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Arab, African groups, OIC, NAM welcome Goldstone report

GENEVA, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- Reacting to the Goldstone report on the Gaza war, the Palestinian representative Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said Tuesday that this was a professional and unbiased report, which related to facts that could not be denied. "At the same time, it was a report that contained elements of violations of all parties based on the mandate given to this Mission by the former President of the Council. The result was an objective result. Palestine did not intend, unlike others, to use this forum to make a political statement," he added. Khraishi noted that the main mission of the Human Rights Council was to promote and protect human rights and to defend them all over the world. "This report was important; what bothered some parties was that the report simply monitored international law, international humanitarian law and all relevant international instruments. This was not a political instrument that supported Palestine or Israel," he said. He added that the report was important because for the first time there was monitoring and documentation of the massacres the Palestinian peoples had suffered, indeed were suffering from genocide. "Whilst there was not enough time to recall all the massacres, he mentioned but some, among them one that alone led to the killing of 3,500 Palestinian people. As for the last massacre that had taken place at the end of the last year and the beginning of this year, the Human Rights Council had decided to send a Fact-Finding Mission with regard to this," said Ambassador Khraishi.
Khraishi added that when he says massacres, he meant killings, killings of civilians, and not of combatants or armed groups. "This report should not be another report to simply archive; his people would not forgive if the criminals were left without punishment," said the Palestinian ambassador. On behalf of the Arab group, Tunisian Ambassador AbdelWaheb Jamal said that the Arab Group welcomed the Goldstone report and thanked the Mission for their enormous efforts to prepare this very important, objective and neutral report. "The Arab Group recalled that the resolution of the Special Session of last December had included a request to the President of the Council to establish an international Fact-Finding mission and thanked the President for his efforts that had led to the establishment of this international and professional group of experts that were specialists in their fields," he added. He said the Arab Group condemned the fact that Israel continued to refuse to cooperate with fact finding missions and Special Procedures, such as the Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, and called on Israel to comply with Human Rights Council and Security Council resolutions. The Arab Group, he said, insisted that it was necessary to bring to an end the Israeli occupation and that Israel had to respect international law. Nobody was above the law.
On behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Pakistani Ambassador Zamir Akram said that the OIC welcomed the fact-finding mission, and thanked them for presenting an objective, impartial and most comprehensive account of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem.
"The Special Session rightly asked for a series of reports, which confirmed fears and concerns expressed during this session on the violation of the human rights of defenceless Palestinians, in complete disregard of all international human rights and humanitarian norms," he said. Akram noted that an important facet of the report was its findings on the casual effects of the conflict, and it also confirmed the worst fears of the international community about Israeli violations that amounted to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. The OIC, he said, wished to remind the Council members of the pledges and promises made by all to make this body a truly impartial and objective on that strive to protect and promote the universal human rights for all in a non-politicised manner. "It was now the time for action; words needed to be converted into deeds," he stressed. On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Egyptian Ambassador Hisham Badr said that the NAM Movement welcomed the report submitted today, and would actively engage in the discussion in this regard, and the draft resolution submitted concerning the implementation of the recommendations contained therein. "Serious consideration of the report was of the utmost importance to ensuring the credibility of the Council through taking concrete follow-up steps aiming at holding accountable the perpetrators of such crimes, and bringing an end to the persistent situation of impunity and defiance of the law," he added. Nigerian Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi on behalf of the African group said that the group commended the Judge Godstone as the leader of the Fact-Finding Mission, and members of his team, who, in spite of all odds, undertook the mission requested by the Council. "The report was comprehensive and balanced. Although their work was difficult, and their mandate complex, they had discharged their responsibility with tremendous courage and commitment, which should encourage the international community to work further to resolve the situation in the affected regions," he added. He added that the African Group welcomed the report, and commended in particular the transparent and impartial manner in which the Fact-Finding Mission undertook its work, expending effort to obtain the cooperation of both sides, list the concerns of all, and undertake public consultations. "Similar enquiries requested by the Council in future should follow this exemplary lead. The impartiality and balance demonstrated in the findings of the report were welcomed, as it listed all violations of international humanitarian law and international law that occurred during the period. The violations were comprehensively reflected in the report," he added. He stressed that this Council would be mistaken if it presumed that this important report could be treated lightly.
"The Group believed that the issues were grave, the report credible, and the moment to act auspicious, with a positive commitment to resolve the long-standing human rights situation in the affected region," he said.
The Nigerian Ambassador said that the Council should not dilute its efforts by vilifying the Fact-Finding Mission members and parts of the report - no useful purpose would be served by compounding the human rights situation in the region through sheer rhetoric or failure to act. "The implementation of the report was crucial to addressing the pernicious issues of impunity and accountability which were critical to the improvement of global human rights standards. Faithful implementation of the recommendations would contribute immensely to the quest for peace in the entire region," stressed the African group. (end) hn.ajs KUNA 291650 Sep 09NNNN