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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the Opening of the Plenary on the Report of the Human Rights Council

New York, 4 November 2009

Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,

We meet today to consider the report of the Human Rights Council on its 12th Special Session. In this context, we shall also consider the report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the war in Gaza – headed by the distinguished international jurist Richard Goldstone.

The question before us is simple, despite the political sensitivities associated with it. We have to answer whether the respect of human rights is universal or not? Whether we should be divided on human rights issues or should we remain united behind advocating their respect all over the World.

The Report before the Assembly documents serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated against civilians. The report calls for concrete action by this Assembly and other United Nations Organs to ensure redress for victims, protection for the vulnerable, and accountability of all perpetrators. The General Assembly is fulfilling its responsibility today.

The Human Rights Council on 16 October 2009 welcomed the report and endorsed its recommendations. The report calls upon us to help to bring an end to impunity.  Let us be clear on what is at stake here: the human rights of nearly two million civilians. Without justice, there can be no progress toward peace.

Let us commit together to leave all politics and selectivity at the door, and take up the cause of justice, based on one universal set of rules. We should protect the rights of the victims. A human being should be treated as a human being regardless of his or her religion – being a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew or a Buddhist……. Regardless of his or her race – being white, black or yellow……..and regardless of his or her nationality.  

For the sake of human rights, let us stand united. I hope that the outcome of this debate will fully reflect this unity and would meet the expectations of the entire international community.

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