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Summary record of the 25th meeting, held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Thursday, 17 August 2000 : Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, 52nd session

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Economic and Social
9 January 2001
Original: FRENCH
Fifty-second session
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Thursday, 17 August 2000, at 10 a.m.
Chairperson: Ms. MOTOC
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set
forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent
within one week of the date of this document to the Official Records Editing Section,
room E.4108, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Any corrections to the records of the public meetings of the Sub-Commission at this
session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the
GE.00-15160 (E)
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CONTENTS (continued)
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The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.
(agenda item 12) (continued) (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/2, 31-34, 38, 42 and 43;
E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/NGO/4,13 and 15)
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1. Ms. W. SPALDING (World Federation for Mental Health) found it deplorable that
Mr. Despouy’s study on human rights and disability and the recommendations it contained had
been virtually forgotten, while disabled persons had been vainly demanding for years the
creation of an office of ombudsman to deal with that topic.
2. In a period of austerity, when the expression “financial implications” was recurring as a
leitmotiv, it was necessary to draw on all the creativity of persons of goodwill. However, by
endeavouring systematically to reduce expenditure and overdoing it, one risked endangering the
physical and mental health of the participants and thus the work of the Sub-Commission.
Consequently, the Sub-Commission should urgently request the Commission, the Economic and
Social Council and the Secretary-General to restore to its session the fourth week that it had lost.
3. Mr. PANDITA (Interfaith International) said that, in Kashmir, for more than 10 years,
religious groups of a fascist nature had been perpetrating massacres in the name of a struggle for
freedom. Thus, on 1 August 2000, armed men belonging to the Al Qaida organization of
Osama Bin Ladin had massacred 25 Hindu pilgrims in a village south of Srinagar. A few hours
later, another terrorist group had gunned down 19 labourers at a brick kiln in South Kashmir.
4. Every time a peace initiative was taken to open a dialogue for peaceful resolution of the
conflict, the external sponsors of the armed insurgency did everything to sabotage it. Such was
the case of the Kargil incursion. Then, in March 2000, the murder of 35 members of the Sikh
community in a South Kashmir village had undermined the peace mission of the President of the
United States in the subcontinent. Likewise, the massacre of 102 persons in three days at the
beginning of August had been an attempt to subvert the peace talks that the Indian Government
had begun with a front-line insurgent group, the Hizbul Mujahidin. Under pressure from outside,
that group had given up the three-month cease-fire it had declared some days previously. In fact,
the real purpose of those sponsoring the terrorists was to keep the people in a state of perpetual
enslavement, including by the massacre of pilgrims who were messengers of peace.
5. Mr. RAJKUMAR (Pax Romana), speaking also on behalf of the Saami Council and
International Young Christian Students, said that peace and security were the core mandate of
the United Nations system. However, the meaning of peace and security was not the same
as 10 years earlier. Conflict had changed in that period from the threat of nuclear war to limited
wars, from inter-State wars to intra-State conflicts. Hence, security had come to mean protecting
communities and individuals from internal violence with the emphasis on prevention which, as
Mr. Yokota had pointed out, was the first duty of States.
6. It was encouraging that, at its fifty-first session, the Sub-Commission had resumed
consideration of the right to self-determination, which it had not examined since its thirty-first
session. For their part, Pax Romana, the Saami Council and the UNESCO Centre, Barcelona,
had organized in Geneva, on 30 and 31 July 2000, a seminar on “Self-determination and
Conflict Transformation”. The participants had reached the following conclusions: One of the
main reasons for State breakdown was that the different conceptions of what constituted a
people were sometimes irreconcilable; it was then that the problematic relationship between
self-determination, democratization and human rights arose. For the participants in the seminar,
the right to self-determination in the broad sense was rooted in basic human rights and
corresponded to the desire to be free and to construct alliances and political communities based
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on that desire. The right encompassed the right to development, the right to democracy and the
right to select representatives. The participants had also emphasized the link between the
realization of the right to self-determination and international peace and security.
7. Pax Romana therefore urged the Sub-Commission to prepare a working paper (without
financial implications) on the implementation of the right to self-determination and to link that
question to other items of its agenda. That should make it possible to redefine the right to
self-determination in the broad sense and determine how the treaty bodies and other
United Nations mechanisms could effectively implement it with a view to conflict prevention.
8. Ms. SAYEGH (General Arab Women Federation) recalled that, in its resolution 1996/16,
the Sub-Commission had called for effective ways to be found of eliminating weapons of mass
destruction such as those containing depleted uranium. The allied forces had used depleted
uranium in Iraq, with tragic consequences for the civilian population. According to Iraqi
doctors, the rate of birth abnormalities occurring in the region exposed to depleted uranium
was 7 to 10 times above normal. Cancers and renal and neurological diseases were also much
more frequent. The situation was all the more serious in that the medical services were unable to
obtain the medical supplies needed to treat those illnesses.
9. Her organization called on the Sub-Commission to draw the attention of the international
community to the violation of international law constituted by the use of such weapons and to
keep the issue on the agenda for its next session.
10. Ms. GRAF (International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples) said that
terrorism was constantly in the headlines in many parts of the world. It was essential to draw up
an international instrument on the subject and to provide Ms. Koufa with the necessary support
to continue her study on terrorism and human rights.
11. Terrorism as such could not of course be condoned. Nevertheless, a question that
must be asked was why peoples resorted to violence. Usually, it was because their rights had
not been respected. History taught that repression and condemnation served no purpose
unless accompanied by constructive action. In that regard, her organization drew the
Sub-Commission’s attention to the proposals it had made with a view to a peaceful settlement in
the Basque Country (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/NGO/4). It proposed the establishment of Udalbitza
(Assembly of Municipalities) and described the role the Assembly could play in establishing
12. Her organization also wished to draw the attention of the Sub-Commission to the conflict
in the Moluccas, which was the consequence of the population transfer policy of the former
Suharto regime and the Government’s lack of concern for the economic situation of the area.
Those two causes had aggravated the conflict between the Christians and a Muslim population
that was on the increase, largely owing to immigration.
13. The international community should send a fact-finding mission to the Moluccas if it
wished to prevent a bloodbath from occurring there, as had been the case in East Timor.
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14. Mr. FATTORINI (Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples MRAP),
speaking on behalf of MRAP, the Association of World Citizens, the Association for World
Education and the Centre for Social Research, recalled that the President of the Security Council
had said, in a statement made on 24 September 1999, that small arms were the weapons most
frequently used in the majority of armed conflicts. In the absence of adequate regulation and
controls such weapons accumulated and circulated illegally from one conflict to another, killing
or wounding millions of civilians, including women and children.
15. The United Nations had a clear duty to draw up precise, universal rules governing the use
of such weapons in order to confine their use to well-defined purposes. In that regard, the
United Nations General Assembly had taken a welcome decision to convene a conference
in 2001 on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. States Members
and all participants in that conference should be urged to study the impact of such trade on
human rights. Likewise, the High Commissioner for Human Rights should play an active role in
the preparations for the conference, and the Commission and Sub-Commission should consider
the impact on human rights and humanitarian law of the use of such weapons.
16. Mr. LERFORD (International Human Rights Association of American Minorities) said
that the United States Supreme Court, in its decision 348 US 272, had decided that the land in
Alaska belonged to the white race and that Alaska’s indigenous peoples did not have the rights
set forth in the Fifth Amendment, including the right to life, the right to property and the right to
due process of law. That had been the basis for creating the Alaska Native Claims Settlement
Act (ANCSA), which was racially discriminatory. In 1982 the Alaska Statehood Commission
had stated in a report that ANCSA had settled nothing at all, certainly not native claims. In that
context, he was making available for experts the text of a decree adopted by the Elders Council
of Tununak and aimed at protecting the Alaskan native peoples’ right to self-determination.
17. On a positive final note, he expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Swiss
Confederation for its moral and financial support of the United Nations Institute for Training and
Research; the latter had organized a programme in peacemaking and preventive diplomacy,
which had been of benefit to participant native peoples.
18. Mr. BARNES (International Human Rights Association of American Minorities) said,
further to Mr. Lerford’s statement, that the native peoples of Alaska called for respect and
recognition of their sovereign indigenous rights, including the right to decolonization and the
right to reject foreign laws which adversely affected their rights and the right to
19. Mr. NEGROTTO CAMBIASO (Observer for Italy) said that a perverse link existed
between illicit arms trading and the violation of basic human rights, including the right to
development. According to the Declaration on the Right to Development, adopted by the
United Nations General Assembly, all States should do their utmost “to ensure that the resources
released by effective disarmament measures are used for comprehensive development, in
particular that of the developing countries”. So far no one had really followed that wise counsel;
which was why calls for disarmament were increasingly heard from various forums. The many
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tragedies witnessed in the former Yugoslavia could have been avoided if that country had been
subjected to the strict arms control measures applied in the European countries belonging to the
two major military alliances.
20. Unjustified military expenditure brought into question the right to development aid; but
donors, for their part, had the duty to ensure more effective control, especially of illegal arms
transfer and other related trafficking. The Working Group on the Right to Development, the
forthcoming United Nations conference on small arms, and other forums could contribute to
establishing more effective mechanisms against weapons transfer.
21. Lastly, he thanked the Sub-Commission for an in-depth examination of the multiple
threats against human rights and of the means to confront them.
22. Mr. PRASAD (Observer for India) said there was urgent need for a comprehensive study
of the impact of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights. The debate on terrorism tended to
become bogged down, however, because of moves by certain States and non-State actors to
conceal their violence behind lofty principles such as self-determination and the freedom
struggle. The Indian Government hoped, therefore, that United Nations and State entities and
institutions would provide Ms. Koufa with all the cooperation she required in order to complete
her study on the links between terrorism and the enjoyment of human rights. Terrorism was
totally at odds with democracy, which allowed free expression of dissenting opinions by
non-violent methods. The Indian Government did not agree with those who claimed that States
alone violated human rights. There was an urgent need to ensure the accountability of non-State
actors who perpetrated terrorist acts.
23. India was a victim of the most brutal forms of terrorism. A neighbouring country that
had designs on the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir was waging a proxy war against India.
It provided terrorists with training camps, arms and explosives. It shrank from no deed to satisfy
its territorial ambitions; the military dictatorship ruling that country responded to India’s offers
of dialogue by a call to arms.
24. The Indian Government welcomed the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to
begin negotiations on a comprehensive international convention on terrorism. It hoped that such
an instrument would help to combat the flagrant human rights violations perpetrated by terrorists
recruited, trained and financed abroad.
25. Mr. MERIC (Observer for Turkey) said that, since terrorism constituted a violation of
basic human rights, there was a link between combating terrorism and protecting human rights.
26. The Turkish Government welcomed Ms. Koufa’s preliminary report on terrorism and
human rights, but regretted that her work had fallen behind the timetable established by the
Sub-Commission, according to which, in the normal course, she should have submitted her
intermediate report at the current session. The Special Rapporteur had rightly complained of the
lack of financial and technical support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights. That lack of support led the Turkish Government to wonder whether the United Nations
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system was taking a selective approach to human rights matters. It urged the Office to provide
the Special Rapporteur, without further delay, with all the assistance she required in order to
complete her study on time.
27. The idea that it was up to individuals and groups, not States alone, to protect and promote
human rights was gaining ground - a development in which the Sub-Commission had played a
major role.
28. Mr. HUSSAIN (Observer for Pakistan) regretted that Ms. Koufa had been unable to
submit her report on human rights and terrorism. The issue was complex; firstly, the lack of a
general definition of terrorism enabled States that committed aggression and occupied a territory
to label those who resisted occupation as terrorists. Any definition to be adopted, therefore,
should distinguish terrorism from armed struggle against a foreign occupier. Criteria that could
be used in defining terrorism so as to distinguish the two ideas included relevant resolutions
adopted by the United Nations Security Council, bilateral agreements between countries, and
so on.
29. Terrorism was identified as a major threat to democracy and pluralism. By definition,
however, a democratic and pluralist society could not exist in a country occupied by a foreign
power maintaining a hold on the people by armed force. The struggle of the people against the
occupying power was therefore to be seen not as terrorism but as a fight for freedom.
30. To combat terrorism called for concerted action by the international community. In that
light, States should first of all renounce terrorism against peoples in the territories they occupied.
31. Mrs. MACHADO (Observer for Angola) said that the issue of terrorism and human
rights was currently more important than ever, in that terrorism represented a grave threat to the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Contemporary terrorism differed from that once
practised: it took on new forms, characterized by the adoption of sophisticated techniques
reflecting the phenomenon’s globalization.
32. Because of its very complexity there was still no consensus about it among the
Organization’s States Members, and not even an agreed definition of terrorism and the difference
between it and the struggle for self-determination. Despite the lack of consensus, a number of
relevant General Assembly resolutions categorically condemned all forms of terrorism that
attacked human life, human rights, basic freedoms and democracy. The international community
should likewise adopt effective preventive measures. Unfortunately, there was no sign of any
reduction in world military expenditure. The developing countries themselves spent three times
as much on armaments as on their peoples’ education and health.
33. With reference to document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/29 on international peace and security,
in which the Angolan conflict was described as inter-ethnic, she stressed that the Republic of
Angola was a democratic State ruled by law and safeguarding the rights and dignity of the
human person with no discrimination whatsoever, in accordance with articles 18 and 20 of its
Constitutional Law. Settlement of the Angolan conflict depended on implementation of the
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Lusaka Protocol and, in particular, the disarming of all UNITA forces. In that regard, the
international community must play a leading role in strengthening the application of the
United Nations sanctions imposed on the terrorist group of Jonas Savimbi.
34. Mr.AL-MADI (Observer for Saudi Arabia) felt that the Commission on Human Rights
had adopted decision 2000/108, on reservations to human rights treaties, before having
adequately studied all aspects of the question. Any future consideration of it should take full
account of the work of the International Law Commission and particularly of the preliminary
conclusions adopted by that Commission and the General Assembly.
35. He stressed that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, adopted in 1969, applied
to all categories of treaty, including human rights treaties. To prejudice the system for
reservations established by that Convention would prejudice other international instruments, in
particular those relating to human rights. Despite the extreme importance of cooperation with
treaty monitoring bodies, such bodies must abide strictly by their mandates, as provided for in
the treaties. The Commission on Human Rights ought therefore to carry out an in-depth study on
the subject with a view to adoption of a resolution stressing the importance of the matter, without
prejudice to the work of the International Law Commission.
36. Mr. MIRONCHIK (Observer for Belarus) informed the Sub-Commission of the measures
taken by the Government of Belarus to ensure that the parliamentary elections scheduled for
October 2000 were free and fair. Firstly, the representatives of political parties that had
nominated candidates for election would participate, without the right to vote, in the work of the
Central Electoral Commission. Secondly, all registered candidates, regardless of political
orientation, would have equal airtime on State television channels. Thirdly, a “period of trust”
would be observed during the run-up to the election, and all those wishing to take part in the
elections would be able to do so. Lastly, the question of expansion of parliamentary functions
would be on the newly-elected assembly’s agenda.
37. Mr. MOOSE (Observer for the United States of America) said that he was greatly
astonished at the working paper prepared by Mr. Bossuyt (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/33) on the
adverse consequences of economic sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights. That part of the
paper relating to sanctions applied to Iraq was incorrect, biased and inflammatory, and risked the
Sub-Commission’s credibility.
38. The report gave a false picture of the purpose and effects of the sanctions. Moreover, the
account it gave of the views of senior United States officials was a complete misrepresentation.
Equally wrong was the description of who controlled sanctions. The Sub-Commission would
recalled that the Security Council had decided to impose sanctions on Iraq as a result of the
latter’s flagrant aggression against Kuwait, and to maintain them until it could be verified that
Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction. The duration of the sanctions was therefore
up to Iraq itself. The sanctions, stemming as they did from resolutions adopted by the
Security Council, thereby constituted international law, which should be supported and applied
by all Members of the United Nations. Moreover, they did not affect foodstuffs and
medicaments. As far back as 1991 the United Nations had offered the “oil for food” programme,
which Iraq had refused for five years. Since Iraq’s acceptance of the programme the Iraqi
population’s humanitarian situation had improved and would continue to do so if Iraq did not
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impede the programme’s implementation. The United States would continue to see to it that Iraq
complied with the Security Council’s resolutions, including those aimed at improving the
humanitarian situation in that country, despite the manoeuvres of Saddam Hussain’s regime.
39. Mr. HUSSAIN (Observer for Iraq) said that, contrary to what had just been said, the Iraqi
people was perishing at the hands of the United States. Indeed, the reason why Mr. Halliday, a
former coordinator of United Nations humanitarian operations in Iraq, had resigned was that, in
his own words, sanctions were “destroying an entire people”. In 1995 Mrs. Albright had
declared it unlikely that sanctions would be ended. In an interview held in 1996 a journalist,
referring to the sanctions against Iraq, had said to Mrs. Albright: “We have heard that
500,000 children have died, more than the number of children killed at Hiroshima. Do you
think it was worth it?”, and she had replied: “We feel it was the price to be paid”. He wondered
whether any Nazi would ever had dared make such statements. Likewise in 1995, a high
United States official had declared himself ashamed that thousands of innocent civilians had
been killed in that way without the matter being brought before the International Court of
Justice. More recently, Mr. Sevan, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, had stated that
the value of blocked contracts whose fulfilment would have enabled the Iraqi population’s
humanitarian needs to be satisfied had amounted to several million dollars.
40. It was time the United Nations and the international community assumed their
responsibilities and put an end to the crime, which was a further addition to the list of those
committed by the United States since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
41. Mr. PRASAD (Observer for India), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that in
his statement he had not named the country that had been committing terrorism against India.
But the representative of Pakistan, in his statement, had sought to justify his country’s
involvement in the terrorism visited on the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in the guise of a
fight for freedom. In reality, Pakistan was simply destabilizing the region as well as other parts
of the world. Links clearly existed between Pakistan and international terrorism. Organizations
such as that of the Mujahidin operated with the active support of the Pakistan Government.
Camps where terrorists were instructed and trained were known to exist in Pakistan. Indian
democracy faced a difficult problem but had the will to respond to the terrorist challenge posed
by Pakistan.
42. Mr. KHAN (Observer for Pakistan), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that
he had merely sought to provide a definition of terrorism, whereas the observer for India had
decided to attack Pakistan direct. The observer for India had distorted the truth with regard to
the situation in Jammu and Kashmir; everyone knew who ought to bear responsibility for the
situation in the region. The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch, a trustworthy
source, had stated in a report issued in 1999 that, since 1995, Indian forces had been arming and
training insurgents. Although not part of the Indian regular forces, those insurgents were, in
international law, agents of the State, obeying orders given to them by the Indian army. Since
early 1995 at least, moreover, India had systematically resorted to irregular forces, which had
committed violations of human rights (summary executions, torture, forced disappearances and
so on). The Indian Government used such forces to terrorize those who were fighting for
freedom. Pakistan, a party to the Kashmir dispute, would continue to give political and
diplomatic support to the freedom fighters.
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43. Mr. PRASAD (Observer for India), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, referred to
information published in March 2000, in a Pakistani journal, to the effect that the Pakistan
Government and military forces had been supporting militant groups in Kashmir over the years.
The writer of the article had wondered how much longer Pakistan would strive to conceal from
the world that it was deeply involved in terrorism.
44. Mr. KHAN (Observer for Pakistan), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that,
for his part, he could quote from thousands of Indian publications. There was also an endless
number of reports, drawn up by authentic international bodies, testifying to human rights
violations committed by India in Jammu and Kashmir.
45. Pakistan had been accused of committing a massacre in March 2000. But the Indian
commission which had carried out an independent inquiry into the event had stated clearly in its
report that Pakistan had not been responsible. Likewise, the Indian journal Hindustan Times,
reporting in its edition of 8 August on another massacre, had stated that most of the victims had
been killed by Indian armed forces.
46. Mr. GUISSÉ said that the practice of making reservations to treaties had created the
effect of emptying most international instruments of their content. It would be best to limit such
reservations, if possible, so that international instruments could be accepted more or less in their
47. With reference to the study carried out by Mr. Bossuyt (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/33), the aim
on which the author had focused warranted encouragement for him to continue his task despite
the criticisms that had been raised.
48. Mr. BOSSUYT endorsed Mr. Yimer’s comment that the era of sanctions with no time
limit was past. There must be limits to economic sanctions if they were to be compatible with
humanitarian law.
49. Although the working document dealt with three countries, Iraq, Burundi and Cuba,
attention had focused on the sanctions imposed on Iraq. But that did not mean that the other two
countries had not suffered from economic sanctions.
50. With regard to paragraph 72 of the document, some people had found the sentence
following the footnote reference 59 (“The States imposing the sanctions could raise questions
under the genocide Convention”) to be excessive; but the sentence was in the conditional, and
phrased interrogatively.
51. On the subject of that footnote, relating to the statement by Mrs. Albright, if it could be
concluded from the statement by the observer for the United States that those words had not been
spoken, he was prepared to delete the note and the aforementioned sentence. As Mr. Weissbrodt
had noted, at the time of their adoption, the sanctions had been perfectly legal. In that regard,
Mr. Yokota had rightly distinguished the sanctions applied against Iraq from those of doubtful
legality from the outset. It could not, however, 10 years later be claimed that the sanctions could
be maintained for a further 10 years, or even 40 if necessary, without bringing their legality into
question. Since they had failed to achieve their stated purpose and had harmful consequences
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with regard to respect for human rights, they were not justified. They were also a crass blunder
politically: whereas, 10 years previously, an overwhelming majority of States had condemned
Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, there was currently a growing number opposed to maintaining
52. In the 1980s he had been associated with a number of fruitless attempts to have Iraq
condemned for human rights violations. In 1991 he had submitted to the Commission on Human
Rights a draft resolution requesting the appointment of a special rapporteur on the situation of
human rights in Iraq. He could not be accused, therefore, of partiality towards that country. He
was nevertheless convinced that maintaining sanctions against it was not only morally
reprehensible but legally indefensible.
53. Ms. KOUFA said that, when drawing up her report, she would take into account the
observations made to her by Sub-Commission members, NGOs, and government observers.
54. Ms. HAMPSON, speaking on terrorism and human rights, said that States must protect
their nationals against terrorism without exceeding the bounds set by international human
rights law.
55. Terrorizing a people by deliberately and indiscriminately killing civilians was not simply
a criminal act. Committed in the context of an armed conflict, international or otherwise, it was
a war crime, even a crime against humanity, on which the whole world was competent to rule,
which meant that any State could put the suspect on trial. In other words, terrorists were purely
and simply criminals. Neither jurisdiction nor classification of the type of act posed a problem.
There was no need to create an indefinable offence of “terrorism”. What was needed was
juridical cooperation in order that a State in which the suspect had been arrested could be
provided with the evidence necessary to institute proceedings. In practice, the problem of
impunity was encountered more in the case of persons committing acts with State involvement
than in that of non-State actors.
56. The question was what should be understood by “terrorism and human rights”. If it
concerned not so much criminal prosecution as the responsibility of States to prohibit the
movement of alleged terrorists, arms supplies, training camps and propaganda dissemination on
their territory, the matter was not one of human rights law but of international law governing
inter-State relations, to be dealt with by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the
International Court of Justice.
57. She agreed with Mr. Kartashkin on the importance of preventing violations and the role
to be played in that by United Nations human rights bodies. Any impediment to dialogue was a
source of concern. On that subject, she shared the disquiet expressed by Mr. Eide the previous
day about the lack of freedom in public debate in Iran.
58. She agreed with Mr. Kartashkin’s proposals for encouraging countries to ratify human
rights instruments. She also suspected that, if States which had not ratified the Covenants and
refused to cooperate with United Nations thematic mechanisms were to be named in the
Commission’s agenda, they would be readier to ratify those instruments.
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59. With reference to Mr. Bossuyt’s working paper, she agreed with Mr. Joinet about the
sanctions against Cuba and the outrageous extraterritorial pressure put on other States in that
regard. The “six-prong” sanctions evaluation test was helpful, and she had no doubt that the
sanctions imposed on Iraq failed to meet the criteria; nevertheless, the sanctions did not amount
to genocide, if only because that involved the “intent to destroy … a group”. Moreover, it was
hard to evaluate the extent to which the sanctions regime and its implementation were alone
responsible for the situation in Iraq. That regime was clearly ineffective and inconsistent with
the promotion and protection of human rights, but it was not genocide.
60. With reference to the statement by the United States representative concerning
Mr. Bossuyt’s working paper, she observed that differences of opinion did not justify personal
61. On the point raised by Mr. Alfonso Martínez, there was no special regime for human
rights treaties, which fell within the purview of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
The application of the regime to particular reservations was a separate question.
62. As she had said the previous day, and as Mr. Pellet, the Special Rapporteur of the
International Law Commission (ILC) had confirmed, the study on reservations to treaties would
not duplicate the ILC’s work. What was proposed was a study of the contents of reservations to
human rights treaties.
63. Mr. KARTASHKIN thanked all those who had spoken about his report. Replying to
Mr. Yokota, who had said that reservations were a negative element, he said that if a reservation
enabled universality to be achieved it could be viewed in a different light; ratification of a treaty
with reservations was better than no ratification.
64. With regard to Mr. Eide’s comments, he was convinced that, in order to obtain effective
results, the work of the proposed seminar should be restricted to considering the causes of
non-ratification only of human rights instruments that reflected and enshrined the provisions of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
65. In the past, States had looked askance at questions put by certain United Nations bodies;
but it had become accepted practice for treaty bodies to question States. The Working Group on
Minorities had itself engaged in dialogue with States in that way. Without such exchanges with
States the Sub-Commission’s work would be of only academic interest. It was time, therefore, to
open a dialogue with States about non-ratification of the Covenants.
66. He was astonished at the reaction of Mr. Ogurtsov and Mr. Yimer. Anyone could obtain
the list of international treaty ratifications. Since it was no secret from anyone, he failed to see
why there should be no mention of States which had not ratified the Covenants and had been
requested by the Sub-Commission to do so.
67. Lastly, he thanked all those who had supported his report, particularly
Mr. Rodríguez-Cuadros.
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Draft resolutions and decisions relating to agenda sub-item 1 (c)
Draft decision E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.6 (Report of the Chairperson of the Sub-Commission to the
Commission on Human Rights)
68. Mr. WEISSBRODT said that he hoped that the draft decision, sponsored by all the
members of the Sub-Commission, would be adopted unanimously.
69. Draft decision E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.6 was adopted.
Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.30 (Establishment of a pre-sessional working group on
the administration of justice)
70. Ms. HAMPSON said that all the members of the working group on the administration of
justice were sponsors of the draft resolution.
71. Mr. ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ and Mrs. DAES joined the sponsors of the draft resolution.
72. Mr. JOINET voiced reservations concerning the draft resolution. For the working group
concerned, meeting during the session was a great advantage since it enabled a large number of
the Sub-Commission’s members to take part in its work. He proposed that a night meeting
should be devoted to the work of the group during the Sub-Commission’s session. Nevertheless,
he would not oppose adoption of the draft resolution.
73. Mr. EIDE said that the text in question was only a very informal document that
concerned the Sub-Commission’s future agenda. He himself would have no difficulty in
supporting it.
74. Mr. GUISSÉ said that his interest in the deliberations of the working group on the
administration of justice was all the greater in that he had to present each year a report on the
current situation concerning the application of the death penalty. It would, however, be difficult
for him to arrive two days before the opening of the Sub-Commission’s session unless the
expenses were met by the United Nations. Having said that, he did not oppose adoption of the
draft resolution.
75. Mr. YOKOTA agreed with Mr. Joinet that convening the working group during the
Sub-Commission’s session would facilitate wide participation in its work. Nevertheless, the
working group would not be able, even with an extra night meeting, to get through its agenda,
which was very heavy.
76. With regard to the comment made by Mr. Guissé, he shared the view that persons
appointed as special rapporteurs should receive financial assistance in respect of their
participation in working groups and the expenses which that involved.
77. Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.30 was adopted.
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78. The SECRETARY read out the list of members of the working groups which would meet
before and after the Sub-Commission’s session in 2001, namely, the Working Group on
Minorities, the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations and the Working Group on Communications. Consultations were
proceeding with regard to representation of the Group of Western European and other States.
Draft resolutions relating to agenda item 4
Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.16 (The Social Forum)
79. Ms. MBONU hoped that the draft resolution, sponsored by 25 Sub-Commission
members, would be adopted by consensus.
80. Mr. BENGOA drew attention to an omission in paragraph 1 of the draft resolution. In
three working languages - English, French and Spanish - the words “or between sessions” had
been omitted.
81. Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.16 was adopted.
Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.20 (Intellectual property rights and human rights)
82. Mr. EIDE, presenting the draft resolution, noted that many people would like to see a
link established between trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) and human
rights. The very point stressed in the draft resolution, submitted in the context of WTO’s
consideration of the matter, was the need to take human rights into account in that context. He
noted that Ms. Hampson had some amendments, which he deemed constructive.
83. Ms. HAMPSON presented a number of amendments. Firstly, at the end of the first
paragraph the words “subject to limitations in the public interest” should be added. In the
fourth paragraph, the fourth word should be followed by “national, regional and international”.
In the fifth paragraph, “obligations and” should be added between “human rights” and
“principles”. After that paragraph, a new paragraph should be inserted reading: “6. Further
requests intergovernmental organizations to integrate in their policies, practices and operations
provisions, in accordance with international human rights obligations and principles, that protect
the social function of intellectual property;”.
84. Mr. GUISSÉ felt that, at a time when WTO was creating problems, particularly in the
developing countries, it would be premature to adopt a draft resolution that seemed to endorse
the existence of a highly controversial organization. The draft resolution should not be adopted
until it was known what WTO was going to do; he asked for its consideration to be deferred
pending a more detailed exchange of views on the subject in the coming years.
85. Mr. EIDE pointed out, in response to Mr. Guissé, that debate was currently taking place
in WTO on that topic, making it precisely the right time to stress the importance of human rights.
He also observed, with reference to paragraph 8, that the Special Rapporteurs on globalization
should likewise take into account the studies carried out by Mrs. Daes as Special Rapporteur on
protection of the heritage of indigenous people.
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86. Mr. BENGOA said he shared Mr. Guissé’s astonishment. He found himself confronted
with a draft resolution that had not been debated despite the complex issue involved. He could
therefore take no part in adopting it and would abstain if it were put to a vote.
87. Mr. ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ supported Mr. Guissé and Mr. Bengoa; he too had known
nothing about the draft resolution. He would not oppose adoption of the text by consensus,
subject to amending the last paragraph since, as it stood, it would be giving the Sub-Commission
an unbearable workload to continue consideration of the question at the fifty-third session under
the same agenda item. He suggested a rewording: “14. Decides to continue consideration of
this question at a future session, when it is felt appropriate”.
88. Mr. GUISSÉ, referring to Mr. Eide’s observation that the question had been considered
and discussed in WTO, noted that WTO was different from GATT; the latter had been an
intergovernmental body obliged to observe United Nations rules, which was not the case with
WTO. He had the feeling of being presented with a fait accompli. In his view, the draft
resolution had no place in a United Nations body. He would oppose it and, if necessary, call for
a vote.
89. Mr. OLOKA-ONYANGO said that, as one of the sponsors of the draft resolution, he
strongly supported it together with the proposed amendments, and disagreed with Mr. Guissé,
Mr. Bengoa and Mr. Alfonso Martínez. He recalled that the matter in question had been
considered in 1998 in the context of working documents relating to globalization in general and
to the question of human rights in relation to trade, investment and finance, as well as in the
Sub-Commission’s preliminary report, in 2000, on globalization and the full realization of
human rights. There had been explicit reference in those documents to negotiations on
trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS).
90. The previous year the Sub-Commission had adopted a resolution on the subject of trade
liberalization and human rights, which had made specific reference to WTO and had raised
questions concerning intellectual property rights. In his view, the current draft resolution was
entirely opportune and very positive.
91. Mr. EIDE expressed his astonishment at the reaction of certain members of the
Sub-Commission. The fact that WTO was not part of the United Nations system did not mean
that it was a private organization. The members of WTO had to take human rights into
consideration in the context of their activities in that organization. It was quite normal, therefore,
for the Sub-Commission to look at questions dealt with by WTO. He had no objection to
Mr. Alfonso Martínez’s proposal to continue consideration of the question at a later session.
92. Mr. JOINET supported Ms. Hampson’s proposed amendments, with which he had been
associated and asked to be a sponsor of the draft resolution.
93. Mr. ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ thanked Mr. Oloka-Onyango for the explanations he had
provided. The Sub-Commission had indeed already taken up the matter in the context of other
analyses and working documents, and he himself had been one of the first to acknowledge the
importance of the work. The subject should appear as an item on a future agenda of the
Sub-Commission and discussed in greater depth.
page 17
94. Mr. RODRÍGUEZ-CUADROS agreed that more time was needed for discussion of such
a complex question. It was important to consider the application of the intellectual property
regime to traditional skills, particularly those of indigenous peoples, also its application in the
case of certain medicaments, particularly those used to treat AIDS; both items were on WTO’s
agenda. Having said that, he supported the draft resolution.
95. Mr. YIMER, supported by Mr. KARTASHKIN, took the floor on a point of order to
request closure of the debate and adoption of a decision, in view of the many draft resolutions
still to be considered.
96. Ms. WARZAZI proposed, in order to shorten the discussion, that paragraph 14 should be
replaced by wording to the effect that the Secretary-General was requested to provide the Sub-
Commission with a report on the question at its next session. The Sub-Commission could then
debate the matter on the basis of that report.
97. Mr. JOINET supported that proposal.
98. Mr. FAN Guoxiang supported the draft resolution, but with some reservations.
Firstly, discussion of the matter should be continued at the next or a later session of the
Sub-Commission. Secondly, he wondered whether dealing with a question as complex as that of
TRIPS in the Sub-Commission, without it having fully pondered the matter with the involvement
of the special rapporteurs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, would
turn out to be positive or negative.
99. The CHAIRPERSON said she took it that the Sub-Commission wished to adopt the draft
resolution with the amendments proposed by Ms. Hampson and Ms. Warzazi.
100. Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.20 was adopted with the proposed amendments.
Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.23 (Promotion of the realization of the right to drinking
water and sanitation)
101. Mr. GUISSÉ said that, since all the members had helped to prepare the draft resolution, it
should be adopted by consensus.
102. Mr. JOINET proposed that it should be adopted not by consensus but unanimously.
103. Mr. WEISSBRODT said he would prefer an option by consensus.
104. Ms. WARZAZI, recapitulating the argument put forward in favour of adopting the draft
resolution unanimously, said that there was no reason for not doing so.
105. Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.23 was adopted unanimously.
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Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.36 (Optional protocol to the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
106. Mr. PINHEIRO said that the draft resolution was supported by all the sponsors.
107. Mr. JOINET recommended that the Chairperson should inform her counterpart in the
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that the draft resolution had been adopted
108. Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.36 was adopted unanimously.
Draft resolutions relating to agenda item 5
Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.3 (Traditional practices affecting the health of women and
the girl child)
109. Mrs. DAES, introducing the draft resolution, welcomed the constructive debate that had
taken place on the subject of traditional practices affecting the health of women and the girl
child. She drew attention to some alterations to the text. The first was to insert in the last line of
paragraph 1, between “in particular” and “crimes of honour”, the words “violence related to
dowry, violence in the family and”. The second was to replace, in paragraph 3, “devote part of
their activities to” by “pursue”. The third was to insert, before paragraph 9, a paragraph reading:
“Decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Halima Embarek Warzazi, by
two years and to request her to present updated reports to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-third
and fifty-fourth sessions”. The operative paragraphs would have to be renumbered accordingly.
110. Mr. GUISSÉ said he wished to be a sponsor of the draft resolution in view of the
alterations made by Mrs. Daes.
111. Ms. MBONU also asked to become a sponsor of the draft resolution.
112. Ms. HAMPSON, referring to the alteration proposed by Mrs. Daes to paragraph 3,
proposed retention of the original text but with the addition of “continue to” before the word
“devote”. She too joined the sponsors of the text.
113. Mrs. DAES accepted the modification proposed by Ms. Hampson.
114. The CHAIRPERSON said that Mr. Yokota, Mr. Alfonso Martínez, Ms. Zerroughi,
Mr. Sik Yuen, Ms. Frey, Mr. Goonesekere, Mr. Joinet, Mr. Eide, Mr. Rodríguez-Cuadros and
Mr. Yimer had also asked to be sponsors.
115. Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.3 was adopted unanimously.
Draft resolution E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.24 (Situation of women and girls in Afghanistan)
116. Ms. WARZAZI, presenting draft resolution L.24, read out an extract from an article
published in the Herald Tribune of 17 August 2000. According to the article, the Taliban had
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forced the World Food Programme to close bakeries run by women, which had been providing
food for thousands of women and children. That was a perfect illustration of the situation of
women in Afghanistan. She hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
117. Mr. WEISSBRODT said that, with regard to the substance, he supported the draft
resolution tabled by Ms. Warzazi; he himself had been a sponsor, the previous year, of a similar
resolution. But the Sub-Commission should not adopt resolutions on specific countries; the
decision adopted by the Commission on Human Rights to that effect must be taken seriously.
Since the Commission itself had stated very clearly, in its resolution 2000/18 of 18 April 2000,
its position on the problems facing women and the girl child in Afghanistan, the
Sub-Commission could always issue a statement by the Chairperson on the subject, as a
118. Mr. GUISSÉ observed that the spirit of the draft resolution presented by Ms. Warzazi
was the main point. The target was not the country of Afghanistan as such but a particular
situation, of which Afghanistan was the geographical setting. It was in that light that
Ms. Warzazi’s draft resolution should be viewed and supported.
119. Mr. JOINET thought that Mr. Guissé’s point was valid politically but not juridically. In
international law, a State was responsible for its citizens’ security. In any case, since the
objections raised to the draft resolution related only to drafting, not substance, he proposed the
latter form of a statement by the Chairperson.
120. Ms. WARZAZI said that she had consulted the secretariat about the draft resolution.
In its view, the Sub-Commission could adopt the draft without thereby contravening
decision 2000/109 of the Commission on Human Rights from a juridical standpoint. The device
of opting for a statement by the Chairperson was in fact a roundabout way of addressing human
rights violations in countries - one which was liable to set a precedent. She stressed that the draft
resolution dealt with gender-based discrimination; it would be for the Commission to rule on the
draft’s merits. She had already had consultations on the matter outside the Sub-Commission,
and many delegations had assured her that the draft did not come within the purview of the
Commission’s decision to exclude any reference to a particular country.
121. Ms. HAMPSON supported Mr. Weissbrodt; a statement by the Chairperson seemed the
only possible solution.
122. Mr. PINHEIRO said that he fully appreciated the points raised by Mr. Guissé. The
Sub-Commission should be bold enough to speak about the situation prevailing in that part of the
world and thereby demonstrate to the Commission on Human Rights its genuine concern at the
human rights violations occurring there.
123. Mr. GUISSÉ, referring to Mr. Joinet’s point about the State’s responsibility, drew
attention to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions to the effect that, when a State was
invaded, the invader was responsible for human rights violations committed on that State’s
territory. In the case of Afghanistan, it was up to the international community to come to the aid
of the invaded State. He recommended that the Sub-Commission should state its views on the
question in the form of a draft resolution, not a statement by the Chairperson.
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124. Mr. JOINET wondered whether the Taliban had Afghan nationality. Since the
secretariat’s conclusions, mentioned by Ms. Warzazi, supported her draft resolution, he would
join its sponsors. He requested the Sub-Commission members who were also members of the
Commission to draw the latter’s attention to the doubts expressed on the matter.
125. Mr. FAN Guoxiang, speaking on a point of order, proposed that the discussion should be
suspended until the next meeting.
126. Mr. WEISSBRODT, referring to the secretariat view mentioned by Ms. Warzazi, said
that, as he understood it, the secretariat recommended conversion of the draft resolution into a
statement by the Chairperson that could be adopted by consensus. In such a statement the
Sub-Commission could indicate that it was fully aware of the Commission’s decision but wished
to address the situation of women and the girl child in Afghanistan in view of its gravity.
127. Ms. WARZAZI said it was important to know whether or not, from a juridical
standpoint, the Sub-Commission was competent to submit such a resolution. She added that
Mr. Weissbrodt’s understanding of the secretariat’s view was not the right one.
128. Mr. ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ noted that the secretariat’s role was only advisory.
129. Mr. RODRÍGUEZ-CUADROS asked for the secretariat view, mentioned by Ms. Warzazi
and Mr. Weissbrodt during the meeting to be distributed in writing to the Sub-Commission
The meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.