewish Congress in its oral statement, qualified the report of the Special
Rapporteur as “partial and unilateral”, and asked to put an end to his mandate.
The representative of Amnesty International said that the situation in the Israeli occupied
territories is worsening, with an estimated 350 Palestinian children killed. Children are
being denied the right to education due to curfews and house arrest. Most Palestinian
children are living below the poverty line and are severely at risk.
The International Commission of Jurists suggested that while Israel does have the right to
protect itself, it is going too far, closing off occupied territories and destroying Palestinian
infrastructure. Israel and Palestine are both obligated to call human rights violators on their
crimes and punish them.
The Arab Organization for Human Rights said that the occupation of surrounding
territories by Israel is worsening since it continues to assassinate leaders, sabotage property,
and commit crimes against humanity. It was stated that Israel refuses to confirm that the
Geneva Convention applies to its occupied territories.
Human Rights Watch explained that civilians continue to pay the price of ongoing warfare
in the Middle East and elsewhere. The speaker said that 300 Palestinian children have
died and 60 Israeli children as innocent bystanders in the occupied territories. The
damage to electrical, water, and food supplies is having a detrimental effect on civilians.
The International Save the Children Alliance focused on the increase in violence
towards children and the fact that the children living in Palestine are losing their
childhood. Their sense of security, belief, which are crucial to child development, are
absent. There is a lack of access to food, to education, to free movement, and health
services. The violence and frequently imposed curfews are not only preventing children
from going to school, but are disrupting their attention spans. Disabled children are
suffering due to the closure of help centers and the disintegration of any progress that
had been previously made on their account. Since Israel has signed the CRC, it should
be obligated to protect the rights of children in the occupied territories.
The World Federation of Trade Unions focused on the violent human rights violations
committed by the Israeli air force and military. It was asserted that Israel has adopted a state
policy of terrorism whereby it is exterminating the Palestinian population. Furthermore, said
the speaker, Israel has not taken heed of the UN Security Council’s resolution, which called
on Israel to remove its troops from the occupied territories.
The Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos
mentioned that the Palestinian leadership has demonstrated its desire for peace through its
signing of the Oslo Agreement and also by its presence at most major international
conferences. Meanwhile, it was explained, Israel refuses to participate or to change its policy
and continues its occupation without taking heed of the international treaties it has signed.
The International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples said that there is no
end to the deterioration of the Palestinian situation. Despite the 73 resolutions that have been
signed since 1951, according to the speaker, all of these have been ignored by Israel. Israel
occupies all Palestinian cities, enforces curfews and house arrests, and builds blockades.
Children are being brought up in an environment of hatred, which is having a strong
psychological affect on them.
The International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination emphasized that the human rights violations occurring today are beyond the
imagination and that the world is in fear. It was asked why the US and the UK have not
questioned Israel about its human rights violations, killing of children, and illegal
occupation of land, while they base their invasion of Iraq on the same principles.
The United Nations Watch brought up the fact that Item 8, itself, not being a subset of Item
9, demonstrates that the Commission has gone astray from its task. It was asked why
HIV/AIDS is not its own agenda item although millions of people in African have died from
the disease. Likewise it was mentioned that 118 million children do not go to school, but
education does not have its own item number. The Commission was called upon to deal
with item 8 appropriately, and not as a political topic, under item 9.
QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL
FREEDOMS IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD
The President’s Commission opened temporary Agenda Item 9 in order to allow the Special
Rapporteurs on the situation of Human Rights to present their reports on Sudan, Bosnia-
Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well as Afghanistan.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Sudan expressed twelve
proposals to reduce the abductions in the country, especially the ones of women and
The Ambassador of Sudan used his right of answer as a concerned Country to state his
country’s firm commitment to the respect, promotion and protection of human rights and
fundamental freedoms. He also affirmed that since February 2002 there have been no
new cases of abduction of women and children.
The Special Representative on the situation of Human Rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia expressed his concern for the assassination of the Serb
Prime Minister and for the proclamation, on March 3rd, of a situation of emergency, likely to
remain until the end of April.
The Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, using his right of answer as a concerned State,
affirmed that his country has made a lot of progress to conform to international law and is
actively cooperating with international and regional organizations.
The Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro, also using his right of answer as a concerned
State, pointed out that his country achieved important progress in the field of protection and
promotion of human rights, but that despite this progress, it still is facing numerous
challenges and difficulties.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan stated that reports
of cases involving human rights violations and concerns can be summarised under four heads:
discrimination against specific ethnic groups, human rights of women, cases of violence as a
result of conflict and extrajudicial execution and finally the treatment of prisoners.
The Ambassador of Afghanistan was absent and therefore did not use his right of answer as a
The Special Rapporteur on Burundi, Ms. Marie-Therese Keita-Bocoum, mentioned an
increase of violence and crime, deaths amongst women and children, and violations of
the Criminal Code, especially by police and public officials. The media, it was said, was not
a reliable source of information due to censorship, intimidation, and the withholding of
information. There are 370, 000 internally displaced persons in Burundi and the economic
crisis is resulting in a lack of food, water, schools, and hospitals. The recruitment of child
soldiers is still a large problem due to ongoing civil warfare. The situation of women
and children in prisons is “disturbing.”
The Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, talked about the problem
of establishing political solidarity while still holding thousands of political prisoners. The
level of poverty is affecting all social strata, including the military.
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo indicated that in many cases, human rights defenders are deemed to be political
activists and treated as such. The serious issues covered included pillaging, rape, murder,
cannibalism and an increasing demobilisation of child soldiers. She stated that the
international community needed to act to put an end to impunity, and that the perpetrators of
massacres needed to be sentenced accordingly. Sexual violence against women and
children, slavery and forced marriage were described as alarming frequent in the
Eastern part of the country.
The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo replied in stating that the visits
of the SR were irregular, and that the root cause of the human rights violations was the
presence of foreign troops from Rwanda and Uganda. He stressed that the government was
trying to reform the family code.
In open discussion, Rwanda, Greece (on behalf of the EU), USA and Canada made
H.E. Mr. Jean-Martin Mbemba, Minister of Justice and Human Rights of the Republic of
Congo described racism, poverty and HIV/AIDS as serious challenges to human rights. He
appealed to the international community to help the Republic of Congo to establish rule of
law and to join democratic states.
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iraq stated that the international
community owed it to the people of Iraq to help them. He suggested increasing the UN
presence in order to make a significant difference in the human rights situation.
In response, the representative of Iraq highlighted the cooperation of the Iraqi government
with the SR. He stressed that the human rights violations occurring in the current conflict
should be further investigated. The SR replied that cooperation of the government was slow,
but sufficient, and added that Iraq had made significant progress.
Syria, Cuba, and Canada commented in the ensuing open discussion.
The Personal Representative of the High Commissioner on human rights for the situation
in Cuba emphasized the need for constructive dialogue in relation to resolution 2002/8. The
Cuban government refused both the resolution and access to the country, stating the 2002/8
was unjust. Peru and USA commented.
The representative from Pakistan, on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference, stated that the gross and systematic abuse of Islamic peoples was deliberately
disregarded, and expressed concern regarding the situations in Israel and Iraq.
South Africa, speaking on behalf of the African Group, indicated that the Commission
should not be divided into two groups – those who uphold human rights and those who violate
them. He stressed that dialogue rather than condemnation should be promoted.
The representative of the Republic of Korea pointed out that many conventions have been
ratified, but human rights violations were still occurring. Human rights were described as
commonly disregarded in order to support oppressive regimes.
The representative of Argentina expressed regret regarding the continued division of Cyprus,
and indicated that this issue should remain on the agenda of the Commission.
Representing the EU, Greece stated that human rights violations needed to be faced, and that
honest introspection was needed in order to improve human rights on a national level. He
focused on 3 main issues: democracy and rule of law, the abolition of the death penalty and
torture. The point was made that imposing the death penalty on persons under 18 was
prohibited under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and he called on states that
retained the death penalty to refrain from its imposition on juvenile offenders.
The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic discussed the double standards of the
Commission and stressed that human rights violations are ever increasing, while states turn a
Right of Reply
Cuba stated that the USA was the true author of resolution 2002/8, and that US agents in
Cuba were supporting its genocidal policy of blockades.
Israel indicated that the recurring discussion of its situation was being used to avoid
discussing issues, which were inconvenient for other states.
Iraq drew attention to the lack of EU acknowledgement regarding sanctions and aggression
and other human rights violations, including the killing of children.
On behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Pakistan pointed out that the EU
had taken it upon itself to promote human rights everywhere in the world, apart from Europe
itself. The issues of child pornography and the exploitation of women were raised.
India stated that Pakistan, as the epicentre of terrorism and a severe violator of human rights,
was being hypocritical in criticising other countries, including India.
The representative of the Palestinian Authority indicated that Israel was killing the
children of Palestine, and that the continued aggression was a crime against humanity.
It was stated that resistance would only end when aggression ended.
The afternoon session began with a report from Anne-Marie Lizin, Independent Expert on
human rights and extreme poverty. She said that she plans to tie her work together with the
outcome of the World Conference against Racism and the World Summit on Sustainable
Development and to contribute to the midterm evaluation of the first United Nations Decade
for the Eradication of Poverty. Ms. Lizin expressed the deep need for implementation of
protection laws, which will only then benefit the populations of the poorest countries. The
importance of reorganizing civil registration services in countries that have neglected or
abandoned them was emphasized since it is the recognition of citizenship that lies at the base
of the exercise and enjoyment of many rights.
The Ambassador from Canada made a laundry list of countries in which progress is being
made in terms of human rights and also where there is much room for improvement. Among
others, he sighted Iraq, condemning its government for having inflicted torture, abuse, and
other human rights violations on its own people. Children in northern Uganda are at the
risk of being used as soldiers, which was of utmost importance to the speaker.
The Ambassador of Burkina Faso focused on discrimination and hate violence, which is
prevalent in today’s society.
The Ambassador of Australia also made of list of countries where the Commission’s efforts
should be focused, such as Zimbabwe where children are being beaten and women
raped under the Mugabi regime. In China, the speaker was concerned that people are being
arrested for exercising their right to free speech.
The Ambassador of India emphasized that selecting the correct approach to a problem is just
as crucial as solving it. He asked the Commission whether its current structure is doing more
harm than good and that the body, itself, must evolve with the changing times in order to
fulfill its deed.
The representative from Algeria mentioned that he sees the Western world splitting the globe
into two parts: the “democratic and free world” and the “neo-barbaric periphery.” He called
upon all nations to accept authentic values, which embrace differences rather than label each
other based on regime choice and level of progress.
The head of the US delegation said that we must focus on the egregious acts committed by
some current governments on their own people. She further stated that governments who
cannot respect their own people could not be expected to respect their neighbors.
The Ambassador of China asserted that Western governments are still blaming poor countries
for their shortcomings and that most of these underdeveloped countries are in their current
situation due to having previously been colonies. He said that the Chinese government knows
what is best for its people and will not change its policies to coincide with the west.
The Ambassador from Poland asked all nations not to view the Commission’s work as
intrusive, but to participate in the discussions of human rights violations with the common
goal at heart.
The Ambassador of Costa Rica said that the policy of all member states must be
transparency, credibility, and impartiality. She encouraged the Commission to remain
vigilant despite the many obstacles that arise.
The Ambassador of Cuba said that several of the member states are lacking credibility and
ethical standards, and that these same nations, which appear to be human rights advocates are,
in fact, committing rights violations themselves.
The Ambassador of Malaysia mentioned that the Western world has politicized Item 9 and is
using it as a political tool. The speaker called on the developed nations to sympathize with
those that are still developing by taking into account the everyday challenges of feeding,
clothing, and education their people, which the wealthy nations have already achieved. The
Ambassador said that it was a shame that the Commission had voted down the opportunity to
have a special sitting on the war in Iraq.
The Ambassador of Japan said that human rights lie first and foremost in the individual, and
he warned that we are losing sight of the individual’s face. There have been too many victims
and we are failing to see each victim as an individual.
The representative from New Zealand asserted that the protection of human rights is a
collective responsibility of the international community and that the Commission’s purpose is
to work together as a UN body to preserve these rights under international law.
The representative of Egypt focused upon Iraq and the embargo that has been imposed on it
for many years. The embargo is harming the Iraqi citizens more than its government,
taking away the dignity of the women and children who live there and tarnishing the
future of the nation.
The Ambassador of Georgia focused on his own country and the plight of ethnic Georgians
who are often victims of human rights violations. He mentioned that ethnic children must
be allowed to learn their native language in schools, which is currently not the case. He
called upon the Commission to improve the efficiency of its field office in Georgia since the
progress there is moving too slowly.
The representative of the Swiss Federation was concerned with the Iraqi people and made a
pledge to help its citizens. He said that the Commission’s common goal of protecting human
rights should guide it on its path to helping the Iraqi citizens.
The representative of Pakistan described the massacres of Muslims, including women and
children, by Hindu fundamentalists. He likened this to the fascist movement in Europe in
the 1940s, and indicated religious minorities were being slaughtered in the name of
The representative of Yemen rejected the military action in Iraq, describing war as a violation
of human rights. The need for a UN settlement was stressed.
Cyprus, referring to agenda item 9a, stated that the human rights violations in Cyprus were a
result of Turkish military occupation, and called on the Commission to aid in the restoration
of full human rights.
The representative of Indonesia referred to the report of the High Commissioner on the Ad
Hoc Court, indicating that it was overly judgemental.
The resolution referring to the situation of Lebanese detainees in Israel was brought up by the
representative of Lebanon, stating that the prisoners were being kept without trial. The point
was made that anti-personnel mines were left by Israeli troops in withdrawing from Lebanon.
Nicaragua described the government of Cuba as deliberately disregarding the needs of its
people and its responsibilities to international conventions. It was stated that respect for
human rights is determined by international norms, and that sovereignty is not relevant.
The representative from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stated that political
matters were being pursued in the guise of human rights. The EU was accused of making
false allegations relating to human rights abuses in DPRK, and it was indicated that it should
focus instead on Iraq.
The representative of Belarus reiterated that no country could claim to have a perfect human
rights record, and that human rights issues should not be used to achieve economic and
On the issue of Chechnya, the representative of Latvia stressed that the Russian Federation
must cease violating the human rights of the Chechen people.
The representative of Kuwait indicated that Iraq had not respected the recommendations of
the Commission, nor its commitments to international agreements. The status of prisoners in
Iraq was brought to the attention of the Commission.
The effect of armed conflict on the humanitarian situation in Iraq was raised by the
representative of Liechtenstein. He called on the Commission to help to alleviate the
suffering of the Iraqi people.
The representative of Israel declared that Lebanon was encouraging terrorism, and
supporting Iran and Syria. Lebanon was called upon to account for missing Israeli soldiers,
and the Syrian occupation of Lebanon was shown to be a significant issue in the Middle East.
The representative of Greece discussed the situation of human rights in Cyprus.
The representative of Azerbaijan stressed that the aggression and occupation by Armenia
constituted a human rights violation. The commission was called upon to find a lasting
Eritrea emphasized that the Commission must translate words into action, and resolve the
situation with Ethiopia.
Afghanistan indicated that considerable progress in the field of human rights had been
made, and that the status of women was improving, with the help of NGOs in the
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights stated that Russian forces had
committed grave abuses against the Chechens, as a result of organised crime within the state
The Arab Lawyers’ Union highlighted the double standards of the Commission, and called
for action in Sudan.
The Movimiento Cubano por la Paz y la Soberania de los Pueblos spoke on behalf of
Cuban prisoners in the USA and their families, indicating that their trials were unfair and their
The International League for Human Rights described the regime in Turkmenistan as
resembling that of DPRK.
The African Society of International and Comparative Law called on the Commission to
find a peaceful resolution in Sudan.
The Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru questioned the right of the USA to wage preventative
war, and expressed concern for the Iraqi people.
The Organisation for the Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America
declared that item 9 was immoral, hypocritical and “picks on third world countries”.
The International Commission of Jurists discussed the situations in Nepal, Zimbabwe,
USA and Iraq, making suggestions to the Commission for each.
Right of Reply
India and Pakistan engaged in lengthy dialogue relating to the nature of their respective
governments, indicating that fascist regimes and military dictatorships were gross violators of
Eritrea rejected claims of their aggression and violation of human rights in relation to
Ethiopia, which responded in kind.
Australia denied allegations of racism and discrimination, only to be opposed by Zimbabwe,
which stressed the mistreatment of the Aboriginal peoples. Australia refused this claim.
Lebanon and Syria denied Israel’s statement regarding the Syrian occupation of Lebanon,
stating that the Israelis were the only aggressors. Israel questioned this view.
Cuba described Nicaragua as immoral and controlled by the USA.
Other states to reply to previous statements were Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Japan, Iraq, DPRK, Armenia, Togo and Kuwait.
The Chairperson of the 54th Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human
Rights, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, described the Sub-Commission as a think tank for the
Commission as a whole. He stated that a wide range of themes had been successfully debated
in the Sub-Commission, and elaborated as to its diverse contributions to the Commission.
Referring to the private session of the previous day, the Chairperson of the Commission stated
that the human rights situations in Chad, Djibouti, Liberia and Uzbekistan had been
The Arab Organisation for Human Rights described the Arab states as under increasing
pressure from both the fight against terrorism and the current military intervention in Iraq,
both of which are causing human rights violations.
The Baha’i International Community stated that the situation of Baha’is in Iran had not
improved, despite the government’s assurances of a focus on human rights.
The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues discussed the human rights
violations currently occurring in Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe,
Belarus and Iraq.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism stressed the grave situation in southern Sudan,
including the plight of women and children involved in slavery.
Human Rights Watch, in reference to Iraq, Chechnya and Sudan, stated that humanitarian
law must be respected, and human rights violations must not go unpunished.
The World Organization Against Torture described the serious deterioration in the human
rights situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal and Burundi. The
increase in inhuman treatment of prisoners in Iran was also highlighted.
The International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements provided strong
opposition to Genetically Modified Organisms and the agricultural policies of the WTO.
The International Save the Children Alliance stressed the continued plight of the
children of Afghanistan, indicating that endemic poverty, was and conflict had resulted in
the erosion of their basic human rights. The Afghani administration, the UN and NGOs
were shown to be attempting to resolve this situation, focusing in particular on the rights
to health and education. The Commission was called upon to allocate funds for the
protection of children in Afghanistan, as well as to establish the role of an ombudsperson.
The South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre requested that the Commission
monitor the human rights situation in Japan, in particular the mistreatment of prisoners.
The World Federation of Trade Unions described Cuba as subject to harsh blockades,
which obscure its admirable social achievements.
The Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization stated that people of Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Pakistan and India continued to live under a shadow of violence, and suggested
that a cleansing operation be carried out in Pakistan to combat terrorism.
United Nations Watch called the Commission hypocritical, and emphasized the lack of
cooperation on the part of the Iraqi government.
The International Institute for Peace described the increasing poverty and crimes against
women in southern Pakistan.
The International Federation for the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic, Religious,
Linguistic and Other Minorities stated that the Angolan government had carried out a
cleansing operation in the region of Kabinde, raping innocent women and children.
The World Peace Council stressed the grave human rights situation in the Pakistan
controlled areas of Kashmir.
A Woman's Voice International stated that women travelling from North Korea to
China as refugees were mistreated, subject to sexual trafficking, forced to have
abortions and their babies were often suffocated at birth.
Agir ensemble pour les droits de l'homme indicated an increase in barbarism in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, including rape, torture and murder.
Centro de Estudios Europeos questioned the Commissions failure to discuss the situation
in Iraq, and stated that the USA was showing contempt for the UN.
World Muslim Congress described the war against terrorism as an excuse for human rights
violations and the repression of minorities.
European Union of Public Relations made the point that the human rights violations in
Kashmir were being carried out by both India and Pakistan.
The Transnational Radical Party stressed the plight of the Uigyr people in China, who are
subject to brutal force as they peacefully strive for self-determination.
Europe-Third World Centre stated that the USA enjoyed total impunity in carrying out its
aggression and occupation, and indicated that it should have to answer charges of human
Federación de Associaciones de Defensa y Promoción de Derechos humanos described the
Iraqi war as illegal and unjust, destroying the lives of whole families, including women and
children. Refugees in the Western Sahara were shown to be running out of food, and
35% of children were described as having chronic malnutrition.
Dominicans for Justice and Peace and International Educational Development expressed
disapproval at the actions of the USA, including previous military campaigns and weapons
Franciscans International stated that the people of the Papua region in eastern Indonesia
were marginalised and victimised by the government.
Right of Reply
Countries choosing to exercise their right of reply concerning comments made in the previous
session included Azerbaijan, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Kenya,
Yemen, Ethiopia and Eritrea. In response to comments from the current session, Cuba,
Angola, India, Japan, Kuwait and DPRK spoke, refuting many accusations made against
ITEM 9 :
The Representative of Sudan, using his right of reply, referred to statements made about the
situation in Darfur by NGOs and stressed that his country has been trying for years to find a
solution to this problem. He said that the abduction of women and children had ceased as
a result of the work of the Committee on the Eradication of Abduction of Women and
The Representative of Eritrea, speaking in right of reply, expressed his concern over the
threat to peace in the region of Eritrea and Ethiopia as Ethiopia made it very clear that it
would not comply with the decisions of the Boundary Committee.
The Representative of Thailand, speaking in right of reply, stated that OMCT would not have
made allegations concerning his country’s drug policy had it known about the increase of the
use of meta-amphetamines in Thailand. He also stated that the allegations on the fact that the
police planted false evidence and engaged arbitrary arrests are completely wrong.
The Representative of Iraq, speaking in right of reply, reminded that the United States and
the United Kingdom did not find any chemical weapons in Iraq and that the situation there
was a scandal. He accused these two States of believing they could colonize his country in a
matter of days.
The Representative of Indonesia, speaking in right of reply, rejected all allegations of the
NGO Franciscans International concerning a discrimination against the Papuan population.
The Representative of Malaysia, speaking in right of reply, specified that the purpose of his
country’s law on internal security was to ensure national security and public order. He
rejected the allegations concerning the arbitrary application of this law.
The Representative of Azerbaijan, using his right of reply against the statement by Armenia,
said that all civilian deaths in Khojaly were attributed to the Armenian forces.
The Representative of Cyprus, … speaking in right of reply, said that the statement by
Turkey showed that Turkey’s foreign policy was still determined by armed forces, and that
despite recent positive aspects, Turkey remained intransigent regarding the rejection of the
UN Secretary General’s peace plan for Cyprus.
The Representative of Singapore, speaking in right of reply, rejected the allegations made by
the NGO Aliran, stating that the Internal Security Act wasn’t used to suppress political
The Representative of Greece, speaking in right of reply, expressed his concern about the
arrest of 20 Turkish Cypriot politicians and trade-union activists who had demonstrated in
favour of the UN plan, and he urged the Turkish Cypriot leadership to cooperate with the
The Representative of Turkey, using his right of reply, stated that the frame of mind in
approaching the problem was not encouraging and that it was Cyprus that was intransigent
because it rejected Mr. Denktash’s proposal. As for Greece, he fully agreed on the
continuation of the negotiations on the UN Plan.
Sergio Vieira De Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented
his report on the human rights situation in Colombia and expressed his concern about the
gravity of the humanitarian and human rights situation there. He made some
recommendations and stated that, in order to achieve them, the international community
The Representative of Colombia, speaking as a concerned country, assured that his
government had studied these recommendations and had adopted a plan to implement most
of them. He then explained the actions taken by his government to find a solution to the
The Representative of Greece, speaking in behalf of the European Union, acceding and
associated countries, urged Colombia to comply fully to these recommendations and to
implement the ones made by the Commission last year.
The Representative of Canada, stated his country’s concern about the increasing violations of
humanitarian and human rights law. He urged Colombia to recognize and respect the
rights of women and children.
The Representative of the United States congratulated Colombia for its progress in observing
human rights in the past year but reminded the gravity of the violations committed by the
illegal armed groups.
The Representative of Norway said it was urgent to resuscitate the political negotiation
process in order to finding a lasting peace.
Franciscans International spoke first, in a joint statement with Dominicans for Justice and
Peace, and stated their concern about the increasing violations in Colombia. It urged the
Commission to of justice and adequate compensation for victims. The Commission was urged
to call upon the Colombian Government to respect its undertakings in the area of human
rights and humanitarian law.
Colombian Commission of jurist, in a joint statement with International Commission of
Jurists, International Service for Human Rights and International Federation of Human
Rights Leagues, expressed their concern on the situation of human rights in Colombia and on
the measures taken by its government.
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, in a joint statement with Public
Services International, stated the gravity of the situation for the working women and men
who tried to their human rights and union rights.
OMCT, in a joint statement with Agir ensemble pour les droits de l’homme, expressed the
magnitude of human rights and fundamental violations in Colombia, and especially in Arauca.
It deplored the fact that the recommendations made by a UN Commission that visited the
country haven’t been implemented.
Amnesty International explained the gravity pf the situation in Colombia and expressed the
possible risks of the governments measures.
World Federation of Trade Unions said that the human rights, especially the trade
unionists ones, are dramatic and continue to be violated.
Human Rights Watch, stated that some limited progress were made in Colombia, but that
the fundamental problems remained.
International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples expressed the fact that
since the election of the Colombian government, human rights situation had worsened and
that the new measures taken have affected harmfully the civil and political rights.
Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees
affirmed that human rights situation in Colombia has worsened and that violence had increase
100% over the last 3 years.
American Association of Jurists stated there was no political will on the part of the
government to make Colombia a State of law democracy.
Canadian Council of Churches expressed its concern on the gravity of the deterioration of
human rights situation in Colombia and affirmed that the Commission should insist more on
the full implementation of the recommendations made by the High Commissioner.
Abdelfattah Amor, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee explained the stage of
ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional
Protocol. He expressed his concern about the States that did not submit their initial report to
the Committee or didn’t implement its recommendations.
Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression,
presented his report and expressed his concern about the alleged violations of this right
occurred in all regions and all countries.
The Representative of Bahrain stated education played an important role in the progress of
people and that his country ensured this right, as all economic, social and cultural rights.
The Representative of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the GRULAC, welcomed the
establishment of a working group monitoring the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Political Rights.
The Representative of Ukraine affirmed that there had been little change in the world social
situation since the Copenhagen Summit and that the international community should do its
outmost to eradicate poverty.
The Representative of Argentina stated that her country fully endorsed the notion of the
universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and
fundamental freedoms and that all rights should be equally protected and promoted, with no
The Representative of Peru affirmed that his country had taken steps to ensure the
development of all human rights , and that even though some progress was made concerning
economic, social and cultural rights, there was still a lot to do, specially concerning the
eradication of poverty, the right to education and the right to health.
The Representative of Greece, speaking on behalf of the European Union, affirmed that all
rights should be protected and promoted in parallel and that everyone should enjoy its
economic, social and cultural rights. He also urged all States not party to the International
Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights to ratify this instrument.
The Representative of the Netherlands, speaking in right of reply concerning the report of the
Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the elicit movement and dumping of toxic
wastes, stated that he promised to transmit her report to the government.
Paul Hunt, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health presented his report and stated that
a court-based approach as well as a policy approach were necessary to achieve the fulfilment
of this right. He proposed to focus on three objectives and themes. The objectives are the
promotion of the right to health, the clarification of the legal scope of this right and the
identification of good practices for operationalisation of this right at the community. The
themes are poverty and the right to health on one hand and discrimination, stigma and the
right to health on the other. He also said he must work very closely with a large range of
The Representative of Norway was interested to know whether the Special Rapporteur
intended to examine the question of refugees and asylum-seekers with regard to the right to
The Representative of China expressed two wishes: on one hand that the Special Rapporteur
focuses in his next report on the ways and means to promote the right to health and, on the
other hand, that he provides further information about the realisation of this right in the
different countries. He also wanted to know the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur
concerning the respect of this right by the States at the international level. Finally, he
expressed his concern about the fact that diseases affect mostly developing countries and that
drugs are usually produced in developed country. Developing countries couldn’t afford to
buy the licences for these drugs, so how could it be possible to overcome this problem?
The Representative of Brazil was interested to know if the Special Rapporteur was going to
continue his analysis of the highly neglected diseases.
The Representative of Cuba wondered how the Special Rapporteur intended to identify good
practices for the attainment of the right to health and he was interested to see him address the
issue of the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the right to health, since there was a
clear consensus that food and drugs should never be employed as weapons of war.
The Representative of Argentina wanted to know how the Special Rapporteur planed to
examine the question of the drug industry.
The Special Rapporteur answered to these questions briefly as he said he didn’t have enough
time to answer adequately and therefore he would continue consultations with States on these
Katarina Tomasevski, Special Rapporteur on the right to education, presented her report
and stated the need to review the previous assumption that racism fed ignorance and that
education automatically reduced racism. Therefore, she said it was necessary to add human
rights awareness to education, even though the recent establishment of the Internal
Criminal Court facilitated the protection of schoolchildren by its clear definition of
attacks against them as criminal. She was also concerned about the damage ensuing
from the previous absence of effective safeguards against victimisation of school
children in Northern Ireland. The Holy Cross School had difficulties in coping with the
result of sectarian harassment affecting schoolgirls as young as four. The Special
Rapporteur reminded the amount of attention needed to the methods of teaching because she
received information on corporal punishment leading to the deaths of children. Finally,
she stated that it was hypocritical to talk about a right to education as long as the utmost for
compulsory and free education everywhere in the world wasn’t done.
The Representative of Norway wanted to know about trade liberalisation, the right to
education and the need to address international human rights law as trade law.
The Representative of Cuba wondered if the Special Rapporteur could recommend measures
for the countries where there was xenophobia, discrimination and poverty. He also wanted to
know if there was any relation between the fulfilment of the right to education and the
fulfilment of civil and political rights.
The Representative of Germany asked for the Special Rapporteur’s interpretation of the
statistics of those in the EU who were self-declared racists.
The Representative of Algeria was concerned about the fact that the Special Rapporteur had
to use personal funds to fulfil her mandate.
The Special Rapporteur answered to all these questions. She only referred to children when
she answered to Germany stating that children and young people in EU don’t know
what migrants could bring to their country.
Bertrand Ramcharan, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, took the floor and
stated that his office provided the Special Rapporteur with the same professional services it
provides all Special Rapporteurs but that it has limited resources and therefore cannot give
every Special Rapporteur what he asks for.
Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, presented his report and reminded
the obligation for the States to respect, protect and fulfil this right. He expressed his concern
on the situation of hunger that gets worse in the world. In fact, every seven seconds a
child under 10 years of age dies from the direct or indirect effects of hunger. And this
happens in a world that has more than enough food for everyone. Huger is not a question of
fate but a question of inaction. The World Food Summit in Rome has been a defeat but there
was one good thing that came out of it: the creation of a working group in order to establish
voluntary guidelines for the implementation of the right to food. He explained the conclusions
of his visit to Brazil and then wanted to talk about the right to food in Iraq. But the
Representative of the United States, making a point of order, stated that the Special
Rapporteur did not visit Iraq and, therefore, this discussion wouldn’t be in his mandate. The
Special Rapporteur said his mandate authorized him to talk about all violations that appear in
the world. The Chairperson stated in the end that the Special Rapporteur had no more time to
talk about the situation in Iraq but that he would be able to if a question was made on the
The Representative of Brazil, speaking as a concerned country, stated that since the return of
his country to democracy, it had fully realized the economic, social and cultural rights and
that the battle against hunger was one of its top priorities.
The Representative of Iraq said that the Representative of the United States used his point of
order only in the purpose to prevent the Special Rapporteur from speaking about the situation
in Iraq. He expressed that the Oil-for-food Program was very important and wondered if
international law allowed violations such as cutting off the networks of water, food and
The Representative of Bangladesh wondered to what extent the right to food was protected
by the existing international instruments.
The Representative of DRC said that he was sad about the failure of the World Food Summit
and that economic, social and cultural rights should be taken into consideration by the
The Representative of Greece, speaking on behalf of the EU, asked the Special Rapporteur
what urgent actions he would suggest for the development of national strategies to combat
hunger and what were the challenges that women faced in the realization of the right to food.
The Representative of Syrian Arab Republic wanted the Special Rapporteur to elaborate
further on the question of the situation in Iraq, as he was interrupted by the Representative of
the United States.
The Representative of Palestine stated that the greatest obstacle to the right to food was
foreign occupation and the use of access to food as a weapon by occupiers, as witnessed in
Palestine and Iraq.
The Representative of Cuba wanted the Special Rapporteur to elaborate further on the
question of the right to water.
The Special Rapporteur answered these questions, reaffirming his gratitude for the
hospitality of the Brazilian government during his visit. When he referred to the situation in
Iraq, the Representative of the United States made a new point of order stating that the
mandate of the Special Rapporteur refers only to the right to food and not to international
humanitarian law. The Chairperson answered to this Representative affirming that Mr.
Ziegler had the right to talk about international humanitarian law due to last year’s resolution.
So the Special Rapporteur was able to answer all questions addressed to him.