|Statement by H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Yesui, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly, on Consideration of the Report of the 12th Special Session of the Human Rights Council|
New York, 4 November 2009
The Chinese delegation wishes to thank you for convening today's meeting under the recommendation of the Twelfth Special Session of the Human Rights Council. We hope this meeting will help draw the attention of the international community to the human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially the Gaza Strip, contribute to an early ending of the suffering of the Palestinian people, and move forward the peace process in the Middle East.
The Chinese government has followed very closely the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially that of Gaza. The blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip over the years, particularly the military action that started at the end of last year, has inflicted a serious humanitarian crisis on the Palestinian people, and caused enormous casualties to innocent civilians. Our hearts go out for the plight of the Palestinian people. On the other hand, we understand the security concerns of Israel, and are equally saddened by the civilian casualties of Israel. Such concerns, however, should not be an excuse for excessive use of force that brings damage to innocent civilians. Both the Palestinians and Israelis should enjoy the equal rights to survival and personal security. We oppose any violence against civilians, and urge the parties concerned to comply with the international humanitarian law and human rights conventions.
To truly improve the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, we hope Israel will heed the call of the international community, open the border crossings into Gaza, ensure unfettered access of humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to Gaza, stop construction of settlements and the separation wall, and stop forced demolishing of Palestinian houses and restrictions on the normal activities and freedom of movement of the Palestinian people. We hope the international community will render continued political and moral support to the Palestinian people, and intensify its economic, financial and technical assistance to ease the hardship still confronted by the Palestinian people. The parties concerned should immediately deliver on the assistance commitments they made during the donors' conference held in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt in March this year, and help the Palestinian people resume a normal and dignified life.
(Photo Courtesy: Xinhua / Shen Hong)
The Middle East peace process is now at a critical juncture. The humanitarian and human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory still presents a big challenge to the efforts to resume the Middle East peace process. The international community should remain focused on the situation and provide real assistance. We have noted the report and recommendations of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission of the Human Rights Council, which contain a host of targeted and operable steps. We call on all parties concerned to remain engaged in cooperation with the relevant UN organs and agencies, carry out independent and reliable investigation into all activities that violate the international humanitarian law and human rights conventions, and hold the perpetrators accountable. In the meantime, the UN organs and agencies should perform their respective functions, and work in strict accordance with their mandates.
Political negotiation is the only way out for the Middle East issue, and the cycle of violence goes nowhere. The parties concerned should continue to exercise restraint and refrain from any move that may aggravate the tensions. We hope both Palestine and Israel will stay firm to the conviction of peace talks, and work on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the principle of "land for peace" to strive for the goal of two states living side by side in peace.
The Chinese government is always committed to supporting the Middle East peace process. We support and have taken an active part in promoting peace, stability and development in the Middle East, have worked vigorously to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and support the positive role played by the Human Rights Council and other relevant UN organs and agencies. China will continue to work with the rest of the international community to make unremitting efforts toward the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Thank you, Mr. President.