OIC Statement at the 58th Session of the Commission on Human Rights on Agenda Item 5 – the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and its Application under Colonial or Alien Domination or Foregin Occupation

Mr. Chairman,

The right to self-determination is a sacrosanct principle of International law. It is recognized in the UN Charter, international covenants, UN General Assembly Declarations and several important and specific resolutions. The Commission on Human Rights over the last 30 years has affirmed the Palestinian peoples right to self-determination and its being essential basis for the recognition and observance of all human rights.

The realization of the right to self-determination has an important link with the maintenance of international peace and security. The right to self-determination is recognized by the Commission on Human Rights as a dynamic right and includes the right to participate freely in political life and to enjoy basic, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. The international community recognized the Palestinian and Kashmiri peoples right to self-determination over fifty years ago. Unfortunately they continue to suffer the consequences of illegal occupation.

The repression of the Palestinian and other Muslim peoples under foreign occupation has intensified significantly since September 11. The freedom struggles in these occupied territories have been denigrated as terrorism as a means to justify the disproportionate use of force, hostilities and atrocities against the civilians. It is important for the international community to draw a clear distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle for right to self-determination.

The reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on 5 December 2001 affirmed that the Israeli Defense forces had been committing serious violations of the Human rights and humanitarian law. The Conference deplored the large number of civilian victims, in particular children and other vulnerable groups due to indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force, and due to lack of respect for international humanitarian law. It called upon Israel to refrain from committing grave breaches involving any of the acts mentioned in article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, such as willful killing, torture, unlawful deportation, willful depriving of the rights of fair and regular trial, extensive destruction and appropriation of property nor justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. The Conference in particular called for the deployment of independent and impartial observers to monitor the breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Over the past 18 months there has been sharp deterioration of situation on the occupied Palestinian territories. The Palestinian leadership has been put under virtual house arrest. Over the past few weeks the Israeli incursions into the occupied Palestinian territories have escalated to an unprecedented level. The military invasion of hundreds of Israeli tanks in Gaza and Ramala and other territories on 12 March marked a dangerous escalation in this conflict. The Palestinian territories have been reoccupied by Israel. It is using invasion and occupation of the Palestinian territories as a bargaining tools for the resumption of peace process and negotiations.

The peace in the occupied Palestinian territories hinges on the faithful implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 242 and 338. The Middle East peace process is stalled as a result of Israel reneging from its solemn commitments. The failure of Israel to comply with the UN resolutions and the various peace agreements is a primary source of the continuity of conflict and bloodshed in Middle East.

The Islamic countries support the United Nations Security Council resolution 1397 of 12 March 2002 which affirms the vision of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel within secure and recognized borders. The implementation of this resolution demands an immediate cessation of all hostilities and resumption of negotiations on a political settlement and resumption of the peace process. The Palestinian authority’s conduct is in conformity with the provisions of the Security Council resolutions. Israel must implement the UN Security Council resolution in letter and spirit.

The OIC attaches great hopes with the international community’s renewed engagement in the Middle East. The success of peace initiatives entails several specific steps including, the unconditional and complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, end of human rights violations, restoration of the freedom of movement of the Palestinian leadership, the return of all Palestinian refugees, restoration of the Palestinian authority over holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, freeze on settlements and the Palestinian people’s freedom to pursue their work and businesses without hindrances.

The international community should use its influence on Israel to seek the fulfillment of these legitimate demands. Besides, it should offer generous financial assistance for the reconstruction of the demolished physical infrastructure and properties on the occupied Palestinian territories which would need billions of dollars.

It is a legal and moral obligation of the Commission on Human Rights to facilitate the realization of the occupied Palestinian and Kashmiri people’s the right to self determination which is a basic condition for realizing all other rights and for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and South Asia.

The OIC, at its Summit and Ministerial level meetings, has adopted resolutions and decisions, expressing its solidarity with issues of interest to the Islamic world. It, therefore, has underscored that the security of each Islamic State is a common OIC concern and in this context, the OIC opposes any attack against a member state.

Thank You Mr. Chairman.