International Committee for European Security and Co-operation - a profile
Selected I.C.E.S.C. Contributions 1995-2007, Quadrennial Reports 1999-02, 03-06
courtesy by: Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers  - URL: www.solami.com/ICESC.htm
related e-books: .../UNGA.htm ¦ .../rebirth.htm ¦ .../costbenefit.htm ¦ .../irancredo.htm ¦ .../deadlock.htm ¦ .../salve.htm
tks 4 notifying errors, ommissions & suggestions to: swissbit@solami.com ¦ +4122-7400362 ¦ 12 November 1997

Economic and Social Council
17 July 95    Aggression and Human Rights: Ethiopia 1935, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq 1995 -
         Will "Great Power" Complicity Undo the UN like it Destroyed the League of Nations?

UN Secretary General
26 April 95  UN actions favoring the Iraqi regime on the back of Kurdish rights & interests
14 Feb 96   Budgetary Relief - Independent of Eventual Implementation of SCR 986
27 April 03  Amsterdam Resolution adopted by the Assyrian Amsterdam Conference, *)
31 July, 10 August 06 Political Catalysts for Global Mideastern Package
9 Aug 06   Exit Pathway Indicators on Current Mideastern Conflicts
19 Aug 06   Si vis pacem para bellum!

Commission on Human Rights
10 Feb 95   Realization of Economic, Social & Cultural Rights of the Yezidi, J.B.Daud Baghistani
14 Feb 95   On the way to Mutually Beneficial New Horizons in the Middle East, Bianca Baghistani
16 Feb 95   Torture in Iraq (testimony), J.B.Daud Baghistani
27 Feb 95   Improving the Effectiveness of the Commission's Work, J.A.Keller
1 Mar 95   Towards a Europe-linked Referendum in Former Yugoslavia
2 Mar 95   Beyond Responsibility, Co-Responsibility and Guilt on Former Yugoslavia
3 Mar 95   Human Rights Situation in Iraq and in the Mosul Vilayet

Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination & Protection of Minorities
3 Aug 95   Hostage-Takings Are Not Helpful to Kashmir Cause
4 Aug 95   Towards a United States of Abraham in the Middle East, David Littman
7 Aug 95   Systematically Violated Minority Protection Obligations & Guarantees in Iraq
         (testimony), Sheik Adnan Othman Barzani
11 Aug 85   Vivant Sequentes: Let Them Live, Learn and Prosper (testimony), Hadi Baghistani
11 Aug 95   A European Solution to Turkey's Minority Problems
14 Aug 95   Christians as a Religious Minority in Iran (testimony), Father N.A.G. Topouzian
14 Aug 95   Recognizing the Rights & Legitimate Aspirations of all Peoples of Former Yugoslavia
16 août 95  Vers une véritable jouissance des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels,
    notamment par la jeunesse Algérienne (testimony), Said Lahlali
23 Aug 95   Promoting Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, J.A.Keller
24 Aug 95   Religious Liberty versus Religious Cleansing & Genocide, David Littman
8 Aug 96   A Pathway to Human Rights for Northern Iraq, Senator John Nimrod, **)
8 Aug 96   "OIL-FOR-FOOD" vs. ASSYRIAN PROPERTY RIGHTS IN IRAQ, **)

Commission on Human Rights - Working Group on Minorities - others
30 Aug 95   Evolution of the Term Minorities; Validity & Usefulness of Minority Protection Treaties, J.A.Keller
15 June 05   Quo Vadis Europa Helvetica?
16 May 06   Harvard & other impulses for unlocking the U.S./Iran nuclear gridlock, Philip Wainwright et al.
26 June 07   Edouard Brunner, MPD (Master of Parallel Diplomacy), obituary, Anton Keller
13 July 07   Rebirth of the Mosul Vilayet?, Ekopolitik, Anton Keller
9 Nov 07   Mosul Vilayet: a Pathway Out of Mideastern Gridlocks, Today's Zaman, Anton Keller
*)    developed in cooperation with the Mosul Vilayet Council
**)    submitted jointly by Transnational Radical Party &Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers


NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC, 25 July 2005, p.27
official I.C.E.S.C. profile
(http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/pdf/INF_List.pdf ¦ http://esa.un.org/coordination/ngo/activities/activities.asp?OrgID=308&Mode=view ¦ http://esa.un.org/coordination/ngo/search/DisplayOrgInfo.asp?OrgID=308)

YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 1995/1996
Edited by Union of International Organizations            entry #06695

International Committee for European Security and Cooperation (ICESC)
Comité International pour la Sécurité et la Coopération Européennes (CISCE)
Internationaal Comite voor Europese Veiikjheid en Samenwerking (ICEVS)
Contact: [cp. 2580, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland - t+f: +4122-7400362, swissbit@solami.com]

Founded 12 May 1968, Brussels, at First Advisory Meeting. First European Conference: 29 Nov - 1 Dec 1969. Vienna: First Assembly of Representatives of Public Opinion: 2-5 June 1972. Brussels. Also referred to as: European Security and Cooperation — Sécurité et coopération européennes.
Aims Permit public opinion to express options and claims concerning a system of European security and cooperation; ensure representation of this public opinion; promote and support actions based on such ground principles as renunciation of resort to force, inviolability of existing frontiers, non-intervention in domestic affairs, respect of national independence, equality in rights, sovereignty and territorial integrity of European States, respect of the right of peoples to self-determination, peaceful coexistence and good-neighbour policy.
Structure International Committee (meeting at least once a year): International Secretariat (meeting 4 times a year). Commissions (3): Cultural; Social and Economic; Human Rignts (all meeting once a year).
Languages English. French.
Staff Voluntary.
Finance Financed by national committees.
Consultative Status ECOSOC (#11719) (II); UNESCO (#11720) (C).
NGO Relations Member of NGO Committee on Disarmament (NGOCD, #09453).
Activities Meetings, seminars and scientific conferences on disarmament, European security and cooperation problems; exchange of information; cooperation with similar organisations. Supports the actions of the United Nations and the specialized agencies to consolidate peace and develop cooperation, especially in Europe.
Events Colloquium Berlin 1993, Paris 1994.
Publications Meeting reports and proceedings in English, French and German.
Members Committees or national groups in 22 countries: Canada, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, [Iraq,] Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK.

[ICESC's 1995 contributions to UN Human Rights Commission: www.solami.com/ICESC.htm ¦ .../a32b.htm]

[1994.09.01/D4136/D]

On the realization of the economic, social and cultural rights
and the right to development
in particular of the Yezidi as a religious Kurdish minority

STATEMENT made by J.B. Daud Baghistani, ICESC Deputy Permanent Representative
to the Commission on Human Rights under items 7 and 8 on 10 February 1995

    Mr. Chairman, our decision-making body, the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation adopted last Friday a mandate to support in particular the case of a little known Kurdish religious community, i.e. the Yezidi. I may thus be permitted to try to illustrate briefly some aspects of the present situation and prospects of the Yezidi in particular with regard to their economic, social and cultural rights, as well as with regard to their right to development. Originally, all Kurds were Yezidi - until they were converted to Islam, which was mostly by force. After centuries of suppression by other peoples and regimes, there are still some 500'000 Yezidi living in Northern Irak, while most of the some 200'000 who lived in Turkey have by now emigrated as refugees to Western Europe. This compares to a total Kurdish population of some 35 millions, of which 18 millions live in Turkey, 8 in Iran, 6 in Iraq, 1,5 in Syria and 2 millions in Europe and North America. At a later stage in this session we intend to present testimony on systematic gross violations of human rights through State agents in some of these countries, including genocidal practices, and we plan to submit for your consideration some proposals for effective remedies.

    To begin with, I am myself a Yezidi, i.e. an adherent of a Zarathushtra branch of the tree of the great One God religions. From 1971 to 1973, I have served as mayor of a key Yezidi town, Sindjar, which is situated near Mosul in Northern Iraq. From 1975 to 1984 I was a political prisoner in the Abou Ghreb prison of Baghdad, but I do not now want to testify about the tortures I experienced there.

    This being said Mr.Chairman, I am also not about to grind other personal axes. Rather, I am quite aware of the responsibilities which come with wearing a hat of an NGO who has been at the forefront of political research, networking and leadership. Concretely, the ICESC has contributed to practical achievements, like the Helsinki Agreements. It is sponsoring a lawmaker effort to resolve the Yugoslav crisis [see its Written Statement under item 12 "Beyond Responsibility, Co-Responsibility and Guilt on Former Yugoslavia", E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51]. And in the case of the Yezidi, particularly with regard to their right to economic, cultural and social development, the ICESC is looking at them with a view to help resolve some of Europe's actual and/or future political, security and energy headaches at its South-Eastern flank.

    Indeed, the proven petroleum reserves in the area formerly inhabited by the Yezidi are among the biggest in the world. Accordingly, far-sighted politicians consider investing in related efforts as securing Europe's strategic oil reserves. Some oil companies and governments have thus sought to make special deals with the respective governments in place. However, they seem to have overlooked some fundamentals, such as developing a more solid answer to the question:

Who, in international law, owns the land and petroleum resources in question?

For art.1 al.2 of the Declaration on the Right to Development of 4 December 1986 provides that

     "The human right to development also implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, which includes ... the exercise of their inalienable right to full sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources."
    More concretely, the ownership rights, as they were practised during the Mandate periode, are unconditionally protected in art.14 of the constitutive and still valid Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932 (reproduced in UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27; see also: E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48). Indeed, this article seems to have played a rôle both in Baghdad's decision not to accept the oil-for-food UN Security Council resolutions 706 and 712 and in the Security Council's reluctance to lift the oil embargo against Iraq even partially or temporarily, i.e. for flushing the Iraq/Turkey pipeline.

    Mr.Chairman, this is the point were we would like the Commission and all related UN bodies and experts to reconsider their position on old and mostly forgotten legal texts from the League of Nations. Fortunately, the UN General Assembly, with its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946, provided for the transfer to the United Nations system of the related political powers and functions. Yet, it remains for the General Assembly to take the necessary steps, and we recommend this Commission to develop and adopt corresponding language. Indeed - and at least in as much as the Yezidi are concerned - the UN and national authorities involved may wish to draw inspiration from the international minority protection clauses inscribed in both the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1932 Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq.

    In the case of Iraq this could provide an overdue way out - at least with regard to the humanitarian deadlock. A politically critical mass appears indeed to be shaping up in favor of a partial lifting of the sanctions on that part of the Mosul Vilayet which is no longer under the control of the Baghdad regime but is dependent on ever scarcer humanitarian relief paid by ever more overburdened Western taxpayers. In fact, already in November 1991, the former UN Special Unit for Iraq has agreed to such a differentiated approach by authorizing the demonstration of the technical feasibility to pump and refine oil for covering the local humanitarian needs. But so far, neither the Yezidi nor other internationally protected landowners have been able to arrange for the effective implementation of this formally recognized right to development. In the event, the Iraq/Turkey pipeline could be reopened under corresponding agreements. Properly arranged, this would not strengthen the hands of Saddam Hussein; instead it would benefit the sanctions-weary Iraqi people, notably the Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans living in the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet.

    Mr.Chairman, in the case of Turkey proper, it is less the Yezidi's landownership rights than their non-Muslim religion which avails itself for development. With fundamentalism a growing phenomen, it may be indicated for the Kurdish and the Yezidi leadership and for the Turkish Government to consider the international minority protection obligations Turkey incurred with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne as an opportunity to effectively strengthen the ranks of those opposed to an erosion of the laïc State. In return for their contribution to the stability of society and the State, the Yezidi could be recognized and effectively treated as the internationally protected minority which they are on paper - and should be in reality. Thank you, Mr.Chairman.



On the Way to Mutually Beneficial New Horizons in the Middle East
Through More Tolerance and Less Discrimination in Religious Matters
Also for Non-Muslims

STATEMENT delivered by Bianca Baghistani, ICESC Deputy Permanent Representative
to the Commission on Human Rights under items 20 and 22 on 14 February 1995

    Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to address this Commission and to expand on matters which my colleague discussed last Friday under the angle of the right to development of one non-Muslim minority, namely the Kurdish Yezidi who still live in Iraq and Turkey (in order to clarify things, the term Yezidi refers to the disciples of the One God and Creater, who is called Chode).

    Today, I will focus on practises notably in these countries which are seen to be contrary to the stipulations contained in the UN General Assembly "Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief". Some of these practises are not limited to Yezidi but affect fundamental treaty and human rights notably of other non-Muslims, such as Alawis, Armenians, Assyrians, Copts, Chaldeans, Druses and the Zarathushtrians.

 So, let me begin by quoting from this UN Declaration. Its article 2 says:

     1.     No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on the grounds of religion or other belief.

     2.    For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression "intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief" means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.

    Over the last 200 years, in some 70 campaigns to decimate or destroy the Yezidi population, over 500'000 Yezidi have been killed, over 50'000 woman and girls were raped and over 3 millions were forcibly converted to the Muslim faith, mostly under the authorities of countries of the former Ottoman Empire. Indeed, in most instances, the surviving members of the Yezidi community were subjected to pressure to convert to Islam. Neither the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, nor the Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 1932 (reproduced in: UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27) provided an effective barrier against these State terrorisms and violations of fundamental human rights. And under the presently discussed UN Declaration, the Yezidi of Iraq and Turkey fared no better.

    In Turkey, under the leadership of visionary and courageous personalities, the ill-advised failed policies on the Yezidi Kurds in particular seem to be on the verge to radical changes. Under the growing menace of a take-over by Islamic fundamentalists, even hard-core nationalists have begun to question old clichés and convictions and to look at the Kurdish question more in terms of possible alliances and genuine partnerships. This process has been helped by commendable positions and policies of restraint by the Kurdish leadership. This concerns not only the formal humanitarian law where the Kurds are now pledged to honor the fundamental Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol. It also has to do with their positions vis-à-vis all religious faiths, including non-Muslim minorities, such as Yezidis and Alawis. Some time down the road, this can be expected to bring effective help to these beneficiaries of the international minority protection guarantees written into the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

    However, on the surface of things and for the time being, the noticeable developments still point in the opposite direction. As an illustration, consider the following. As you know, this Commission's Special Rapporteurs on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq and on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution have yet to be allowed into either country for obtaining testimony on the spot. The Geneva Representative of the Mosul Vilayet Council (1) thus decided last autumn to avail his good offices in cooperation with friendly governments in order to bring witnesses and victims to the UN in Geneva for personal testimony. And while these on-going operations were successfully sabotaged by authorities in Istanbul, Damascus and even Amman on a number of cases, it is our privilege to convey to the Commission the following summary of the personal testimonies thus received from eyewitnesses and victims who made it to Geneva and who, in some cases, are available to give direct testimony to the Commission if it so wished. We bring this summary to your attention with all due care and reservations, and invite you to seriously consider what, if any, action to follow it up with.

     1.     In the government-controlled part of Iraq, the Yezidi, on religious grounds, are exposed to wide-spread, generalized and officially tolerated discrimination in the labor market, public offices and even in commerce (e.g. yoghourt produced by a Yezidi is shunned by Muslims).

     2.  In the government-controlled part of Iraq, some 300'000 Yezidi have been rounded up in seven concentration camps and are about to be "relocated" to unknown places.

     3.     Yezidi are being arbitrarily persecuted and depossessed of their property and real estate. Their wifes and daughters are being wantonly taken away from their family and raped, their husbands wantonly killed, and in practice no charges can effectively be brought by any Yezidi against, notably, government agents, for reason of an alleged governmental decree which provides the latter immunity from prosecution.

     4.     Reportedly, since the early seventies, Yezidi children were systematically brought to Iraqi health centers for vaccination, purpurtedly, but for sterilisation in fact.

 ________________
(1)     constituted on 15 May 1992 and consisting of some 250 personalities, parliamentarians and representatives of the Assyrian, Kurdish and Turcoman community of the 91000 km2 Mosul Vilayet which is situated to the North of the Baghdad Vilayet and which the League of Nations, in 1926, conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq rather than to Turkey



 Torture in Iraq

TESTIMONY of J.B. Daud Baghistani, ICESC Deputy Permanent Representative
to the Commission on Human Rights, under item 10 on 16 February 1995
(delivered in Arabic, authorized complemented translation)

      Mr.Chairman, I am not now speaking as a representative of our organization. Rather, with your permission Sir, I would like to give testimony and to speak of circumstances of which I have been a victim during nine years in the prison ofAbou Ghreb in Irak. My personal testimony is going to be on what I have experienced myself and on other things which I have seen during those nine years, and which have been inflicted on others, including representatives of the Iraqi people and of Iraqi minority groups.

      In 1975 I was arrested near Dohuk in the village of Holure by agents of the Iraqi security appartus. Then I was brought to the governorate of Kirkuk and later transferred to the Keradetmeriem at Baghdad for questioning by the Iraqi intelligence services.

      Mr.Chairman, all this is factual and can be verified. I am not going to make any false allegations, and I invite the Commission to examine these matters very thoroughly, e.g. by appointing a fact-finding Special Committee on Torture in order to verify in particular the things that I am going to speak about. I thus speak as a witness and there are other witnesses here in this room right now and who are willing to testify to the Commission at its convenience. I am not giving you any names now, as I have my reasons for that. And I am sure everybody understands that.

      It all has to do with the permanent scars, the torture signs you can all still see on my body. I am speaking not only about the cigarette buts which were extinguished on my hands. I am speaking also about the nails that were driven through my hands and through other parts of my body into the wooden panels of a room of the Abou Ghreb prison. This was at a time a certain Barzan Tikriti was at the helm of the Iraqi intelligence services. By now, of course, he is the head of the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

      Three months after my arrest in 1975, my first wife gave birth to a son, and a year later she was killed by Iraqi agents. Twelve years later, I saw my son for the first time in Germany, for I was not allowed to receive any visits when I was at the Abou Ghreb prison. Some of the inmates at the time were foreigners, and some of them are now also free and available for testimony, like John Smith, Donald Hager, Mr.Frank, and Mr.Charles who was sentenced to 20 years and who, as a close relative of a member of the British House of Lords, was released after three years due to the intervention by the King of Jordan.

      To give you an example of how the criminal justice system in Iraq operated at that time, the procedure I was involved in before the Revolutionary Court may serve as an illustration. The Court was presided by Muslim Al-Jeburi, who later became Iraq's Minister of Justice. We were 36 accused of political crimes against the State. Our group included innocent farmers, Kurdish peshmergas and three Iraqi opposition leaders of which one was wearing a red shirt. The presiding judge passed the following summary judgement without even a pretense of a court hearing: he said that those sitting to the right of the red-shirted man, me included, are to be executed, while those sitting to his left side are to serve life-sentences. And when the thus unaccounted-for red-shirted Iraqi opposition leader asked what is going to happen to him, the judge said simply that he can go home. So much for the mockery of justice which has passed as justice in Saddam's revolutionary Iraq.

      Mr.Chairman, as all of you can see in my case, and as investigations would verify in many others, Saddam's prisoners have been exposed to various routine torture practices, such aselectro shocks and unbearably painful beatings particularly of already swollen feet which then often necessitated amputations. Abdel Aziz Ukelli, the former Minister of Defense of Iraq, was also among the inmates of Abou Ghreb where, for twelve years, he was expected to be executed. During the Iran/Iraq war he was called by the Iraqi authorities for consultations, and when he refused to cooperate or share his views with his tormentors, he was given poison and he died fifteen days later. A sample of his blood was smuggled out of the prison for analysis in England. Dozens of other prisoners I got to know were also wantonly killed; I have transmitted a list of them to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq.

      Since my escape from Saddam's Gulag, I have never been safe from Saddam's henchmen, and I hope my testimony and undeterred work will encourage others to effectively stand up against this intolerable scourge on the Kurdish and the Iraqi peoples. On the 8th of July 1987, I was gunned down by Iraqi intelligence operatives near Stuttgart. Even after the Gulf war, Iraqi diplomats stationed abroad continue to threaten me and my family. Only two days ago, in this very room of the United Nations and in front of everybody of this Commission, I was advised of a veiled yet further Iraqi death sentence against me when, once again, they replied to our presentations by accusing me of having been trained in Israel and that my present wife is Jewish. Indeed, and those familiar with Iraqi laws know it well: anyone considered by Baghdad to be an Iraqi citizen who is accused of links with Israel is automatically and mandatorily subjected to a death sentence.

      In our presentations concerning the Yezidi as a persecuted Kurdish religious minority, we did not really address the religious discriminations of Jews by the present horror regime in Baghdad - simply becausethere are not too many Jews left in Iraq. We left the demonstration of this regime's persistent violations of Iraq's related international obligations to its own spokemen. And in this we were not disappointed when they blindly and repeatedly accused me of what, in the minds of some Iraqis, seems to be the ultimate crime, namely to be married to a Jew.

      Mr.Chairman, I am concerned with the freedom from mental and physical torture not only for myself and my family but also for those still in prison or otherwise subject to the arbitrariness of Saddam's regime, be they Yezidi or other Kurds or Iraqi. A few months ago, when I was in the liberated part of Kurdistan, I found children still to be totally scared of the American fighter planes which keep Saddam's army at bay. The reason for this is that they still confound these aircrafts with Saddam's death-bringing planes which strifed their villages and unloaded their poison gas bombs on them only a few years ago.

      Also, Iraqi prisons still hold hundreds of political prisoners which are incarcerated since around 1975 and thousands more who were thus muffled in more recent times. I can give you the names of Khalef Omar Askar andAlah Hashim, a Syrian, who was put in Abou Ghreb in 1978 when he was 14 years old. There are also some 5000 Tabaié who are not accounted for. All these "forgotten" prisoners, just as the rest of the Iraqi people who manage to survive in the prison called Iraq, have nobody to turn to and they cannot be effectively cared for as long as this rogue regime will remain in place.

      In conclusion, Mr.Chairman, I may add that Saddam achieved one thing in his life: with the exception of his family clan, he brought all Iraqi down on their knee, to a level of pre-industrial misery and helplessness. They are victims of a tyranny which has plundered Iraq's treasures, ruined its environment and betrayed its heritage of a great civilized culture. Iraq has degenerated and been turned into a fully brutalized society. In the interest of its excessively abused inhabitants, but also in the interest of regional peace and security, Iraq, in the borders of 1925, must remain under an international quarantine until conditions will have re-emerged there for the Rule of Law to be reality and to rule supreme. To this effect, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq, as well as the proposed fact-finding Committee, should be empowered and given the means to visit Iraq freely and independently of the whims of the butchers of Baghdad, e.g. by basing their mandate directly on the all-too-long-neglected and yet-to-be-enforced Security Council resolution 688.



Improving the Effectiveness of the Commission's Work
through pacta sunt servanda, in Iraq and elsewhere,
better use of existing instruments, like INTERNET,
and more imaginative human rights measures

STATEMENT made by J.A.Keller, ICESC Representative
to the UN Commission on Human Rights, 51st Session, item 11 on 27 February 1995

Mr.Chairman, since the end of the cold war - and partially even as a substitute for it - individual and group human rights have become a central issue in international relations. And both they and the related mechanisms are likely to become ever more important vehicles for seeking to bring about changes in many parts of the world not least in the political, social and economic realms. In this light, there is every reason to look not only for real and prompt improvements in the Commission's work, but also to ask whether the Commission's mandate, its structure and its mechanisms are still adequate.

Mr.Chairman, it is notorious that the UN General Assembly and the Security Council increasingly find it necessary to refer to NGOs and to call on their comparatively more flexible and more efficient cooperation for addressing man-made and other humanitarian disasters. Take for example the Security Council resolutions 688 on Iraq and the corresponding ones on former Yugoslavia. Sadly, this trend has yet to find its proper reflection in the way this Commission is set up and works. Indeed, a contrary picture is apparent here, where NGOs, year after year, find themselves ever more marginalized and even physically crowded out. Previously agreed upon practices, such as daily consultations between the Secretariat and NGO representatives have yet to be heard of again. And in one case, the response is still outstanding to a repeated request for proper guidance on particularly sensitive testimonies and on the recent blatant arrest at the airport in Istanbul of torture victims who were on their way to Geneva for testimonies in front of this Commission. But this is perhaps not the right moment for addressing those issues. Instead, I may point at some sources of inspiration for improving the effectiveness of the Commission's work. One is of the more distant past and concerns the mechanisms of the League of Nations's international minority protection guarantees. A second involves the Nonproliferation Treaty. And a future-oriented solution to the problem of disappeared persons involves possibly the INTERNET.

Mr.Chairman, in 1932, as a sine qua non obligation of its independence and continued existence as a sovereign State, Iraq solemnly incurred comprehensive and still binding international minority protection obligations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27, annex), providing, a.o., a) that "Full and complete protection of life and liberty will be assured to all inhabitants of Iraq without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion", b) that these and other minority protection stipulations "constitute obligations of international concern and will be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations", c) that Iraq may not alter or abrogate them unilaterally, and d) that in case of "infraction or danger of infraction" of any of these international minority protection guarantees, the United Nations General Assembly, in line with its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946 as the legal successor of the League of Nations, may now "take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances."

Mr.Chairman, the Iraqi Government likes to ignore or belittle this recently re-discovered Iraqi Declaration, but it has yet to demonstrate that it was ever relieved of any of these constitutive undertakings, or that they no longer apply in international law. In fact, the UN General Assembly formally and effectively transferred these and other political powers and functions to the United Nations system already in 1946, and the UN Secretariat confirmed the validity of these international obligations of Iraq in a special report (E/CN.4/367). Accordingly, and in light of the vast body of evidence compiled by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq (E/CN.4/1995/56) this Commission might start to make a real dent in the human rights conditions in Iraq and elsewhere by undusting and getting this old but readily available minority protection mechanism back into operation.

A further avenue for improvement concerns the Special Rapporteurs who are deprived of an opportunity to visit the countries concerned. Iraq and Turkey are cases in point. The leadership of the Mosul Vilayet Council decided to turn the table around by bringing the victims and witnesses to the UN in Geneva for direct testimony. This program is under way, and it cannot be blocked by either Iraqi or Turkish officials. But the recent arrest of 4 such Iraqi witnesses at the airport in Istanbul also highlights the Commission's responsibility for making sure that such obstructions of its work will not be encouraged by its failure to even take note of them.

To be sure, neither Iraqi nor Turkish officials have a monopoly for regrettable behavior. Nor are human rights violations confined to governmental levels. In fact, significant human rights abuses are often committed by non-governmental and even private sources and outside the reach of a free society's effective governmental controls. Of course, this phenomena is not new and the Commission has attempted to deal with its effects on numerous occasions. But there seems to be scope for improvements when one considers it from the angle of human rights violations associated with the proliferation and eventual use of weapons of mass destruction.

So far public attention almost exclusively concentrated on the governmental level of proliferation. This is particularly noticable in the presently re-debated Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Indeed, not all that can and should be done is in fact done on the very real and growing danger of proliferation by criminal organizations and other non-governmental entities (NGEs) with regard to materials which are capable of mass destruction, mass poisoning and mass infections. And while there appear to be neither ready nor easy answers for this, it would seem to be indicated that both the governments concerned and the Commission would take a close look into that.

On a more traditional human rights track, there is another universal phenomena of growing proportions. The subject is disappeared persons, persons being held in detention without trial, and persons being held incommunicado. This is an unbearable situation for the families concerned. And it is a stigma not only on the authorities involved but also on the responsible individuals.

From a huge number of cases, the following examples may serve to illustrate the problems. They concern another area which is outside of the world's public attention, i.e. Sindh on the Subasian continent. A Sindh leader, Dr Maqbool Khushik and two others reportedly were taken away from their homes by the Pakistan Security Forces three months ago. As yet they have not been produced in any Court of Law. The families have failed to locate them as the authorities have persistently refused to give any information regarding their safety, conditions and whereabouts. Experiences show that it cannot be excluded that they have been tortured and might in fact already have died in custody. Another illustrative case is that of the 92 year old Father of Sindhi nation, H.E. G.M. Syed, who is being detained without trial for demanding the right of self-determination for his people, and the government blankly refuses to produce him in front of any Court of Law, inspite of the appeals for his release from all over the world.

Perhaps, in these, as in most other cases around the world, an adapted version of the old principle of habeas corpus could provide effective relief. Concretely, the walls of silence and darkness must be broken down. Effective measures to make governments more responsive and accountable are thus called for. And if, e.g., some motivated and competent representatives of NGOs were to put their heads together and to start coordinating their intellectual, networking and other resources, appropriate ways and means are likely to be found to get the detaining authorities, or the responsible ministry, to effectively furnish the crucial information they have on any given person.

Perhaps, the agrieved family could be helped to effectively sideline the local and the national authorities and access directly the existing inquiry mechanism built into the mandates of the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, the Working Group on Forced or Involontary Disappearances, or of another suitable human rights body. The Center for Human Rights (CHR) might be equipped to make full use of the information technology. In cooperation with interested NGOs, it might allow itself to be accessed by individuals through INTERNET. And with the help of the information highways and corresponding resources, their present fax hotline might be developed into a joint CHR-NGO Red List which would be regularly updated and published on the INTERNET and as a Joint Written Statement under ECOSOC Resolution 1296 (XLIV).

And perhaps these already overloaded and underfunded UN institutions could be assisted by regional representatives who might be supported by local NGOs and funded from alternative sources not dependent on the themselves overburdened taxpayers, including sponsorships by privately funded Arts Ambassadors and imaginative commercial firms and private persons.


......
TOWARDS A EUROPE-LINKED REFERENDUM
IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA *
.....
WRITTEN STATEMENT E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47
submitted by the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation,
a non-governmental organization in consultative status (category II) [28 February 1995]
....
1.        The Serbs, Croats and Slovenes laid the foundations for modern Yugoslavia by suspending their overlapping territorial claims with the Pact of Corfu of 20 July 1917 (1) which contains some still useful fundamentals: 2.        In the Treaty of St-Germain-en-Laye of 10 September 1919 (2), which bears the signatures of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, i.e. the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, all inhabitants of the Serb-Croat-Slovene State were given treaty rights with regard to their life, liberty, profession, property and political assembly "without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion".  These treaty rights have taken precedence over any national "law, regulation or official action" (art.1) and - reflecting the above principles of the Corfu Pact - they could not be modified without the assent of the majority of the Council of the League of Nations. Moreover, these so-called minority protection stipulations were declared to "constitute obligations of international concern and shall be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations" (art.11).

3.        On 12 February 1946, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its Resolution 24 (I), providing that

4.     One or more UN Member State(s) involved in the 1919 Treaty of St-Germain-en-Laye may thus take the corresponding initiatives, providing notably for the constituent peoples of former Yugoslavia to organize a referendum which may be held before 31 December 1996.  In line with the above fundamental agreement of 1917, this could provide for each of them to freely exercise their right to either ratify or reject the dissolution of former Yugoslavia, and also to give each citizen of former Yugoslavia the opportunity to testify to his/her responsibilities as a  European citizen (3).

5.    In either case, the peoples and minorities of former Yugoslavia, with their active participation in this referendum, could demonstrate their determination to remain an integral part in particular of the European family of nations and, jointly, to become a full Member of the European Union as soon as possible - under either a joint Yugoslavian or Balkan umbrella.  They would thus vote neither for nor against, but remain open for an eventual peaceful partial or full reorganization of Yugoslavia (4) within or outside the framework of a Balkan Union, or of another suitable frame for economic, political and cultural cooperation and links.  No party should oppose corresponding efforts, and the Principal Allied and Associated Powers should avail their good offices to these effects.  In the event, any dispute involving territory might be bindingly settled by arbitration, with the President of the Swiss Confederation invited to preside over the proceedings.  The International Court of Justice could be called upon by any signatory to provide Advisory Opinions on questions of law or fact. Furthermore:

6.        The free exercise of each people's inalienable right to self-determination should be guaranteed jointly and individually by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers signatories of said 1919 Treaty.  Upon signature of this or a similar referendum plan by all parties concerned, and regardless of the outcome of this referendum - i.e. the dissolution and eventual reorganization of former Yugoslavia into the political units which have been, or may yet be recognized by individual States, the European Union and/or the United Nations - the Guarantor Powers should undertake to promptly develop such instruments and negotiate with the States concerned such conditions which would give full, timely and individually meaningful bearing notably to convention rights and to the international minority protection guarantees provided for in said 1919 treaty.  To these effects, the European Union and/or the United Nations should dispatch to the areas concerned Human Rights Monitors who should be duly nominated by the beneficiaries of such international guarantees; as such these monitors should be recognized notably in all related fora of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe and similar organizations.

7.        Upon signature of this or a similar plan by all parties concerned, and at least until the referendum would have been carried out, all contested territories in former Yugoslavia should be placed under the effective protection of a suitable international organization or alliance (6). Corresponding administrative agreements should be worked out forthwith between the latter and the local authorities and peoples.  And all military units presently stationed in these contested territories should be placed under an agreed over-all command:  in cooperation with UNPROFOR, this shall be implemented by the forces in place which are to be directed by correspondingly appointed senior officers and which shall be responsible for disbanding and disarming the militia, de-mining, rebuilding the infrastructure, etc.
 

NOTES

*     Reflecting the mandate given in June 1991 by the Presidency of the Yugoslav Chamber of Republics and Provinces (reproduced in E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29), this paper was prepared in cooperation with the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers and its research branch, CORUM (POB 2580, 1211 Geneva 2), with the participation notably of G.Arif, G.Arangio-Ruiz, D.Baghistani, M.Best, S.Keller, D.Kreuter Grant, P.Martin, D.Morrow-Patty, R.J.Parsons, A.Poulin, F.Ruiz, W.Simon, W.Spalding, A.Teitelbaum, C.Vieira dos Santos, P.Wainwright, A.Zilic and A.Zumach.  The editor, J.A.Keller, was alone responsible for eventual errors and omissions.  He wished to express his gratitude for the assistance and numerous services provided by the United Nations Office in Geneva, by the director of the United Nations Geneva Library and by the League of Nations archivist and their staff.

(1)     Peace Handbooks, Austria-Hungary, vol.II, Foreign Office, London 1920, p.35;  reproduced also in: UN document E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54.
(2)     Oarry, CTS 226, 182, also reproduced in: UN Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29, annex.
(3)     Andreas Zumach, in "The EU can break the deadlock" (The Geneva Post, 8 February 1995), stated:
          "A solution would be for the European Union to offer membership to Croatia, Bosnia,
     Serbia/Montenegro, Slovenia and Macedonia - under two conditions:
     1)   the return of all land, homes and property which were seized since June 1991 by military force or ethnic cleansing, thus providing for the return of all refugees and displaced persons and the rebuilding of a multi-ethnic society in each of the states.
     2)   the continuation of the war crimes prosecutions through the International Tribunal in The Hague and through national courts.  The offer of membership should be combined with a "Marshall" plan for the reconstruction of the war-torn regions.
          As citizens of EU member countries, the Serbs living in Croatia and Bosnia would no longer be dependent only on the governments in Zagreb and Sarajevo to ensure their minority rights and settle grievances.  They could turn to the EU institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg.  The same would apply to the Albanians in the Kosovo or to the ethnic groups in Macedonia.
          If the territory of the former Yugoslavia became part of the EU, the borders between Serbia and Bosnia or Serbia and Croatia would become as irrelevant as the borders between Belgium, Holland and Germany are today.  ...  Despite all of Belgrade's anti-EU propaganda since 1991, many Serbs and international observers  are convinced that in a referendum for EU membership 80 per cent of the population would vote yes.
          At the moment, the only one among the 15 heads of EU governments who - if at all - would have the political standing to initiate a correction of the EU's policy would be German chancellor Kohl. Such an initiative by the Bonn government could also finally overcome the suspicions about Germany's motives for recognition of Croatia and Slovenia felt in London, Paris and other EU capitals since 1991. These suspicions played a major role in shaping the British and the French policies toward the conflict in Yugoslavia, which in return are being perceived in Bonn as pro-Serb.  Because of these perceptions, the EU until today has (despite all declarations to the contrary) no common and coherent policy toward the conflicts in Ex-Yugoslavia.
          To grant membership to the former Yugoslav republics will undoubtedly cost the current EU members and their taxpayers a lot of money in the short term.  But to use this fact as a reason to refuse membership would be very shortsighted.
          A continuation of the current EU policy for another year and beyond will, in the long term, prove much costlier - financially and politically.  It might in the end even contribute to the disintegration of the EU."
(4)      Flora Lewis, "The Yugoslav Solution Is Yugoslavia", International Herald Tribune, 10 February 1995, and in: Foreign Policy Magazine, March 1995.
(5)      John Packer, "On the Definition of Minorities", in: "The Protection of Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities in Europe" (ed. J.Packer, K.Myntti) Abo Akademi University (Finland), 1993, p.23-65
(6)      based on the corresponding rights, obligations and authorities provided for notably in the 1919 Treaty, the United Nations Charter, UN General Assembly resolution 24 (1) of 12 February 1946, etc.



.
BEYOND RESPONSIBILITY, CO-RESPONSIBILITY AND GUILT
ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA ***
....
WRITTEN STATEMENT E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51
submitted by the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation,
a non-governmental organization in consultative status (category II)  [2 March 1995]

...1.     The International Law Commission presented its "Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court" and its "Draft Commentary" (A/CN.4/L.491/Rev.2; A/CN.4/L.491/Rev.2/Add.1, 2 and 3).  This coincided with numerous reports of alleged "genocidal practices" (1) in former Yugoslavia.  An ill-prepared post-cold war Europe had allowed old patched-over wounds from the First and the Second World Wars to fester and break open again.  It had witnessed in its midst grave violations of international humanitarian law for over three years.  And the daily horrors brought into its living rooms through television were authoritatively confirmed and further detailed by the Special Rapporteur in his reports on the human rights situation in former Yugoslavia (E/CN.4/1994/110).  Were the victims of these human aberrations thus about to begin to see some justice to be done?  But also: were the root causes of the conflict properly addressed, giving the wounds a chance to be healed and the spiral of violence to be arrested? (2)

2.     If the responsibility for these crimes was not limited to their physical perpetrators, did it extend to the "Schreibtischtätern" here and there, as was already admitted in the Nuremberg trials?  Did it include those in power who, through their actions and inactions, unwittingly or not, seemed to have violated the fundamental Corfu Pact among the constituent peoples of former Yugoslavia (see annex; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54)?  For had they not opened up the Pandora's box, weakened the forces of reason, and strengthened the hands of those who had discovered lies, deceit and atrocities to be shortcuts to their objectives, entailing no real risks for those eventually invited to the table?  Were they all free of at least moral co-responsibility for what happened and failed to happen in former Yugoslavia?  Also: what about the States and their leaders and officials who, through their actions or omissions had materially contributed to the course of events and thus may have committed internationally wrongful acts engaging the State's responsibility?  The still-to-be-investigated case of the allegedly legal UN arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina shed some preliminary light on related questions which seemed to be worth pursuing beyond these introductory observations.

3.     The International Court of Justice, in its Order of 13 September 1993, inter alia, observed that while "all parties to the [1948 Genocide] Convention have thus undertaken 'to prevent and punish' the crime of genocide", the Court was "not satisfied that all that might have been done has been done to prevent commission of the crime of genocide in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina" since the Court gave its Order of 8 April 1993.

4.     In his Separate Opinion, Judge ad hoc Elihu Lauterpacht raised the issue of co-responsability for the commission of the crime of genocide.  He did so by pointing out the foreseeable and under no pretext excusable genocidal consequences of an illegally, artificially and externally imposed weapons imbalance which in effect denied an internationally recognized State the most fundamental of its rights, namely that of self-defense.

5.     The British Foreign Office, in response to a letter to the Prime Minister on the matter, observed on 13 August 1993: "Security Council Resolution 713 applied to the territory of what was then the State of Yugoslavia.  In the view of the United Kingdom the Resolution continues to apply to the same geographical territory."  This novel approach to international law ignored that the UN deals only with States and not with geographical territories (3).

6.     Echoing a corresponding amicus curiae (4) to the Court, Judge Lauterpacht indicated that Security Council resolution 713 (1991) concerned an arms embargo against "Yugoslavia", that the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was admitted to UN membership on 22 May 1992 without any reservation, that SCR 713 was never and, in as much as it would have been against jus cogens, could never in law have been extended to any of the new UN members who had formed part of former Yugoslavia, that in law, therefore, it could not be "valid and binding in its operation against Bosnia-Herzegovina", and that those who operated its factual application, maintenance and enforcement had done no service to regional stability, humanity or the Rule of Law and, in fact and in law, might even have made "Members of the United Nations accessories to genocide".

7.     Did responsibility for an act involve only those ordering and committing it, as an Ambassador seemed to imply in the quote attributed to her by Anthony Lewis ("Yes to War Crimes Trials of the Beastly Commanders", International Herald Tribune, 28 June 1994)?  Or did it extend to "Those outsiders who connived it with the perpetrators of these crimes, the 'accomplices'," as Salah Ezz quoted the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ("Abetting Bosnian Genocide", IHT, 5 July 1994)?  What if the latter's contribution was perhaps less of a manifestly intentional or active, and more of an apparently "only" unwitting or passive nature, e.g. through omission?

8.     Largely inspired by the picture of Pontius Pilatus washing his hands in the case  the priests brought against Jesus Christ, i.e. innocenting himself through fence-sitting and deliberate non-exercice of his powers, Western thinking, as expressed in the common man's related attitudes tended indeed towards the general equation: inaction equals non-responsibility.  In contrast, Eastern concepts basically seemed to make no difference between action and inaction with regard to the responsibilities for the consequences entailed (5). The French penal code's article on "non-assistance to persons in danger" appeared to be the exception which confirmed the rule.

9.     The obligations under the Genocide Convention to which the Hague Court referred were not, of course, limited to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  The same held true for the Court's above-quoted critical comment.  Indeed, after the Second World War, with "never again" on everybody's mind, it was natural that each signatory unreservedly committed his State "to prevent and punish" the crime of genocide.

10.      A signatory State, in apparent law, could thus fail to take effective preventive action only as long as it did not formally recognize the danger or existence of genocide.  Several permanent members of the Security Council, had indeed failed to do exactly that.  This seemed to explain why the U.S. Ambassador had felt obliged to counter criticism by publicly seeking to limit the responsibility for what happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina to "the people who ordered and committed the crimes."  And why the former Prime Minister felt compelled to show the flag of a higher-than-State morality and, by lending her voice to the ordinary citizen's growing outrage, to occupy the moral high ground.

11.      Article 3 of the International Law Commission's Draft Articles on State Responsibility (6), stipulated:
    "There is an internationally wrongful act of a State when:
    (a)   Conduct consisting of an action or omission is attributable to the State under international law; and
    (b)   That conduct constitutes a breach of an international obligation of the State."

12.      And while the Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court dealt with individual alleged crimes, it was of interest to note its Article 39 which stipulated that "An accused shall not be held guilty: (a) in the case of a prosecution with respect to ... [e.g. genocide], unless the act or omission in question constituted a crime under international law".  Also, e.g., the Swiss penal code explicitly provided for non-prosecution of crimes commited in the line of professional or official duties.

13.      Passivity, inaction and omission to fulfil an international obligation were indeed "regular" political instruments, i.e. they formed part of the prevailing "political culture".  Article 3 of the above-quoted Draft Articles on State Responsibility was to eventually provide for clear co-responsibility of a State and its officials for an internationally wrongful act of that State in case of either action or omission being the material cause or contributor to a given damage.  Yet, as ratification of these draft articles was not imminent, there was no apparent danger for those in power anywhere to be actually dragged into court for abetting genocide in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina for their passivity, i.e. because of inaction or omission.

14.      Their case would be different (in theory) if it could be shown, e.g., that some officials, be it on their own or at the behest of superior powers, were scheming, misleading, rule-bending, etc. in order to prevent the Security Council or the General Assembly from being properly informed, counseled and thus enabled to take appropriate action on whether or not the arms embargo on "Yugoslavia" was legally applicable to Bosnia-Herzegovina.  It was understood that several such cases existed (7).  Yet, not least because the Bosnian Ambassador to the UN in New York apparently had a conflict of interest for reasons of his double nationality, it would be difficult to deny that the thus colluding victim too became co-responsible for what happened - or failed to happen.

15.      That and related cases thus risked never to be brought into the halls of justice, with only some visible wrong-doers eventually serving as scapegoats.  Moreover, the audience here and there found itself rather abused, confused and without any real moral or political leadership.  It was in desperate need for a ray of hope and constructive elements.  And much more than partial justice, distracting show trials and pseudo vengence for past and actual human aberrations and failings were needed - if it was to find the path towards a more enlightened, stable and worthwhile future.

16.      The above considerations, of course, were not intended to belittle the individual responsibility and guilt for the crimes that took place particularly in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  By putting into perspective those cases which might occupy the International Criminal Court, a voice is raised against the tendency to quickly forget all those cases which escape human justice.  And lessons were sought to be learned from the actions, inactions and omissions of those "Schreibtischtätern" and leaders who failed to live up to their responsibilities - and thus may have done more individual and collective harm than all those eventually brought to justice combined.

17.      Also, it was to remind all concerned, that they had a future to build and a past to repair and that they could not succede in either unless they faced the facts rationally, tolerantly and open-mindedly.  That each participant of the conflict had to live with and, in one way or another, had to stand for all of his actions and inactions, whether he "served" on the humanitarian or the conceptual, virtual or real killing, raping or torturing front, in the dirty tricks department and/or in the corridors of power at the UN or elsewhere.  And that irrespective of whether any one of those foreign and local "leaders" and "peacemakers" was ever to find himself in the docks for his hidden agenda and manifest co-responsibility for the desasters at hand, true salvation could only come from within, from working out solutions among all involved peoples themselves, and from looking and working ahead - together with his fellow-men.
....

*       *       *
Notes

*   This paper was prepared in cooperation with by the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers and its research branch, CORUM(POB 2580, 1211 Geneva 2), with the partition notably of:  G.Arangio-Ruiz, G.Arif, D.Baghistani, M.Best, S.Keller, D.Kreuter Grant, P.Martin, D.Morrow-Patty, R.J.Parsons, A.Poulin, F.Ruiz, W.Spalding, A.Teitelbaum, C.Vieira dos Santos, P.Wainwright, A.Zilic and A.Zumach.  The editor, J.A.Keller, was alone responsible for eventual errors and omissions.  He wished to express his gratitude for the assistance and numerous services provided by the United Nations Office in Geneva, by the director of the United Nations Geneva Library and by the League of Nations archivist and their staff.
**   This document is issued as received from the organization concerned.

(1)   The International Court of Justice, by its Order of 8 April 1993 concerning the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 September 1948 in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), responded to the complaint about "genocidal practices", inter alia, by directing the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to "take all measures within its power to prevent commission of the crime of genocide ... whether directed against the Muslim population of Bosnia and Herzegovina or against any other national, ethnic, racial or religious group".
(2)   To these effects, the "Action Plan for ex-Yugoslavia", proposed to the parties to the conflict on 9 March 1993, may still be helpful, as may the recently developed "Referendum Plan" (see also: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29, E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54).
(3)   If this were not the case, this ill-considered legal theory, if applied by analogy, would result, e.g., in the Eastern part of united Germany not to be covered by the NATO umbrella.
(4)   submitted by the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers in line with its mandate of June 1991 (reproduced in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29) to contribute to a peaceful and lasting conflict resolution in all of former Yugoslavia.
(5)   The market mechanism, e.g., offered an illustration of this difference: although decisions to sell or not to sell, like decisions to buy or not to buy, affected the wealth of any decider anywhere fully and on an equal level.  However, in comparison with their Eastern homologues, Western market players seemed to have more difficulty to recognize and adapt themselves to this fundamental market rule, and to give equal weight to one's market-related actions and inactions.
(6)Report of the International Law Commission (1973), A/9010/Rev.1, UN 1974, p.17.
(7)   As a result, the General Assembly resolution on Bosnia of December 1993 lacks all teeth; even the already integrated request to the International Court of Justice to provide an Advisory Opinion on the validity and applicability of the arms embargo to Bosnia-Herzegovina was thrown out at the last moment.

GE.95-12404


Human Rights Situation in Iraq and in the Mosul Vilayet (1)**

WRITTEN STATEMENT  E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52
submitted by the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation,
a non-governmental organization in consultative status (category II)  [3 March 1995]

1.          The International Committee for European Security and Cooperation traditionally has availed its good offices for the analysis, debate on and eventual resolution of conflicts of an international character, particularly those involving or eventually affecting European interests. When its governing body decided to concentrate its energies on the political, ethnic and religious problems of the area some called Kurdistan, while others refered to it as South-Eastern Turkey, Mosul Vilayet or Northern Iraq, it had not only looked at this area in terms of Europe's strategic oil interests. For this cross road of commercial and cultural exchanges between East and West was also known as the craddle of civilization, as the birth area of major religions. And the further its research and consultations progressed and penetrated the surface of this world of 1001 nights, the more the researchers found themselves confronted with a multitude of gross human rights violations. But the more they also learned to appreciate the history of this area and of its peoples as a source of inspiration for addressing, with a better vision, some contemporary human rights, economic and political problems which had festered and poisened the atmosphere for decades in that and other trouble spots of the world.

2.          Throughdirect testimonies, the I.C.E.S.C. had become concerned about what appeared as a persistent pattern of gross violations of human rights in Iraq. This included violations of Iraq's constitutive minority protection and other international obligations. If Iraq was to retain its independence and continued existence as a sovereign State, there was no way around strict and unbroken observation of these permanent obligations. Iraq chose to ignore this. Its leaders had their chance. Yet they hardly ever missed an opportunity to demonstrate their capacity for excesses. They failed too many of their fundamental obligations for too long. They failed them dishonorably. And the family of nations owed it to itself to draw the proper conclusions.

3.          One of the lessons of this failed experience was that if minority protection guarantees were to be reliable and to help resolve actual or future political trouble spots anywhere in the world, the beneficiaries of such guarantees should be given tangible instruments in order to effectively communicate related problems to the guaranteeing powers and obtain prompt redress. As repeatedly suggested by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq, the answer might be Human Rights monitors. Duly nominated by the people concerned, these monitors would not only provide a permanent check on Iraq's application of the post-Second World War humanitarian instruments, but they would also help enforce Iraq's comprehensive and still binding international minority protection obligations of 1932 which - as the I.C.E.S.C Representatives repeatedly had pointed out in their statements to the Commission - Iraq incurred as a permanently valid sine qua non condition for its independence and continued existence as a sovereign State.

4.          It was also important to note that Iraq's violations of its fundamental international obligations were neither new nor neglectable or any further tolerable. They went back to the very beginning of this artificially created State which was carved out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, genocidal practices were carried out against Assyrians in 1933, i.e. only one year after Iraq gained its independence. Most of the Kurdish Jews were driven out of Iraq after 1948. On the background of the Algiers Agreement of March 1975, genocidal practices were started in 1975 against the Yezidi as a religious Kurdish minority. As the Special Rapporteur had indicated in his report E/CN.4/1993/45 (paras 89-126), the genocidal practices against the Kurds as a whole had come to a peak in 1988 with the infamous Anfal program involving the destruction of over 4000 villages, including poison gas attacks against some Kurdish villages.

5.          Furthermore, first-hand information obtained by the I.C.E.S.C. indicated that some 300000 Yezidi were still being kept in concentration camps. Reportedly, the decision had already been taken to forcefully dislocate them to God knows where - as soon as the UN embargo will be lifted (as part of the Anfal program, some 180000 other Kurds purportedly were also forcefully moved "South" and were never heard of again; see the annexed list of wantonly distroyed Yezidi villages, as compared to the two Yezidi villages Iraqi diplomats cared to admit to still exist).

6.          And, of course, the conditions of attachment had never been met under which the League of Nations attributed the Mosul Vilayet in 1926 to the then still dependent Kingdom of Iraq rather than to Turkey. In fact, for the inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet, the human rights situation had continually and gravely deteriorated ever since. The conditions for corresponding external intervention on humanitarian grounds clearly were spelled out as any "infraction or danger of infraction" of Iraq's internationally guaranteed minority protection obligations. On the background of the Special Rapporteur's already ten voluminous reports on human rights violations by Iraqi agents, the conclusion was inescapable that these conditions had long been fulfilled.

7.          To the surprise of nobody then, none of the numerous UN resolutions on the human rights situation in Iraq really had made a dent on the behavior of the regime in place. As a justification for its abhorrent practice of mutilations, the Iraqi Government stated in its reply of 19 January 1995 (E/CN.4/1995/138, p.8) that "the severest punishment of the death penalty was no longer adequate or a deterrent" and that some of these new punishments, "such as the amputation of a hand, are an application of Islamic law". It was doubtful that outside Iraq many Muslim wished to be seen to be associated with such a reading or interpretation of the Holy Koran, and even though there were not too many clear voices to object, no Islamic scholar or religious leader was known to have felt comfortably about the fact that the Baa'thist regime of Iraq continuously abused the Islamic religion and its tenets in order to prolong the political survival of some criminal and bankrupt leaders.

8.          What's more, and regardless where such atrocities occured, the torture and mutilation of children marked a low point of civilization. The testimonies that were pouring in showed ears and even a nose of a child cut off by Iraqi agents. The I.C.E.S.C. had participated in a programm providing for some of these children to come to Geneva for testimony before this UN Commission. The case against the rogue regime of Baghdad had become such that a line had to be drawn by this Commission if it wanted to remain useful, credible and to serve as a deterrent against such human aberrations. To these effects, the I.C.E.S.C. shared the recommendations which the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers had previously addressed to the governments concerned and to those interested in prompt and effective changes of the human rights situation in Iraq.

9.          The Commission on Human Rights was thus called upon to take note of the international minority protection obligations which Iraq solemnly entered into with its Declaration of 30 May 1932 (E/CN.4/367; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27), providing, a.o.,

a)     that "Full and complete protection of life and liberty will be assured to all inhabitants of Iraq without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion",

b)     that these and other minority protection stipulations "constitute obligations of international concern and will be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations",

c)     that Iraq may not alter or abrogate them unilaterally, and

d)     that in case of "infraction or danger of infraction" of any of these international minority protection guarantees, the United Nations General Assembly, in line with its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946 as the legal successor of the League of Nations, may now "take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances".

10.          Accordingly, the interested governments were in a position to take appropriate actions, e.g. by way of the Commission

a)     inviting its Special Rapporteur and the General Assembly to consider the matter of gross violations of human rights in Iraq also in light of the rights and obligations the United Nations inherited from the League of Nations as the guarantor of the religious and other minority protection rights bestowed notably on the Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans of the Mosul Vilayet, and to take urgently effective corrective measures and to give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances;

b)     recommending that the General Assembly request, on an urgent basis, an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on whether or not Iraq is still bound by the constitutive Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932 and, in the event at the earliest opportunity, to attribute to the United Nations Trusteeship Council, or to another suitable United Nations body, the corresponding powers and functions referred to in its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946, i.e. those powers providing for the effective enforcement of said international obligations in those territories over which - in international law - Iraq never acquired full sovereignty, particularly in the Mosul Vilayet whose conditional attachment to Iraq may thus promptly be revoked, reversed or otherwise changed with appropriate unprejudicial interim measures (E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48), in accordance with the legitimate interests and aspirations of the peoples concerned, and in line with the applicable rights and UN Charter provisions; and

c)     inviting the General Assembly and other involved United Nations bodies to take into consideration and enforce the existing and future international minority protection obligations as contributing instruments for security, stability and rehabilitation in the Near East and other parts of the world (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54), and to provide for direct contacts between the involved United Nations bodies and Special Representatives which are duly appointed by the beneficiaries of these international human rights guarantees.
 

ANNEX

Following the Algiers Agreement of 1975, the Iraqi Government carried out what amounts to a predecessor to its notoriously genocidal Anfal program which the Special Repporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq has documented in his 1993 report (E/CN.4/1993/45, paras 89-126). It thus destroyed between July and December 1975 the following Yezidi villages and rounded up, confined and held ever since under quarantine some 300'000 Yezidi inhabitants in seven concentration camps situated near their ancestral villages (2) in the Shingal (Mosul) area.

Bakran, Barane, Borig, Depa, Duhole, Fayada, Ganne, Gatre, Girr-e-Araba, Girr-e-Gaure, Girr-e-Jame, Girr-e-Zirhe, Girr Zarik, Gund-e Fakira, Gund-e Jaffriya, Gund-e Khifsha, Gund-e Khinne, Gund-e Miskova, Gund-e-Pir Majdin, Gund-e Sheikh Baehri, Gund-e Sheikh Beshar, Guh-bel, Gund-e Hamde, Sheikh Halaf, Gund-e Hauweria, Gund-e Khidr Zohro, Gund-e Sheikh Khidr, Gund-e-Shune, Gund-ke-Ali Sorhe, Gund-ke Kushna, Halike, Hamadan, Karse, Khana Sor, Khane Shifra, Kolkan, Koyso Kecik, Kullakhan, Mamise Nakhsha Auty, Naniria, Nuhre, Oyse, Peelon, Rashd, Servar, Shenanik, Shkafta, Sikkenie, Simoka, Sinune, Sorka, Teraf, Tirbika, Usifa, Utjajime

Yezidi villages which still exist but are "Arabicized"

Ain Serni, Ba'adra, Bait Nar, Beristak, Bosa, Chorisa, Gabara, Issia, Jarachiya, Kandala, Karsafra, Mahmuda, Makubla (greater), Makubla (little), Mam Rasha, Nasiriya, Neiltshapa, Sheichan, Sheikhka, Taftiya
 

NOTES

(1)     Reflecting the mandate given by the Constitutive General Assembly of the Mosul Vilayet with its "Declaration of Separation from Iraq" of 20 October 1992, this paper was prepared in cooperation with the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers and its research branch, CORUM (POB 2580, 1211 Geneva 2), with the participation notably of B. and D.Baghistani, M.Best, D.Hariri, P.Keller, S.Keller, D.Kreuter Grant, P.Martin, D.Morrow-Patty, R.J.Parsons, A.Poulin, P.Querio, F.Ruiz, W.Simon, W.Spalding, C.Vieira dos Santos and P.Wainwright. The editor, J.A.Keller, was alone responsible for eventual errors and omissions. He wished to express his gratitude for the assistance and numerous services provided by the United Nations Office in Geneva, by the director of the United Nations Geneva Library and by the League of Nations archivist and their staff.

(2)     1. Al Uruba (original Kurdish name: Sorava); 2. Al Andalusa (Guh-bel); 3. Al Yarmuk (Burg); 4. Al Kadisa (Duhule); 5. Hut-tin (Dugirke); 6. Nahia; 7. Al Tamim (Khana Sor).

**     This document is issued as received from the organization concerned.

GE.95-12405




I.C.E.S.C.              INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
FOR EUROPEAN SECURITY AND COOPERATION

Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
box 2580 - 1211 Geneva 2
tel: 022-7360323, Europhone (41)89-2020902 fax: 022-7338671

26 April 1995

 re: UN actions favoring the Iraqi regime on the back of Kurdish rights and interests

Your Excellency,

     This is to present our compliments and to bring to your benevolent attention our subsequently summarized preliminary findings for analysis and comment.

     Since last February, on several occasions, we have encountered many obstacles of an administrative nature. Regardless of the purported reasons, these roadblocks, in effect, have all tended to be harmful to the Iraqi Kurds and to help Saddam Hussein: E.g. by hampering, to say the least, through administrative actions and indecision, a delicate, difficult and costly I.C.E.S.C.-supported programme which consists of bringing Iraqi torture victims and witnesses to Geneva for testimony before the UN Commission on Human Rights or its Special Rapporteurs (nota bene: the Center for Human Rights welcomed our programme with letters of 16 and 22 December 1994). By requesting, with an administrative ukase, the deletion of all references to the SCR 688 term "Kurdish" from the invitation to a commemorative reception on UN premises in Geneva which was planned for the participants of the 51st session of the Commission on Human Rights last February. By thus appearing to follow the lead of, and thus to give further comfort to Saddam Hussein who, too, has missed no opportunity to stamp out everything "Kurdish". And by thus appearing to abet the ethnicide which the Iraqi regime has inflicted on the Iraqi Kurdish population.

     Curiously, on the political level, too, the UN seems to persistently pursue a policy which is seen to help the Iraqi regime on the back of the formally UN-protected Kurdish population of Iraq:

     We would appreciate this letter to be brought to the attention of the Members of the Security Council. Taking this opportunity to assure Your Excellency of our highest consideration, we remain, sincerely yours,


Aggression and Human Rights:  Ethiopia 1935, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq 1995 -
Will "Great Power" Complicity Undo the UN like it Destroyed the League of Nations?

WRITTEN STATEMENT to the  UN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
submitted submitted by the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation,
a non-governmental organization in consultative status (category II)
under items 5a & 5d, in line with ECOSOC resolution 1296 (XLIV), art.24(e), 17 July 1995

1.          Yesterday, The Pope, John Paul II, said we are witnessing in ex-Yugoslavia a "defeat of civilization". This appeared to be due mainly to the UN Security Council's persistent collective failure

 2.          For the French President, Jacques Chirac, the "United Nations peacekeepers had become accomplices to Bosnian Serbian 'barbarity' and 'ethnic cleansing' against Muslim civilians" (Craig R.Whitney, International Herald Tribune, 15 July 1995). The former British Prime Minister,Margaret Thatcher, had already pointed to other "accomplices", i.e. to those with hidden agendas or who cannot make up their mind, to the "outsiders who connived [the Bosnian genocide] with the perpetrators of these crimes" (Salah Ezz, IHT, 5 July 1994; "Beyond Responsibility, Co-Responsibility and Guilt on Former Yugoslavia", E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51).

3.          And for the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs,Richard Holbrooke, "Sebrenica is an absolute disaster, the worst mess we have seen in Europe since the end of World War II. It is the greatest collective failure of the West since the 1930s [i.e. Italy's unopposed aggression against Ethiopia which encouraged German aggressions against its neighbors]" (Anthony Lewis, IHT 15 July 1995)."

4.          Mr.Holbrooke's reference to the 1930s is a reminder of what may now happen with the UN itself. For the League of Nations never recovered from its failure to effectively stand up for the principles enshrined in its Covenant in the Ethiopian and successive cases. And the U.S. Congress, foreseeably, is increasingly loath to help foot the bills of an institution which is "lacking guts". Indeed, as the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadruddin Aga Khan observed in his Sorbonne address of 25 October 1992 where he advocated the creation of security zones, all too often there can be no effective humanitarian relief without adequate military protection and, if needed, militarily enforced UN resolutions.

 5.          The lessons of the fall of Srebrenica will not be lost on those willing to recklessly pursue their own agendas. In several man-made humanitarian disaster zones around the world, agile leaders have already demonstrated what the prevailing international power vacuum can mean to them and to millions of civilians driven into their claws by confused world leaders which pass off empty gesticulations for real leadership.

 6.          The seeds for purportedly religious and ethnic large-scale conflicts grow into thornbushes fast and well. Already, unexpected alliances of dark forces cast long shadows with world-wide implications for peace, security and prosperity not only in the Balkans, the Caucasus and foremost in the Near East. The present Iraqi leadership thus appears encouraged to tough it out and to increase pressures on the populations of liberated Northern Iraq. These populations have been protected until now by Allied air power "enforcing" Security Council Resolution 688. The debacle in Bosnia-Herzegovina means a green signal for renewed aggressions against these formally protected populations - and for possibly others as well. Indeed, unopposed aggression anywhere is a sure-fire recipe for awakening and encouraging dark forces to seek control over the world's oil resources in particular.

 7.          Worse, the debacle in Bosnia-Herzegovina is already creating havoc in Northern Iraq in that some Kurdish party leaders, convinced that the UN will be no more active against them than it has been in Bosnia, entertain the luxory of bloody infighting and selling out to the highest bidder. With such practices, the Barzanis and the Talabanis of today and tomorrow also jeopardize the UN relief effort and whatever goodwill that remains for providing material and political outside help towards a lasting solution of long-festering problems. Indeed, they further undermine regional security and stability.

8.          To be sure, in both the Yugoslavian and the Iraqi situation, there are alternatives to present policies. The legal foundations for any Allied or UN military intervention rests not only on routine Security Council resolutions but on solid international treaties which link the Western powers with the countries concerned. And instead of the U.S. Senate compounding existing problems with a unilateral lifting of the UN arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina, it might be more advisable for an interested government to establish the legal nullity of that embargo against the victims through a Security Council or General Assembly request to the International Court of Justice for an urgent advisory opinion on the matter (article 96 UN Charter; e.g. Can a victim be considered to be a mere successor state of the aggressor?; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47). Echoing a corresponding amicus curiae(1) to the International Court of Justice, Judge ad hocElihu Lauterpacht indicated that Security Council resolution 713 (1991) concerned an arms embargo against "Yugoslavia", that the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was admitted to UN membership on 22 May 1992 without any reservation, that SCR 713 was never and, in as much as it would have been against jus cogens, could never, in law, have been extended to any of the new UN members who had formed part of former Yugoslavia, that in law, therefore, it could not be "valid and binding in its operation against Bosnia-Herzegovina", and that those who operated its factual application, maintenance and enforcement had done no service to regional stability, humanity or the Rule of Law and, in fact and in law, might even have made "Members of the United Nations accessories to genocide" (E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51, §6).

 9.          Similarly, in the case of Iraq, Western treaty rights exist for humanitarian and other interventions and the mechanism for genuine solutions are on the record (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27, E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48; E/CN.4/1995)NGO/52).

 __________________

(1)     submitted on 3 September 1993 by the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers (box 2580, 1211 Geneva 2) in line with its mandate of June 1991 (reproduced in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29) to contribute to a peaceful and lasting conflict resolution in all of former Yugoslavia.



Hostage Takings

WRITTEN STATEMENT  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/NGO/27
submitted by the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation,
a non-governmental organization in consultative status (category II) [3 August 1995]

1.   The International Committee for European Security and Cooperation, traditionally, refrains from taking side in conflicts, particularly in the non-European parts of the world.  Instead, it seeks to respond to corresponding suggestions by promoting among the parties concerned a better understanding of the often forgotten roots of a given conflict, and to offer its good offices and related research, analysis and communication services in particular (E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).  In this sense, the present paper focuses on Kashmir the territorial dispute over which has been the subject of close attention by the Security Council and other UN bodies.  And though the hostage situation there may be "resolved" one way or another by the time of publication of this paper, an objective account of the publicly available information may still be helpful for effectively addressing the issues involved, including those which are seen to have given rise to said abduction of 5 European and American nationals on a trekking trip in Kashmir and to similar but less publicized hostage-takings.

2.   Hostage-takings anywhere by anybody - be it an ordinary criminal, a guerilla group or government agents - are cowerdly and most reprehensible acts which cannot be tolerated by any responsible authority, nor must they be belittled or encouraged by those involved in efforts to fight human rights abuses by the authorities in place.  Perhaps in each case which hits the front pages we, the citizens, as the sovereigns of our societies, are predictably - and self-damagingly and dangerously so - not enough outraged, determined and capable to act on the level of the problem.  For our senses have become numb to such aggressions due to non-violent but no less real routine hostage-takings by striking employees of airlines, marine companies and other providers of public services.  This being said, and thus without in any way encouraging the degrading practice of hostage-takings, there appears to be no harm to try to shed light on the causes of such actions of dispair, to listen particularly to weak voices trying to communicate related grievances, and to seek ways and means to effectively alleviate them also by helping to re-establish the manifestly broken-down communication channels of the involved competing social and political forces.  In this sense, a closer look at the case at hand may offer insights and indicate possible pathways which may also be useful in other situations.  The I.C.E.S.C. has not yet received responses to all of its related communications; it thus presents, with all due reservations, the following personal account by a close Indian observer of the scene:

3.   "On the background of almost half a century of festering wounds inflicted on the Kashmir people after Britain withdrew from the Subasian continent, guerillas appeared in the Kashmir Valley in early 1990 in the wake of the retreat of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.  They stirred up the religious situation and caused public disorder.  They destabilised the local government, weakened the law enforcement machinery, and thus gave rise to an exodus of most of the ethno-religious minorities.  In response, the central authorities brought in security forces.  A climate of general uncertainty and fear descended upon the land and its people and human rights violations became rampant."

4.   "Kashmir is an attraction for naturalists, tourists and trekkers.  While trekking in the mountains of South Kashmir (Indian part), 4 Europeans and 2 Americans were kidnapped around 4 July 1995 by a group of armed men.  The names of the hostages are Paul Well and Keith Monigam (Britons), Donald Freid and John Childs (Americans), Dirk Hesert (German) and Hans Christian Ostro (Norwegian).  John Childs somehow managed to escape and was saved when an Indian helicopter spotted him over the barren mountains and picked him up."

5.   "In his subsequent statement, Mr. Childs said that there were 16 persons - 12 from the Pakistani part of Kashmir - 2 from Afghanistan, and 2 local Kashmiris acting as guides.  He specified that the kidnappers carried sophisticated weapons and communications equipment."

6.   "A hitherto undeclared militant group calling itself Al-Faran claimed responsibility for this kidnapping in a statement written.  In subsequent oral communications with the State authorities the kidnappers' spokesman spoke with a Pushtu accent (which is not spoken in the Kashmir Valley).  Al-Farhan demanded the release of 21 militants arrested by the Indian security forces in the course of their operations.  Among those demanded to be released were 3 top activists of groups based outside the Indian part of Kashmir, namely Masood Azhar of Kousar Spoty in Bhawalpur, Pakistan,  Sajjad Khan, chief of Harakatul Mujahideen of Rawalakot (Pakistani part of Kashmir), and the chief of Harakat-e-Jehad-e-Islami.  The latter two groups had merged to form Harakatul-Ansar, which has been listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department."

7.   "These kidnappings took place soon after the U.S. Ambassador to India, H.E. Frank Wisner, had paid a visit to Kashmir and met with leading dissident leaders.  Nevertheless, one dissident group, namely Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, issued a statement saying that Kashmiris expected nothing from the Americans."

8.   "One Indian newspaper, The Tribune of 23 July 1995, reported that the abductors had forced the hostages to march over some difficult mountain terrain, and that they were beaten up and suffered minor injuries when, due to their being exhausted, they balked at going any further.  Meanwhile, Indian authorities denied that any armed clashes took place between the security forces and the kidnappers."

9.   "The United States called upon the Al-Faran group to release all the captives unharmed.  Both the U.S. and the United Kingdom urged the chief of the Islamabad-based Jamiat-e-Ulema to use his influence and good offices with Harakatul-Ansar for the release of the captives.  Similar appeals were made by the Pakistani Prime Minister, the Organisation of Islamic Countries, and other organizations and personalities. In exchange for a prompt and unharmed release of the hostages, I.C.E.S.C. offered to sponsor a duly nominated representative so that the grievances which lead to the hostage-takings may be heard directly at the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.  The Indian government demonstrated considerable restraint in not storming the hideout of the kidnappers so as not to endanger the lives of the hostages.  Representatives of the American and the British embassies in New Delhi were moved to Srinagar to negotiate the release of their own and of the other nationals."

10.  This, of course, was not the first time that foreigners were taken hostage by militants.  It was as shocking - but unfortunately not lastingly awakening - as it was a telltale sign of the time we live and of developments that must be reckoned with when so-called "uncontrollable students" turned into hostages the entire staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979.  11 years later, even an internationally recognized government, Iraq, remembered the lessons to be learned from that gross aberration of civilized man, for in the wake of its invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, its leaders drove themselves into believing that they could effectively blackmail the world and get away with it.  And only a few months ago, members of a self-appointed government, longing for understanding of its cause, for recognition by the world community and for assistance for a viable way out of the present quagmire in former Yugoslavia, saw fit to turn UN "pacekeepers" into hostages, i.e. those who, on behalf of the same world community were putting their life at risk for a chance to prevent the conflict from escalating further and possibly beyond control.

11.  The Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly heard testimonies about the growing desert in the knowledge and application of the international humanitarian law, of the human rights conventions and of the thus-enshrined unequivocal prohibition and condemnation of the practice of hostage-takings, be it by private persons, state agents or those under the latters' control.  These practices have been recognized as gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The practice of blackmailing the legal authorities into releasing duly arrested persons violates the human rights of both the kidnapped persons and of those who were to be protected against further rights abuses by the arrested persons in question.  It undermines the Rule of Law at a time of increasing social, economic and political instability, unrest and even upheavals, i.e. when respect for the related principles are more than ever called for lest the ships of states further loose their stability, orientation and sense of purpose.

12.  I.C.E.S.C. invites the Subcommission and all in a position to be of help to take note of this state of affairs and to assist in every possible way not only in the prompt, principled and hostage-friendly resolution of the cases concerned, but also in making them less likely through securing the channels of communication to all those who consider themselves deprived of human rights and fundamental freedoms and have a story to tell to the world.  I.C.E.S.C. intends to continue to avail its good offices to that effect - as its token contribution to increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, to improvement of living conditions, and towards strengthened peace and security in any part of the world.



TOWARDS A UNITED STATES OF ABRAHAM IN THE MIDDLE EAST

STATEMENT by David Littman, ICESC Deputy Permanent Representative
delivered to the Sub-Commission under item 5a on 4 August 1995

    Sir, I thank the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation for this opportunity to address you. Mr.Chairman, instead of covering a number of issues on the broad front of racism and racial discrimination, we shall limit ourselves to showing how one of the oldest forms of racism in history - antisemitism - is being used ideologically to wreck the peace and mar the prospects of a Middle East reconciliation.

    Unfortunately, antisemitism - or judeophobia - was for forty years a taboo subject at the United Nations, for many reasons which it would be too tedious to enumerate again. It would be equally tedious to list the evils resulting from that shameful 1975 UN General Assembly resolution, which for sixteen years stimulated the spread of State-inspired antisemitism worldwide, under UN auspices, by the convenient subterfuge of amalgamating Zionism with racism. That taboo was only lifted in 1992 by the Secretary-General in his Annual Report - i.e. six months after GA resolution 3379 (XXX) was rescinded. Two years later, in a marathon debate, the Commission finally included "antisemitism" in its resolution 1994/64 on racism, just prior to a savage onslaught of racial hatred, unleashed by the forces of obscurantism, in their fanatical frenzy to kill Jews and derail the Middle East Peace Process.

    On 18 July 1994, a diabolical plan for the indiscriminate massacre of Jews gained momentum when about 100 people were killed and more than 200 wounded by an explosion in central Buenos Aires, followed by the blowing up of a Panamanian airliner that killed 21 persons; two further bombings in London on 26-27 July confirmed the determination of these religious devouts, who have since continued their jihad-terrorism in Israel and elsewhere, while concocting evermore international crimes worldwide, as is clear from recent arrests and discoveries in Copenhagen.

    Mr Chairman, one of the most widespread expressions of this racism is contained in a forged document called "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion". It is a tragic reflection on our times that The Protocols is still disseminated throughout the world, being regularly reprinted. But, as was stressed last year, it is in the Middle East and North Africa that this European forgery remains a repulsive bestseller of hatred. Professor Olivier Carré pointed out in a 1991 study that virtually all of today's militant Islamists expound a judeophobic doctrine, one of whose major ideological props is based on The Protocols, which they allege is an authentic Jewish blueprint for world domination. Many members of this Islamist International held a mass meeting in London's Wembley Arena on 7 August 1994, attended by over 8,000 supporters, mainly from abroad, and organized by Britain's most militant Islamist group, the Hizb ut Tahrir (HUT) - often engaged in virulent judeophobia - even finding a justification for the murder of Jews in January 1994, as a sanctified way of accelerating the advent of the "Last Day", foretold by a hadith.

    Sir, a Muslim bookshop (at 233 Seven Sisters Road), which prides itself on being "London's Window on Islam", is still selling a Beirut 1990 edition of The Protocols - a racist book-bomb, which we described in detail last year, and which we have brought as evidence for those interested experts.

    Even in Sweden, The Protocols was frequently used by Radio Islam (Swedish Islamic Association), which began broadcasting its antisemitic propaganda in 1987 from the vicinity of Stockholm, leading in 1989 to the longest and most extensive court trial of its kind, when the Attorney General successfully prosecuted Ahmad Rami, a Moroccan citizen, for "incitement against an ethnic group". The radio - with Iranian backing, among others - was closed down in 1992, after the Stockholm District Court's condemnation of its legal director, David Janzon, a member of the Swedish Nazi National League. What is referred to in Sweden as the "Rami-Bergman Affair" has ramifications at the University of Uppsala. We have copies here for the experts of the January 1995 four-page English report on this ongoing case by Professor Inge Lonning, theologian and former Rector of Norway's Oslo University, which we submitted with other data to Mr Maurice Glele Ahanzo, the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism. A country such as Sweden, with its democratic traditions, and an Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination, will surely succeed in resolving this matter, along the lines set out by Professor Lonning.

    Sir, a convinced believer in The Protocols is Sheikh Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, the spiritual guide of the Lebanese Hizbollah organisation - since the hostage-taking years till today - and a close collaborator of the Palestinian Hamas Movement, known for its suicide bombings and other forms of jihad-terrorism in Israel, and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, the Covenant of Hamas (August 1988) is a blueprint for politicide and genocide, declaring in art.32, with regard to both Jews and Zionists, collectively: "Their plan is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Its art.22 states that the Jews have been responsible for all the evils in the world for centuries, including the founding of the League of Nations and the United Nations.

    Although comparisons are inappropriate, on the negative side of the balance one should not neglect the serious problem of growing Jewish religious extremism, which has led to criminal acts against Muslims, particularly the gruesome Hebron massacre of 25 February 1994, which took the lives of 29 Palestinian men at prayer in the holiest of sanctuaries. The government of Israel must find a legal way to marginalise these Jewish extremists and muzzle the fanatics among them. Another highly dangerous development in Israel is the call by a few rabbis and religious leaders to disobey the law of the land, if they consider it contradicts their own interpretation of Mosaic law. We have condemned and shall continue to condemn such irresponsible and misguiding declarations, whatever their origin. Sir, these are a few of the grave obstacles that face those of us who wish to see a New World in the Middle East, in the spirit of those who strove decades ago to construct a New Europe.

    Mr Chairman, last October, a centenary commemoration took place in Vienna to honour Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, who first launched the Pan-European idea in 1922. On 19 September 1946 Winston Churchill made his famous "United States of Europe" speech in Zurich. That dream has taken nearly half a century to take root and that vision of a United Europe is growing yearly, although the atrocious tragedy that resulted from the break-up of Yugoslavia has gravely set back the clock. Over five years ago, when I first adapted Churchill's 1946 speech to the Middle East in general - particularly to the Israelo-Jordanian-Palestinian embroglio - I hoped that his memorable peace framework, proposed at a tragic period of Europe's history, might yet serve, not only as an inspiration, but as a model for those who desired a peaceful solution to generations of senseless conflict. That Statement - delivered to the Commission on Human Rights on 6 March 1990 - is integrated into our text, but I will reiterate only a few passages.

 [Statement by David Littman to the UNCHR on 6 March 1990:
     "I wish to speak today about the tragedy of the Middle East. This noble ancient region is the fountain of the three Abrahamitic faiths. It is the spiritual origin of more than half of humanity. If the Middle East were united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity and the glory which its tens of millions of people would enjoy. Yet it is within the Middle East that have sprung frightful nationalist and religious quarrels, which have wrecked the peace and marred the prospects of that vast area of the world. Yet all the while there is a remedy, which, if it were generally and spontaneously adopted by the great majority of people in these lands, would as if by a miracle transform the whole scene, and would in due time make all of the Middle East, or the greater part of it, as free and as happy as Switzerland is to-day. What is this sovereign remedy? It is to create a 'Family of Abraham', or 'Family of Ibrahim' - dependent on one's pronunciation of that hallowed personage - and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of 'United States of Abraham'. The process is simple. All that is needed is the resolve of millions of men and women to do right instead of wrong and to gain as their reward blessing instead of cursing.
     And why should a future United States of the Middle East not take its rightful place with other great groupings and help to shape the onward destinies of man? In order that this should be accomplished, there must be an act of faith in which millions of men and women, speaking their diverse languages, must consciously take part. With regard to the past, there must be what that great nineteenth century British statesman, William Gladstone, called: 'A blessed act of oblivion.' All must turn their backs upon the horrors of the past. All must look to the future. One cannot afford to drag forward across the years that are to come the hatreds and revenges which have sprung from all the various injuries of the past. If the Middle East is to be saved from infinite misery, and indeed from final doom, there must be this act of faith in the concept of a 'Family of Abraham' - a 'Family of Ibrahim' - and this act of oblivion against all the crimes and follies of the past. Can the peoples of the Middle East rise to the height of these resolves of the soul and of the instincts of the spirit of man? If they can, the wrongs and injuries which have been inflicted will have been washed away on all sides by the miseries which have been endured. Is there any need for further floods of agony? Is the only lesson of history to be that mankind is unteachable? Let there be justice, mercy and freedom. The peoples have only to will it, and all will achieve their hearts' desire.
     I am now going to say something that will astonish you. The first step in the creation of this Family of Abraham, or Ibrahim, must be a partnership between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians within that geographical area designated as 'Palestine' in the original 1922 Mandate for Palestine of the League of Nations. The structure of a future United States of Abraham, if well and truly built, will be such as to make the material strength of a single State less important. Small Nations will count as much as large ones and gain their honour by the contribution to the common cause. The ancient Peoples, Nations and States of the Middle East, freely joined together for mutual convenience in a Federal - or other system, might eventually take their individual places within this unifying concept, or condominium.
     I shall not try to make a detailed programme for tens of millions of peoples who want to be happy and free, prosperous and safe. If this is their wish, if this is the wish of so many peoples living in so many lands - comprising the very cradle of the most ancient civilisations of the Near East - they have only to say so, and means can certainly be found, and machinery erected, to carry that wish to full fruition. But I must give a warning. Time may be short. At present there is a breathing-space. The cannons have ceased firing. There is a lull in the fighting, but the dangers have not yet stopped. If there is to be a United States of Abraham, or whatever name it may take, work on this concept must begin now.
     I must now sum up. Under and within the world concept of the United Nations Organisation, one must create the Family of the Middle East in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Abraham, and the first practical step would be to form a Council of Abraham. If at first all the Peoples, Nations and States of the Middle East are not willing or able to join the Union, one must nevertheless proceed to assemble and combine those who will and those who can. The salvation of all the peoples in the Middle East must be established on solid foundations. In all this urgent work, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians must take the lead together. The United Nations Organisation, the European Community, the British Commonwealth of Nations, America and Russia - for then indeed all would be well - must be the friends and sponsors of the new Community and must champion its right to live and shine. Therefore I say to you: 'Let Abraham, let Ibrahim arise!'
     Winston Churchill's vision of Europe has taken nearly half a century to become reality. May Arab and Israeli political leaders and intellectuals - and also the representatives of all the region's minorities - act with determination, so that peace and reconciliation will come at last to the Middle East, in an upsurge of enthusiasm. If this should be the people's desire, surely wise leaders would wish to achieve, within the next decade, genuine peace and reconciliation (sulh in Arabic; shalom in Hebrew). Was it not written in the prophetic Biblical Book of Joel (2:28): 'Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.' May the dialogue begin now, perhaps even here at this Commission!"]
 *           *           *

    Mr Chairman, it is written in the Book of Proverbs: "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (29:18). We are not at the end of the vision, of the hope, of the dream. And therefore, we appeal to the experts to take a small step along that road to peace in the Middle East, by adapting once again a positive resolution like last year's Resolution 1994/13.

    Sir, a new spirit of mutual acceptance in the Middle East can only flourish when an essential goal is attained: individual security for all! Without that spirit and that guarantee, the vision of a loose Confederation, leading to an even wider regional grouping - a "United States of Abraham", for instance - would remain a barren dream, a pipe-dream; and even a strategic "Ibrahim oil-pipeline" from ancient Mesopotamia to Europe would not suffice to transform national hatreds into mutual cooperation.

    First, it must be stressed that such visions can only develop if democratic institutions and respect for human rights become the natural bedrock of civil society in all the countries of the Middle East. We believe that there must be a wide range of possibilities for new forms of regional integration, which should include: Regional Security, Individual Security, Economic Cooperation and Development, and a Spirit of Mutual Acceptance. Regional Security will require conventional arms control (including, eventually, chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons), military confidence-building measures along the lines developed in the CSCE process by the then Warsaw Pact and NATO, and transparency in arms production, sales and purchases.

    Regional security will also require a more balanced relation between Syria and the Lebanon, whose independence should be guaranteed after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from its soil, linked to a broad economic and social integration between the Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the future Palestinian entity or State. Any Israeli withdrawal from the Golan plateau is only possible when there will be mutual confidence, backed by solid military guarantees that could include an American military presence, as has existed in the Sinai over the past dozen years. Syria is a key to regional peace and that key is in the hands of President Assad, who assumed power over twenty years ago and has since ruled the country with an iron fist, but is ailing and still undecided. This present uncertainty notwithstanding, the momentum of the peace process has attracted other Arab countries further afield. Apart from the inspiring Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel, Morocco and Tunisia have taken giant steps along the road to reconciliation - and some of the Gulf states have been encouraged to board the Orient Express.

    Sir, Iraq also must one day become a partner in this Global Peace Process, once the chains of bondage have been loosened on its martyred populations, and they be allowed to live in peace (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/NGO/48). More than six years ago, on 6 February 1989, we concluded a Statement to the Commission on the subject of Saddam Hussein's brutal atrocities committed against the Kurds of Iraq, at a time when few voices in United Nations bodies were raised to denounce those ongoing crimes against humanity. This text is available [annexed to our Statement of 24 August 1995], and we wish to conclude today with our conclusion then, which followed John Donne's moving words on the theme For Whom The Bell Tolls:

     "Mr Chairman, the bells are tolling - distant and faint though they may be - from the Kurdish regions of Iraq. They must give all of us cause to pause, to think, to meditate and to pray that this Commission will act now on this awesome human tragedy."
    Sir, the plight of the Kurds was a subject of concern for the League of Nations over seventy years ago. This greatly wronged people, this Oppressed Nation, surely deserves the Subcommission's compassion, and its prompt pragmatic action (E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).



SYSTEMATICALLY VIOLATED MINORITY PROTECTION OBLIGATIONS
AND GUARANTEES IN IRAQ

TESTIMONY of Sheik Adham Othman Barzani (free translation)
delivered in Arabic on behalf of I.C.E.S.C. to the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission
under items 17, 18b, 20 on 7 August 1995

    Thank you Mr.President for this opportunity to address this Subcommission. My name is Sheik Adham Othman Barzani. I am a religious leader belonging to the Barzani tribe of Northern Irak, and my colleagues and I have come all the way from Kurdistan to testify before this Human Rights Subcommission on the atrocities, crimes against internationally protected minorities and violations of human rights of which the Iraqi and the Turkish Kurds, and our tribe in particular, have been victims. I am most grateful to the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation and to friendly governments who made this possible in the face of considerable visa and other obstacles put in our way by objective allies of the regime in Baghdad.

    Let me begin by stressing that ethnic and religious minorities have been persecuted in Iraq almost from day one of Iraq's independence in 1932. Iraq's Assyrian community was practically wiped out in the well-known genocidal campaign of 1933. As ICESC reported to the UN Commission on Human Rights in February of this year, in the wake of the Algiers Agreement of 1975, some 300000 members of a Kurdish religious minority of Iraq, the Yezidi, have been evicted from their ancestral lands and were put into concentration camps (E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52). As reported to the Security Council on 15 February 1995, the Baghdad regime, ominuously, has begun to move these forgotten slave-laborers to other places. This has awoken all-too-fresh memories of some 180000 Kurdish men, women and children who were also, purportedly, moved to new agricultural areas, but were never heard of again and probably fell victim to Iraq's official genocidal Anfal program, according to the authoritative account of this Subcommission's Special Rapporteur on Conditions of Human Rights in Iraq (E/CN.4/1993/45, §§89-126).

    On the background of this genocide, the Halabja poisen-gasing of some 5000 villagers and other officially developed and effectively executed genocidal practices, the story of my tribe, the Barzani tribe, is merely a contributing element to an already definitive picture of persistent official crimes by the Iraqi regime. As such, however, this story and further elements seem to deserve your attention. Perhaps less for putting it on the Subcommission's already horror-saturated record. But for juxtaposing it to all minority protection obligations and guarantees which may be taken into consideration in the case of Iraq. And for seeking inspiration from the related instruments for drawing the right conclusions and initiating possible appropriate actions.

    At nighttime of 31 July 1983, Iraqi governmental forces arrested some 3500 men, women and children from the Barzani tribe. Their age was between 14 and 70 years. They were brought to special restricted camps in Northern Iraq near Arbil (Koshtapa 1, Koshtapa 2, Behirke, Hareer and Diana). This operation was carried out under the direct supervision of Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan Tikriti, who was then head of the Iraqi secret police.

    Among the arrested victims were my father and 35 members of my family. Until now, none of the involved families received any official word of the fate or whereabouts of their disappeared beloved ones. All related efforts by the UN, ICRC, Special Rapporteur on Iraq, NGOs, etc. failed. The Iraqi regime has either ignored related pleas, or it has stone-walled, denied the undeniable and lied through its teeth - just as it has done in the case of the missing and unaccounted-for Kuwaiti prisoners-of-war, the nuclear and biological weapons programs, and the hideouts of chemical weapons and SCUD caches.

    After the Second Gulf War and when the Iraqi military were exhausted, the Baghdad regime took advantage of Iranian opposition forces, i.e. the "Mujahidin Khalk" which have been stationed on its territory from the time of the First Gulf War. According to one of their former leaders with the name of Jamshid Tafrishi - an engineer who lives now in Hamburg (Germany) - these units have actively collaborated with the Iraqi regime, including in the field of chemical weapons. These Iranian units were directly involved in the Iraqi offensive against the Kurds of April 1991 in the areas of Kirkuk, Qara Hanjeer, Kifri and Altun Kopri. This collaboration has its history; it goes back to the time of the Shah, according to documents in our hands.

    On the other side, and after the Allies not only had declared but actually enforced the protected zone of the Mosul Vilayet (Northern Iraq) as a "safe haven" which was off limits to Iraq's military and administrative control, the Turkish military begun to launch repeated large-scale attacks on the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet. Under the pretext of seeking to eliminate sanctuaries of guerillas of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Turkey thus shelled and bombarded many villages near the border. As a result of two such massive attacks in March and July 1995, 70 civilians were killed, and several hundred wounded persons and refugees further burdened the already over-loaded health service and NGO-supported humanitarian aid system both of which also suffer from the double embargo imposed by the UN and Baghdad. Some 170 villages - which were rebuilt after 1991 with the help of CARITAS and other humanitarian NGOs - were either destroyed or badly damaged, and hundreds of local inhabitants were again made homeless and were relocated to such "safer" areas as Berwary Bala and Mizoori.

    Mr. President, the sad truth is that the 10 reports published by the Special Rapporteur on Iraq have made no dent so far on the human rights situation of Kurds in Iraq. The same holds true for the numerous resolutions which this Subcommission or other UN bodies have adopted so far on either Iraq or Turkey. Perhaps the time has come for looking again at the validity and usefulness of the minority protection clauses another generation of human rights experts wrote into key documents dealing with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. And, as Danilo Türk noted in his paper dealing with the League of Nations' minority protection system (in: Henri Giordan (ed.), "Les Minorites en Europe", Editions Kime, Paris 1992, p.452), perhaps a renewed reading of those clauses will confirm the affirmative conclusions particularly on Iraq, as contained in the UN Secretariat's note of 1950 (E/CN.4/367). Otherwise, in effect, we all will relieve the Iraqi regime of solemnly entered constitutive obligations which, moreover were guaranteed by the League of Nations and whose surveillance and enforcement have indeed been transferred to the UN system by way of UN General Assembly resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946.

    In this sense, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities may thus find it indicated formally to take note of the international minority protection obligations which Iraq solemnly entered into with its Declaration of 30 May 1932 (E/CN.4/367; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27), providing, a.o.,

a)     that "Full and complete protection of life and liberty will be assured to all inhabitants of Iraq without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion",
b)     that these and other minority protection stipulations "constitute obligations of international concern and will be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations",
c)     that Iraq may not alter or abrogate them unilaterally, and
d)     that in case of "infraction or danger of infraction" of any of these international minority protection guarantees, the United Nations General Assembly, in line with its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946 as the legal successor of the League of Nations, may now "take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances".
    Specifically, the Subcommission may thus consider taking the following steps:

1.     It may invite its Special Rapporteur and recommend to the General Assembly to consider the matter of gross violations of human rights in Iraq also in light of the rights and obligations the United Nations inherited from the League of Nations as the guarantor of the religious and other minority protection rights bestowed notably on the Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans of the Mosul Vilayet, and to take urgently effective corrective measures and to give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances.

2.     It may recommend that the General Assembly request, on an urgent basis, an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on whether or not Iraq is still bound by the constitutive Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932 and, in the event at the earliest opportunity, to attribute to the United Nations Trusteeship Council, or to another suitable United Nations body, the corresponding powers and functions referred to in its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946, i.e. those powers providing for the effective enforcement of said international obligations in those territories over which - in international law - Iraq never acquired full sovereignty, particularly in the Mosul Vilayet whose conditional attachment to Iraq may thus promptly be revoked, reversed or otherwise changed with appropriate unprejudicial interim measures (E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48), in accordance with the legitimate interests and aspirations of the peoples concerneyd, and in line with the applicable rights and UN Charter provisions.

3.     It may invite the General Assembly and other involved United Nations bodies to take into consideration and enforce the existing and future international minority protection obligations as contributing instruments for security, stability and rehabilitation in the Near East and other parts of the world (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54) and to provide for direct contacts between the involved United Nations bodies and Special Representatives which are duly appointed by the beneficiaries of these international human rights guarantees.

4.     It may request its Special Rapporteur on Iraq to consult with the CICR and other suitable NGO's and to report on the fate of prisoners and detainees in Iraqi camps and prisons as a result of the Yezidi rounding up, the Anfal campaign, the disappearances of most of the Barzani tribe, etc.

5.     It may call upon the General Assembly and the Security Council to provide for or arrange for the extension of the present protected zone to include the entire Mosul Vilayet, including the cities of Kirkuk and Mosul, in order to effectively protect all of its indigenous Kurdish and other inhabitants against further human rights violations, including the right to economic development - naturally, free of UN embargo measures directed against the Iraqi regime - as well as the right to development of the resources owned by them in accordance with the Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932 (art.14).

6.     It may call upon the Security Council to effectively enforce in particular its own humanitarian resolution 688 (1991) and to give proper consideration to related obligations incurred by Iraq.

7.     It may invite the governments of the transit and the UN host countries to more effectively see to it that duly appointed representatives of the inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet and of other beneficiaries of international minority protection guarantees shall be able to travel unhindered to and from the areas concerned, so as to enable them to effectively communicate with the related UN bodies and generally carry out the tasks entrusted to them.



A EUROPEAN SOLUTION TO TURKEY'S MINORITY PROBLEMS(*)

WRITTEN STATEMENT submitted [11 August 1995] by the
International Committee for European Security and Cooperation,
a non-governmental organization in consuttative Status with ECOSOC (category II)

    The Ottoman Empire can be seen as a several hundred years success story with regard to the co-existence of a multitude of ethnies and religions, some of which were non-lslamic. This success was based on a considerable local autonomy and community self-govemment (family law, milliet system, etc.). The attempt of the Ottoman rulers to imitate Western centralized administration brought an end to this well-enrooted method and rapidly caused the collapse of the whole Empire. Perhaps then, in modern Turkey, too the time has come to draw inspiration from these time-tested de-centralized administrative methods as a solution to its minority problems. However, reconverting to a de-centralized federal administration is a relatively costly process for a developing country like Turkey. Which is where the European community (which is naturally pre-occupied with the problem of stability on its Eastem borders) could effectively help with imaginative political and self-financing economic aid. Following are some key elements and postulates which might thus be considered for reaching a mutually satisfactory global solution of some actual problems.
1.     Representing a European NATO country desiring to fully develop its integration into the evolving European structures, the Turkish Government should explicitly accept its special responsibilities for securing stability and peace in the Middle East whose strategie oil reserves are vital to the world's economy.

2.     Peace, stability and prosperity for the Kurds and other minority peoples in this oil- and water-rich area is an indispensable precondition for the unimpeded development of these strategie resources. Involving several mideastern nations, the problem of the Kurdish and other minorities cannot be solved by one nation alone. With the territory of Turkey being the homeland of a large part of these minorities, Turkey, too has a vital interest in an early, global and satisfactory solution to the problem of these minorities on a regional basis. Turkish efforts to obtain such a global solution should not imply an intention to interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbors.

3.     Aware of these fundamental problems and needs for a regional solution, the Council of the League of Nations, in 1925, attached the Mosul Vilayet only provisionally to the nascent Kingdom of Iraq and, in 1932, imposed permanent, internationally guaranteed minority protection obligations and servitudes as a sine qua non condition for Iraq's continued national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Successive Iraqi regimes persistently violated these minority protection obligations (1933 genocide of Assyrians, 1948 expulsion of Jews, genocidal practices against Yezidi since 1974, genocidal Anfal program since 1986, etc.: E/CN.4/1993/45 paras 89-126, E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52). In the wake of the 1991 Gutf War, the populations of the Mosul Vilayet have finally rid themselves of the oppressive Iraqi administration without, however, disposing of the resources to succede in organizing a stable government, capable of controlling the whole territory and guaranteeing peace, law and order. The resultant instability and lawlessness at its own borders has been a cause of legitimite concem for the Turkish Government which may thus wish to call on the international community to co-assume its responsibilities in that area by actively participating in a global solution, with an interim presence of UN or Allied troops stationed in the Mosul Vilayet.

4.     The inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet have an overriding interest in close relations with Turkey. As Turkey is their natural outlet for Kurdish oil exports to Europe, the same holds true for the Mosul Vilayet Council, which equitably represents the Mosul Vilayet's Assyrians, Kurds and Turkoman and is their supreme political body.

5.      Last winter, some Turkish and Kurdish personalities and representatives have met privately in Switzerland in order to explore new vistas, identify common grounds and work out guiding principles and aims for addressing common problems.   Following is the draft text agreed at that time:

"For centuries, within the confines of the Offoman Empire, the destiny of the Kurdish People, in partcular, has been closely linked with that of the Turkish People. The Empire's dissolution and the creation, on its territory, of successor states by more or less interested third parties has taken place under conditions which have not always given proper consideration to the involved peoples' legitimate rights and aspirations. Accordingly, avoidable problems threatening peace and security in the Near East have been created, have festered unattended for decades and, ever more pressingly, are awaiting to be genuinely and lastingly resolved. The undersigned representatives of the peoples concerned have thus agreed to the following principles and aims:
1. The Kurdish People and the Turkish People each have their distinct historical, cultural, linguistic and religious roots, which have not only contributed to each others' evolution and present conditions but, under the guidance of enlightened and competent leaders, may yet inspire new phases and adapted forms of mutually beneficial cooperation. As such they deserve each other's recognition and full respect, particularly as regards the Kurdish and the Turkish Peoples' traditions, experiences and aspirations conceming their One God religions.
2. Each people is responsible for the actions and inactions of the representatives it entrusted with public powers and which it allows to be exercised on its behalf. Against its will and without effective recourse to genuine redress or peaceful change, no people should endure the dominance of or the discrimination by another people or the burden of a non-consenting community, nor should it be made to accept being oppressed by or to oppress or interfere in the affairs of another people. Accordingly, it is in the interest of all concemed to honor and responsibly exercise the rights to self-determination which were granted to Turkey's constituent peoples notably in the Turkish National Pact of 1920 and which are further guaranteed by the United Nations Charter. Turkey's minority protection obligations conceming non-Muslims, as enshrined in the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, shall be developed into instruments which also provide individually relevant genuine protection notably against cultural, religious or ethnic discrimination. And the international minority protection guarantees contained in that 1923 Treaty shall be developed into reliable and effectively accessible monitoring and redress instruments, e.g. in the form of Special Minority Representatives who are elected by the beneficiaries of these guarantees and who shall also be communicating directly with the guaranteeing institutions or powers.
3. The Kurdish People has no desire to see Turkey weakened or even broken up [since the successor states could be far more hostile to the Kurds]. In fact, it would welcome an opportunity to contribute to the eventual correction of the injustice done to Turkey when, in 1926, its eastem border with the Kingdom of Iraq was imposed on it by third parties. The Mosul Vilayet was thus conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq rather than to Turkey and Iraq's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, since 1932, has been subjected to corresponding strict conditions which were violated by successive [Iraqi] regimes (UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/ 27). This correction [which would be decided by the inhabitants of Mosul Vilayet and Turkey] may take the form of special economic relations or even reattachment to Turkey. Eventually it will be decided by the inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet in light of Turkey's handling of its minority questions (UN document E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48).
6.     In light of the persistent human rights violations established by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Iraq (E/CN.4/1995/56), on the basis of both UN General Assembly Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946, as well as the "Declaration of Self-Determination" (15 May 1992), the "Separation from Iraq" and the "Mosul Vilayet" Declarations (20 October 1992), and the "Unity Declaration" (31 May 1994), Signatories of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 and/or States who have undertaken to guarantee the international minority protection obligations Iraq incurred with its "Declaration" of 30 May 1932, are thus called upon to take the necessary initiatives in order for the appropriate UN bodies to "take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances", including revocation of the conditional attachment of the Mosul Vilayet to Iraq, and lifting of the sanctions inadvertently imposed on the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet which, by Iraq's admission and due to its inhabitants' courage is, since 1991, no longer under Iraqi control but shall be placed under UN Trusteeship independent of Iraq, in line wrth the guarantees set out in the 1932 Declaration.

7.     For the duration of said UN trusteeship (10-25 years), and in cooperation with the Mosul Vilayet Council, one third of the petroleum export revenues (made possible through exemption from UN sanctions of the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet and a stable, friendly Turkish Government) should be allocated, on a soft loan basis, for rehabilitation (de-mining, reforestation, etc.), reconstruction and humanitarian aid programs favoring primariiy individual war victims in the Mosul Vilayet, Turkey and Iraq.

8.     Assuming the Turkish Government to be interested in mutually helpful and constructive ways out of the present impass, it could avail itself in this sense of the internationally guaranteed minority protection obligations it incurred with the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 (art. 38-44) by recognizing them to fully apply to its Alawites, Yezidi and other religious communities desiring to be so recognized. In this case, a key incentive for their emigration to Western Europe would be eliminated, and the reconstructive potential of these citizens would again become available for being applied in their often devasted home regions. In the event, it would seem indicated to see to it that all State organs fully cooperate with duly elected representatives of these communities who, in all matters pertaining to these guarantees, would be empowered to act as Ombudsman and to communicate directly and effectively with the guaranteeing Great Powers Signatories of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923.

9.     Genuine representatives of the Alawi, Yezidi and other minorities not now adequately represented in the Turkish Parliament should be recognized as such and avail themselves of the opportunities for informal discussions wrth representatives of the Turkish Government to be arranged, e.g. in Geneva, by suitable govemmental or non-governmental organizations.
___________
(*)     This paper was prepared in cooperation with the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers and rts research branch, CORUM (POB 2580, 1211 Geneva 2). Those who, in one way or another, have contributed to this paper include notably: G.Arrf, B.,D. and H.Baghistani, R.de Gendt, S.Keller, P.Martin, D.Morrow-Patty, A.Poulin, G.Poulin, S.Rostam, F.Ruiz, W.Simon, C.Vieira dos Santos, and P.Wainwright. The editor, J.A.Keller, was alone responsible for eventual errors and omissions. He wished to express his gratitude for the assistance and numerous Services provided by the United Nations Office in Geneva, by the director of the United Nations Geneva Library and by the League of Nations archivist and their staff.



VIVANT SEQUENTES: LET THEM LIVE, LEARN AND PROSPER

TESTIMONY of Hadi Baghistani
delivered to the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission
on behalf of I.C.E.S.C. under item 16 on 11 August 1995
(read by Adbul Rahman, ICESC translator & aide-de-camp)

    Thank you Mr.President. My name is Hadi Baghistani. I am an Iraqi Kurd who has found temporary asylum in Germany. I am grateful to the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation for giving me the opportunity to speak before this Human Rights Sub-Commission. I speak only on behalf of myself and my agrieved family, and I do this in my personal search for giving a positive, constructive meaning to the death of my beloved wife Gülnaz Baghistani, also a native of the Mosul Vilayet.

     Mr. President, Gülnaz and our five small children joined me in Germany only a few months ago. She was extremely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in various parts of Kurdistan, as well as about the dispairing and apparently hopeless situation in the man-made humanitarian disaster zone of Northern Iraq. Gülnaz tried her best to support the 10000 Kurds who have been imprisoned in Turkey for political reasons and who had begun a hunger strike in order to promote a negotiated solution to Turkey's festering "Kurdish problem". The on-going hungerstrike has also been intended to get Turkey to fully apply the international humanitarian law to its internal conflict, i.e. tomatch the Kurdish leadership's subscription to and respect of the 1977 Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions. On this background, the police of Berlin tried to force Gülnaz to abandon her own eight-day old hungerstrike. Unfortunately, they did so with means which caused seven other co-hungerstrikers to fall into a coma, and which were fatal to Gülnaz who passed away the following day, on the 27th July 1995.

    But I am not here to point fingers - neither against any German, nor against any Turk or other national. Instead, and in the spirit of Gülnaz, I shall confine myself to the agenda item which is the promotion, protection and restoration of human rights at national, regional and international levels. With your permission, Mr.President, I shall focus on the geographical region of Kurdistan, more precisely on Eastern Turkey and on the Mosul Vilayet which some see not only as the craddle of major religions and civilization but also as a key area for future regional peace, stability and prosperity. I will outline concrete measures which have been inspired by the death of my wife and which have now already been initiated in favor of dependents of victims - in either camp - of political or armed struggles for human rights. And I will develop some background elements and practical suggestions towards reconciliation between the peoples living in this still non-pacified area of the former Ottoman Empire.

    To begin with, I am happy to report that the decision and corresponding legal steps have been taken for the creation of the GÜLNAZ BAGHISTANI FOUNDATION, which is to be placed under the surveillance of the Swiss Federal Council. According to the adopted statutes, the purposes of this foundation shall be, notably:

   "a)     to provide the elements and incentives towards assuring the material, social and cultural well-being of the dependents of those who, with their lives, paid the ultimate price in their efforts to bring about fundamentally improved conditions in any part of their ancestral lands either in the Mosul Vilayet, or in other parts of Kurdistan;
     b)     to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and effective cooperation among the residents of any and all parts of Kurdistan, as well as with the national authorities concerned and with the neighboring peoples, without regard to such particularities as ethnicity, race, nationality, religion or language, through educational, media and political means; and
     c)     to facilitate the re-opening, operation and extension of the Ibrahim pipeline (which links the Mosul Vilayet, in Northern Iraq, with Turkey and which is a crucial access road to Europe's strategic petroleum reserves)".
    To these effects, this international foundation, in cooperation with other groups pursuing similar objectives, shall do everything in its powers to bring about the necessary decisions notably at the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, in line with
    "a) the internationally guaranteed property rights, as enshrined in the still legally valid constitutive Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932,
     b) the UN General Assembly Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946, and
     c) the Unity Declaration of 31 May 1994 of the Mosul Vilayet's communities, parliamentarians, parties, professional associations and personalities.
    The GÜLNAZ BAGHISTANI FOUNDATION shall be endowed with titles to no less than five percent of the net export and transit revenues generated from operating the Ibrahim pipeline. This is guaranteed by the Plenipotentiary of the Mosul Vilayet in Geneva, acting also on behalf of the landowners concerned (Separation from Iraq and Mosul Vilayet Declarations of 20 October 1992, Landownership Title of 15 May 1992). And it shall be secured, made to work and made to effectively benefit the peoples and victim families concerned by proper representation of the involved indigenous peoples in the Foundation's management and supervision."

    Mr. President, another milestone and vehicle on the path to Turkish-Kurdish reconciliation is called for in the form of a fundamental pact between the two peoples. Great statesmen always were visionaries with the courage and capacity to recognize failed policies and to open up practical pathways to new and more promising horizons. Although publicly proclaimed and maintained policies and daily practices still fail to reflect corresponding developments, leading personalities in both camps have indeed come to recognize the need to review past policies and alliances and have begun to look for new and old sources of inspiration and to search for opportunities for viable and mutually beneficial solutions to meet the present and the emerging legitimate aspirations and needs of the peoples concerned. In this sense and to these objectives, Mr.President, it is my privilege to point out a few elements and suggestions which were developed by concerned lawmakers in the form of a draft Turkish-Kurdish Pact:

    In conclusion, Mr. President, I may invite the Sub-Commission to encourage the parties to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict to draw inspiration, courage and strength from these elements, and I may express my deeply felt hopes with the words: Vivant sequentes, let the dependents of our own and of our adversary's victims and martyrs, let our elders, colleagues and children live, learn and prosper - in security, mutual respect anddignity.



CHRISTIANS AS A RELIGIOUS MINORITY IN IRAN

TESTIMONY of the Very Reverend Father Nshan Ara Garabed Topouzian
delivered on behalf of I.C.E.S.C. to the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission
under item 4 on 14 August 1995 [see also: Iranian roots re-emerge]

    Thank you Mr.President. My name is Father Nshan Ara Garabed Topouzian. I live in Tabriz, but I am not an Iranian citizen. I am the Representative of the Catholicos-Patriarch for all the Armenians in the Iranian Azerbaijan. I express my gratitude to the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation for giving me the opportunity to address the Sub-Commission on the issue of Christian minorities in Iran and how they fare in the present Islamic environment.

    In a nutshell, I can offer you no horror stories, but then the Sub-Commission may also appreciate to hear a personal testimony about a little-known religious minority which has not only survived but is prospering in an apparently alien religious environment. I will speak only about the community I know, I live with and which I serve, and I trust more knowlegable people than I am will duly report to you on the issue of other non-Muslim religious communities in Iran all of which I respect and pray for.

    The Christian community in Iran dates back to almost the beginning of Christianity. It numbers at present some 250000 members. Some of them belong to the Eastern Christian Church which was founded in the 1st century. Others belong to the Assyrian community. But most adhere to its youngest branch to which I belong to, i.e. to the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church which has been in Iran for some seven centuries.

    The Christian community of Iran is dispersed over the entire country. It lives mainly in urban centers, like Tehran, Isphahan, Tabriz, Ounoumieh, etc. Seen from where I live together with some seven million Azeris, i.e. in Iranian Azerbaijan, over the past centuries to this day, the Christian community has had the good fortune to live essentially in peace and harmony with the majority population, with religious practices and traditions being mutually respected and discrimination on religious grounds being rare and not the outgrowth of official policies. This is the more important, as in a neighboring area, i.e. in Nagorny-Karabagh, Christians and Azeris have been driven to fight each other over territorial and religious questions. And it speaks for itself that both the Muslim people and the Christians of Iran have joined hands and tried to be helpful towards solving this artificially created conflict and, while it lasts, to provide humanitarian aid for the wounded and homeless. This, I have also observed with my own eyes.

    Even more revealing, in political matters, Iran's Christian community can even consider itself to be a privileged minority in that it has three seats in Parliament for its roughly 250000 souls, whereas a non-Christian needs at least 100000 votes for being elected.

    Happily, our community has not experienced the need for, nor the doubtful "blessings" - or lack of them - of international religious minority protection guarantees which have been bestowed on peoples affected by the breakup of the Ottoman Empire (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29, E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52). Neither the Vatican, nor the League of Nations or the United Nations ever had cause for sending fact-finding missions to check on our religious, cultural and economic well-being. For centuries, our community has been a respected organic part of the society we live in, and the majority population, quite naturally, benefitted, too from this harmonious live and let live. We have always had our own churches, schools, cultural and sports clubs. And to this day, every July, pilgrims from all over the world flock to a monastry in Makoo in Iranian Azerbaijan which bears the name of a pupil of Jesus, St.Taddeos who, at that spot, tought the Bible and was martyred around 50AD.

    Another renowned monastry is that of St.Stephanos at the Arex river bordering Nakhidjean; St.Stephanos was the first martyr of the Christian Church. Isphahan is an early center of Christendom in Iran; it still counts 12 churches. Isphahan, theSt.Taddeos and St.Stephanos monastries since over 1000 years, and other places of Christian worshipping in Iran contributed to Iran's history. And they continue to contribute. Last July, when I was at St.Taddeos, I must have met several thousand pilgrims who were renewing their oaths with God the Almighty. I understand there were also some Europeans, Canadians and other foreigners among them, and I personally recognized some friends from foreign embassies working in Tehran.

    On the cultural, the language front, mention may be made of our daily newspaper ALIK which, over the past 65 years, was published in the Armenian language. In Tehran alone, we maintain over 30 Armenian-language daily schools, 15 churches and 10 cultural and sports centers. Similar conditions prevail in other Iranian cities. This has been crucial for maintaining contacts with our co-religionaires abroad. We are gratified for the numerous visitors, chief among themHis Holiness KAREKIN II, who now is the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians. It deserves to be mentioned that after he had visited all our communities in 1990 and 1993, he expressed to the Iranian Government his appreciation for its special care for the Christian Church. A further sign of our close relations with Christians abroad may be seen in the election and the work of our religious leader and Catholicos, His Holiness ARAM I to serve as chairman of the World Council of Churches.

    Mr.President, the Armenians are said to be the first people to have converted to Christianity. Over the centuries, they have developed strong roots in the biblical lands and, as brought to light with my testimony on the Armenian Christians in Iran, fared relatively well in adverse conditions of religious zealotry and externally imposed economic hardship. Moreover, and despite horrible reverses and sufferings at the hands of others serving causes of dark forces, the Armenian people as such has survived, gained an independent national foothold, and is in the process of recovering from the past. Perhaps its experience can be of assistance in the anticipation, analysis and resolution of actual or future problems of other peoples. And I am confident that the Armenian people as well as its spiritual and political leaders, in the event, will muster the inner strength, the wisdom and foresight in order to forgive their erstwhile oppressors and make their own experience, capacities and resources available to other peoples in need. This, of course, applies in particular to our Kurdish friends, Turkish partners and other children of our common One God.



Vers une véritable jouissance des droits économiques,
sociaux et culturels, notamment par la jeunesss Algérienne

TEMOIGNAGE du Dr. Said LAHLALI, Deputé élu du FIS
présenté le 16 août 1995 aux Nations Unies, Commission des droits de l'homme,
Sous-commission de la lutte contre les mesures discriminatoires et de la protection des minorités

     Merci Monsieur le Président. Je me présente: Dr Said LAHLALI, Député élu du FIS, membre de la délégation Parlementaire du FIS algérien. Je remercie le Comité International pour la Sécurité et la Coopération Européenne de m'avoir donné l'occasion de m'exprimer brièvement sur la situation tragique de mon pays. Permettez-moi d'abord d'exprimer notre profonde douleur et indignation face aux violences quotidiennes qui ravagent l'Algérie et que nous condamnons sans réserve et ceci indépendamment de leur origine. Ces violences reflètent un cercle vicieux souvent irrationnel engendré, comme il nous semble, par l'avortement de l'expérience démocratique en Algérie. Néanmoins, je me propose non d'ajouter des histoires noires que vous avez l'habitude d'entendre dans cette commission, mais de vous présenter plutôt des exemples, des idées et des propositions concrètes qui tiendront la route et qui pourraient nourrir non seulement le processus de l'incontournable réconciliation nationale, mais encore et surtout de redonner l'espoir, la motivation et la dignité notamment à la jeunesse algérienne. Monsieur le Président, la situation actuelle en Algérie est bien connue, et pour ceux qui s'intéressent aux détails je me permets de les renvoyer au texte intégral de mon discours qui contient une brève analyse de la genèse de la crise actuelle qui secoue l'Algérie depuis plus de trois ans.

     Pour sortir de l'imbroglio actuel, il y a lieu de se concentrer sur les besoins de la jeunesse algérienne, qui se voit privée de la jouissance des droits fondamentaux évoqués dans la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme, non seulement dans le domaine économique mais aussi socio-culturel. Tout gouvernement responsable sera bien conseillé de s'interroger sur des opportunités réelles pour une conciliation nationale offerte par l'Accord de Rome dont je retiens moins les mots que l'esprit et l'orientation dans mon allocution. Dans ce sens on peut envisager d'examiner conjointement les points suivants:

     1. Toute jeunesse a besoin d'être bien orientée et prise en charge sur le plan éducationnel, religieux et culturel selon les valeurs communes qui nous lient et dans le respect de la différence.
     2. La jeunesse algérienne, d'ailleurs comme toute la jeunesse du monde, a besoin de travailler et de canaliser son énergie dans des idées et des projets qui auront des répercutions positives sur le peuple et sur l'environnement. Dans cet esprit nous proposons la création d'un corps vert. Celui-ci pourrait donner une véritable motivation, une orientation solide et une identité durable pour notre jeunesse. Cela pourrait inspirer d'autres jeunes dans d'autres pays qui souhaiteraient s'associer à des démarches de solidarité, de productivité et de tolérance. Ceci pour faire face à des problèmes qui en Algérie sont particulièrement aigus mais qui sont aussi évidents dans d'autres régions défavorisées du monde.
     3. La formation des membres de ce corps vert algérien (et éventuellement international) pourrait s'orienter vers des problèmes terre à terre, tels que la désertification de grandes étendues (Sahel), la déforestation des terres agricoles, le déminage des paysages agricoles et rurales, et lutter contre le délabrement des régions urbaines.
     4. Bien que l'orientation de ce corps vert serait de faire face aux problèmes socio-économiques et culturels de l'Algérie, les compétences ainsi acquises pourraient être mises à disposition et trouver l'application constructive dans d'autres pays et régions déshéritées comme l'Afghanistan, l'Angola, le Cambodge, le Kurdistan et le Mozambique. Ce sont toutes des zones de désastres humanitaires et écologiques d'origine humaine qui ont besoin d'un retour aux principes de la terre-mère.
     5. Pour la réalisation de ces idées, il faut ouvrir un chemin politique vers la paix, la sécurité et la stabilité politique en Algérie ce qui ne pourrait être réalisé qu'avec la participation active, motivée et responsable de tout citoyen algérien. Pour y arriver, il y a lieu de s'interroger avec un esprit ouvert, une honnêteté rigoureuse sur le conflit et sur la genèse de la situation actuelle.

[Genèse de la crise algérienne

     Monsieur le Président, pourrait-on résumer la situation en Algérie par ces trois qualificatifs: précarité, instabilité et dégradation? Ce serait peu dire, ces trois qualificatifs ne pourraient donner qu'une imparfaite caricature de la situation désastreuse que vit mon peuple en Algérie. Néanmoins, il convient de distinguer deux périodes différentes, dans la dernière décennie de son histoire. C'est après les émeutes d'octobre 1988 en Algérie, qui ont imposé au régime au pouvoir le multipartisme, la démocratie et les libertés que l'Algérie a vu la prise en main de ses problèmes par tous ces relais socio-politiques constitués par les associations, les partis, les syndicats, etc. Tous ces relais avaient pu constituer un contre-pouvoir face au régime qui ne pouvait plus décider seul de la gestion socio-économico-politique de mon pays.

     L'explosion du nombre d'associations, et de syndicats, même à l'état embryonnaire, a pu mobiliser les jeunes, les hommes et les femmes, ainsi que toutes les catégories sociales et culturelles pour se prendre en charge. Ceci afin non seulement d'avoir le droit de parole mais aussi de jouir pleinement et avec responsabilité des libertés et autres droits fondamentaux de l'être humain. On a même vu l'ébauche d'un courant écologique algérien s'intéresser à l'écosystème. Hélas, Monsieur le Président, après quelques 36 mois de cette liberté, c'est-à-dire après les premières élections législatives libres de l'Algérie en décembre 1991, un coup d'état intervint. En effet, les trois partis vainqueurs de ce scrutin unique dans l'histoire de mon pays, à savoir le FIS, le FFS et le FLN, n'étaient pas du goût du régime en place. L'arrêt du processus démocratique fut décrété, les libertés suspendues, le couvre-feu étendu à la moitié du pays, une législation répressive et abusive fut introduite, et le FIS fut interdit. Ce coup d'état a sonné le glas de toutes les espérances que pouvaient notament avoir les jeunes de mon pays.

     La dégradation de la situation des droits de l'homme en Algérie se caractérisepar la torture institutionnalisée, par les exactions collectives et par les exécutions extrajudiciaires. Elle a été dénoncée par des ONG crédibles tels que Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc. Cette dégradation sous le régime militaire a porté un coup de frein brutal non seulement à tous les droits élémentaires. En effet, Monsieur le Président, la légitimité douteuse du régime en place et son isolement international ont fragilisés aussi l'état algérien face au monde extérieur, aux exigences du Fond monétaire international, de la Banque Mondiale, ainsi que des entreprises multinationales. Les besoins en liquidités et en armes du régime et son déficit d'une légitimité populaire, ont aggravé la dépendance de l'Algérie envers ses bailleurs de fonds. Le FMI, en faisant valoir ses conditions, comme préalable à tout prêt supplémentaire ou rééchelonnement de la dette nationale (30 milliards de dollars) a obligé le régime à appliquer une politique de rigueur extrême qui, dans le contexte algérien, comme dans d'autres, n'a facilité ni sur le plan économique ni sur le plan sociale l'essor de ce pays.

1.     Droits économiques:     Peut-on même parler de droits économiques, peut-on sérieusement parler d'une gestion saine du pays quand la plupart des forces vives sont mises à l'écart? L'Algérie est connue avant tout pour sa richesse en gaz et pétrole. Mais elle est aussi dotée d'une autre richesse qui est celle de sa jeunesse. Cette dernière représente 75% de la population dont hélas, plus des trois quarts sont actuellement au chômage. Monsieur le Président, il n'y a pas de prise en charge efficace de la jeunesse dans mon pays lorsqu'il n'existe qu'un syndicat unique. Bien que ce dernier, vestige de l'époque du parti unique et allié du régime actuel soit censé défendre les droits des travailleurs, il ne défend en fait que ceux du cercle politico-financier en place. Les travailleurs ont besoin d'organisations syndicales multiples et libres qui puissent défendre leurs droits. Seule la pluralité syndicale permet l'indépendance et l'ouverture vers le progrès. Et le plein emploi des jeunes ne peut être envisagé qu'en présence d'un cadre politique qui inspire de la confiance à l'économie ainsi qu'à la jeunesse et permet à cette dernière de s'investir pleinement dans des projets motivants, reflétant ses valeurs et assurant leur essort.

2.     Droits culturels:     Le coup d'état de janvier 1992, le système législatif dit anti-terroriste, l'imposition du couvre-feu, la suspension des libertés, l'instauration de visas spéciaux pour des zones très vastes, le décret suspendant l'information libre: toutes ces dispositions ont eu comme conséquence première l'extinction de toute vie associative, et donc de toute revendication culturelle. Le coup d'état a permis aussi l'interdiction de dizaines d'associations, c'est-à-dire celles pouvant informer, activer, porter secours, et faire contrepoids au pouvoir en place.

3.     Ecologie:     Outre les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, la préservation de l'écosystème est primordiale car toute la vie de la nation en dépend. A l'heure où les pays du Nord s'engagent dans une politique de préservation de la nature, de l'écosystème, notamment sous la pression des ONG écologiques, une catastrophe écologique de grande envergure est en train de prendre place en Algérie. En effet, des forêts entières ont été brûlées, sous prétexte de déloger des maquis islamistes. L'utilisation du napalm à vaste échelle, dénoncée par Amnesty International notamment, sur les régions boisées de Jijel (est), Ain Defla (centre), Aures (est), l'utilisation de missiles (lors des derniers bombardements sur Larbaa, sud d'Alger) ne peuvent trouver de défenseurs, toujours sous prétexte du droit anti-terroriste.]

Conclusions

     Les forces du renouveau ont remporté les élections communales et départementales du 26 decembre 1991 (856 communes sur 1400 qui représentent 60% et 36 départements sur 48; la distribution des sièges de ces élections législatives était au premier tour 188 pour le Front Islamique du Salut, 25 pour le FFS et 15 pour le FLN). Bien avant ces élections les responsables du FIS avaient déclaré que leur programme prévoyait le respect de la Constitution, des libertés, du pluralisme, et du suffrage universel. Ce programme semble avoir effrayé les responsables du moment. Le coup d'état de janvier 1992 a alors mis à l'écart le peuple algérien et sa volonté. La dégradation, sinon la disparition des droits humains élémentaires ont suivi. Cette sombre page de l'histoire de l'Algérie a déja eu comme conséquence la mort de plus de 45'000 algériens, l'emprisonnement de plus de 12'000 personnes, hommes et femmes, et l'exil de milliers d'autres.

     Pour conclure, Monsieur le Président, le respect de la démocratie, des libertés, et de la transition pacifique ont été une nouvelle fois affirmé par le FIS, lors de la rencontre de Rome en novembre 1994, et janvier 1995, qui a donné naissance à un Contrat National, co-signé par l'opposition représentative: le FIS, le FLN, le MDA, le PT, En Nahda, JMC et des personnalités individuelles. Les co-signataires qui représentent plus de 80% du peuple algérien prévoient notamment par ce contrat une sortie pacifique et honorable de la crise, par un retour à la légalité. Donc:

l.     Nous appelons l'opinion publique mondiale à soutenir le retour à la légalité à travers le canevas proposé par le Contrat National élaboré à Rome.
2.     Par le biais de votre commission, nous sollicitons tout homme d'état, et tout homme et femme de bonne volonté, à ne pas encourager par le silence, et à décourager sinon empêcher toutes atteintes et violations des droits de l'homme en Algérie.



INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' ARCHIVE AND WATCH LIST

STATEMENT by J.A.Keller, ICESC Representative
presented on 23 August 1995 to the UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities 47th session,
Agenda item 14: Discrimination Against Indigenous People.

Thank you Mr. President. With your permission, I wish to make a few observations on two subjects under item 14, namely the treaties of indigenous peoples and, secondly, the question of detention of indigenous activists.

We greatly appreciate the efforts deployed and the results obtained in difficult circumstances by the Special Rapporteur Alfonso Martinez with regard to the treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between indigenous populations and governments. We consider this part of the UN's involvement in indigenous matters as perhaps the most promising pathway for all concerned. As such, this field of study deserves in our view much more attention and reliable financial, intellectual and institutional long-term support.

We were particularly interested in a resolution which was signed by representatives of some 20 indigenous peoples and nations who attended last year's Working Group on Indigenous Peoples. That resolution called for treaties of indigenous peoples to be collected in an archive which will not be subject to the tender mercies of UN budget-cutters. We looked into possibilities for organizations like ours to contribute to such an endeavor. We consulted with governments and lawmakers from different countries. And now we are happy to report to you that we have obtained from the Geneva authorities the first building block for such a universal indigenous peoples' archive, i.e. we have been given a first part of the premises necessary for collecting, organizing and studying the related treaties and information about them.

Of course, this effort of us is intended not to compete with, but to complement the UN's own work in this field. Our objective is to eventually accomodate all related texts and make them available also electronically. We trust this effort to receive the indispensable financial, political and data backing primarily from the users. Indeed, we expect it to become a focal and meeting point of both representatives of indigenous peoples everywhere and of those in- and outside of government who have to deal with indigenous problems on a professional level. Accordingly, we may take this opportunity to invite all indigenous peoples to send us copies of their treaties and related information for registration and processing, and for others who are interested in this work to contact us.

On the second subject, we have proposed on 27 February to the Commission on Human Rights an adapted version of the time-tested principle of habeas corpus as a possible remedy against administrative excesses in penal matters. Meanwhile, we have had the opportunity to successfully test the effectiveness of related ideas in three cases involving two countries and six detained persons. As a result, we find ourselves encouraged to help protect the human rights of detained indigenous activists by requesting the authorities concerned to provide information on the whereabouts and human rights conditions of indigenous detainees in particular, and to allow our representative to visit the detainee on a basis of mutual respect, confidence and confidentiality.

Accordingly, as a rule, we intend first to communicate privately with the responsible authorities on the person(s) concerned and, in the event, to include the latter's name in a list which may be published and updated regularly on the INTERNET and/or in appropriate UN documents. As the works of the ICRC amply demonstrate, a successful outcome of such operations depends on confidential negotiations with the authorities concerned. Accordingly, we do not intend to publish systematically information about our successes, unless the interest of the parties concerned requires publicity. Indeed, the principle President Ronald Reagan is said to have had enshrined on his desk appears to be also applicable to groups and organizations:

"There is no limit where a man can go if he is prepared not to take credit for it:"



RELIGIOUS LIBERTY versus RELIGIOUS CLEANSING AND GENOCIDE

STATEMENT made on 24 August 1995 by I.C.E.S.C. Representative DAVID LITTMAN
to the UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, 47th session,
item 12: Elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief

    Sir, on 14 August Mr Eide raised one aspect of human rights that has been consistently neglected over the years. He called it: "the other side of the coin". We shall refer to that "other side", and explore "another dimension of the coin." It relates to item 12 - which is generally avoided in United Nations forums - and concerns "religious cleansing". On the occasion of this Half Century Commemorative Year, which is dedicated also to Tolerance, we shall preface our brief Statement with a historical example of "religious cleansing", and with a timely warning by a great 18th Century Irishman, Edmund Burke.

    Two centuries after the mass slaughter of the staunchly Catholic Vendeans by the French Revolutionär/ armed forces, during the grim period of the Terror (clearly foreseen by Burke in his 1790 Reflections on the Revolution in France), allow me to quote his prophetic warning on the use, and misuse, of the term "liberty", still applicable today, as it is to those contemporary "all-atoning" panaceas: "human rights" and "religious liberty":

"Grand, swelling sentiments of liberty, l am sure l do not despise. They warm the heart; they enlarge and liberalize our minds; they animate our courage in a time of conflict.... The effects of the incapacity shewn by the populär leaders in all the great members of the Commonwealth are to be covered with the 'all-atoning name' of liberty. In some people l see great liberty indeed; in many, if not in the most, an oppressive, degrading servitude. But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. Those, who know what virtuous liberty is, cannot bear to see it disgraced by incapable heads, on account of their having high sounding words in their mouths."(1)
    Mr Chairman, those who have high-sounding words about "human rights" and "religious liberty" in their mouths, should not have the liberty to kill when they wish, nor the liberty to incite to kill or "cleanse" other ethnic or religious groups - or individuals. Mr Eide, appropriately, quoted article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads: "Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein."

    Sir, the working paper by Said Naceur Ramadhane on the question of terrorism and human rights (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/9) comes twenty-seven years after air piracy (Algiers airport, 1968), hostage-taking (Lebanon, from 1984), and international terrorism rapidly developed into a ruthless, mediatized system, whereby privileged groups of "freedom fighters" justified their liberty to kill their enemies - on the grounds of "nationalism" or "religious cleansing". Many such terrorist acts are carried out by diehard, die-easy, Islamists, whose jihad-ideology is conducive to international terrorism as a means to achieve their goals.

    The world is now paying a heavy price for its ineffective responses to these monstrous international crimes. In 1993, Professor Stanislav Chemichenko proposed in vain his draft declaration which, in art.3/2, provided for outlawing "persons who order, organize, directly perpetrate, connive in or sanction" such a crime. Blind terror against innocent civilians, justified by religious precepts, has now become normative in Algeria, Egypt, Turkey, Kashmir, Israel and elsewhere - and now in France. While Iran persistently reiterates Khomeini's 1989 fatwa, which initiated the "Rushdie syndrome", it did condemn the latest atrocity in Paris, but praised last month's "Islamikaze" bombing of a bus near Tel Aviv (AFP, 25 July 1995). Monday's "Islamikaze" abomination in Jerusalem was the work of Hamas, whose Covenant is a blueprint for genocidal "religious cleansing". Mr Arafat sees the hand of Iran behind Hamas. We request the experts to adopt an urgent Declaration condemning the recent bombings in Paris and Jerusalem - as was done last week concerning the Declaration on "Hostage-taking and murder of hostages", which rightly condemned "the use of such contemptible and barbaric methods for political gains" (see also E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/27).

    Religious extremists deform the Muslim religion, as described by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto six months ago after the aquittal of two Pakistani Christians, sentenced to death for "blasphemy", and after the murder of 20 Shi'ites in a Karachi mosque: "Islam teaches affection, tolerance and brotherhood. There is no place for temrism and sectarianism in Islam."(2)Her words are an inspiration for Muslims and non-Muslims alike!

    The conferences on terrorism held in Casablanca and Tunis, and NATO's decision last February to launch a dialogue with Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauretania and Israel was motivated by an overriding fear that terrorists - or States known to practice terrorism - might one day acquire nuclear weapons(3). US Senator Richard Lugar recently declared: "Between 1991 and 1994 the German govemment detected at least 350 instances of attempted nuclear smuggling. There have been 60 seizures of nuclear materials in the last three years (including) a pound of plutonium at Munich airport and six pounds of highly enriched uranium ...in Prague." (IHT of 18 August, 1995, p.7, article by George F. Will).

    Sir, the 1993 Vienna Declaration on Human Rights rightly expressed its dismay at massive violations of human rights, strongly condemning all genocide and "ethnic cleansing" (§ 28). Why, indeed, was there then - and is there still - such a reluctance to use the term "religious cleansing", when this is often what actually occurred over the centuries in so many regions of the world, and is still happening today in so many countries? Two years ago, everyone knew which tragic events in Central Europe (former Yugoslavia) were on the minds of most delegates in Vienna - although many other conflicts, well-documented, did not have the attentive ear of the international community. In a Statement on 21 March 1995 to the Round Table Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [see annex III], l referred to the two letters which Rene Wadlow and l had addressed earlier to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Chairman of the GERD - and made an Appeal on the necessity of utilizing all measures for the prevention of Genocide, mentioned in the 1948 Genocide Convention, article III (c), as well as the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, art.4 (a). Article III of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states that, not only (a) genocide shall be punishable, but also: (b) conspiracy to commit genocide, (c) direct and public incitement to commit genocide, (d) attempt to commit genocide, and (e) complicity in genocide. On this subject, we warmly recommend the recent book by Dr Yves Temon, "L'Etat criminel - Les Génocides au XXe siècle", (Paris, Ed. du Seuil, 1994; Le Monde des Livres, 3 mars 1995). Two Reports were prepared by experts of the Sub-Commission on the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the first in 1978 by Nicodene Ruhashyankiko (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1978/416) and the Revised Report of 1985 by Ben Whittaker (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6).

The Sub-Commission's resolution "Prevention of Incitement to Hatred and Genocide, Particularly by the Media" (1995/4, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/L11/Add.2) was most opportune [see also annex III]. But what about inaction in the face of genocide? In the case of former Yugoslavia, the International Court of Justice, in its Order of 13 September 1993 observed, inter alia, that while "all parties to the [1948 Genocide] Convention have thus undertaken 'to prevent and punish' the crime of genocide", the Court was "not satisfied that all that might have been done has been done to prevent commission of the crime of genocide in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina", since the Court gave its Order of 8 April 1993 (E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51).

To conclude, Mr Chairman. Who speaks today of these multiple forms of "religious cleansing"? When there is a call for a "just war" in former Yugoslavia, why the silence when about 200,000 Orthodox Serbs are "religiously cleansed" from their ancestral homeland by Roman Catholic Croats? Over 300 years ago the blind English poet, John Milton, wrote: "For what can war but endless war still breed?" It is time for the international community to heed today's forgotten voices of religious minorities worldwide, who have been and are being victimized - often "cleansed" - whether they be the Rohinga Muslims of Myanmar and elsewhere, the Ahmadiyas or Christians of Pakistan, the Hindus of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Pandits of Kashmir, the Bahais of Iran, or the Animists and Christians of the Sudan - remembering also the fate of the "forgotten" million Jews from Arab lands, who now amount to barely 1% of their 1948 population.

When Saddam Hussein began his extermination campaign against Kurds, he named it after a surat of the Koran ("AI-Anfal"), concerning non-Muslims (see also: E/CN.4/1993/45, §§ 89-126). The Iraqi regime has acted similarly toward the Yezidi community, who are still confined in their thousands "to seven concentration camps near their ancestral villages" - as infidels - without there being a murmur about this creeping religious genocide (ICESC Statement on 14 February 1995 to the Commission; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52). We reiterate our urgent appeal for the experts to examine seriously the tragedy of the Yezidis

Sir, 2000 years ago Hillel the Sage told a non-Jewish questioner: "Don't do to others what you hate to have done to you." (Shabbat 31 a). A decade or so later, Jesus - another Jew of Judea - said: "And as you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 6:31). When demanding full "human rights" and "religious liberty" for oneself as a right, we might do well to bear in mind those sayings.

___________________

(1)    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), "Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)", The Works of The Right Honourable Edmund Burke, 16 vols, London, 1826, vol.5, p.433. His f ive "great, just and honourable causes" included: emancipation of the House of Commons; of the American colonies; of India from the East India Company; and his support of Wilberforce in seeking the abolition of the slave trade.
(2) International Herald Tribune, 27 February, 1995; see also: Bat Ye'or, "Juifs et Chrétiens sous l'Islam: les dhimmis face au défi intégriste", Paris, Berg International, 1994; and "Islam: Entre droits humains et droit divin", in Liberté(s), Amnesty International, Switzerland, N°41, janvier 1995
(3) John K. Cooley, "Islamic Extremism is Organized, Experienced and Quite Resistable", IHT of 4-5 February, 1995.
 

ANNEX l

GASSING, DEPORTATIONS AND DISAPPEARANCES OF IRAQI KURDS

STATEMENT made by David Littman on behalf of the World Union for Progressive Judaism
to the Commission on Human Rights on 6 February 1989
under item 9: The Rights of Peoples to Self-Determination
and its Application to Peoples under Colonial or Alien Domination or Foreign Occupation

    Mr Chairman, only a week ago The Times of London published a thought-provoking leader about this Commission. "Its mission, to protect individuals everywhere from abuses of their inalienable rights, goes to the heart of the purposes proclaimed by the UN Charter." It went on to say that, because of its governmental composition, the Commission has shown scant impartiality or perseverence, over the years, by disproportionately focusing its attention on a tiny group of "scapegoats" and overlooking well-documented evidence of violations in less "unpopular" countries. This lacklustre performance in bringing certain governments to book, the leader affirmed: "has done much to damage the UN's standing with the public".
    This not unfair criticism applies particularly to item 9: "The rights of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation", which has been on the agenda since 1975. Here, too, it would seem that this Commission had opened its arms and wittingly donned a strait-jacket, conducive to minimal manoeuvring and maximal selectivity. Thus, some peoples or minorities have become more equal than others, or more worthy of attention, simply because they have the right connections in those lofty spheres where geo-political and economic interests - in a word, realpolitik - are the predominant forces, rather than justice and equity.
    Sir, it has become platitudinous since the Second World War to restrict the notion of "colonial rule" to the European variety of imperialism and alien domination, even though the last two generations have seen the demise of this form of colonialism. Yet European imperialism was but one mottled species of a universal phenomenon, present throughout history and very much alive today: The conquest and domination of one group of humanity over another. A phenomenon, whose pristine origin goes back, more often than not, to the struggle of nomadic tribes bent on booty and their perennial encroachment on, and exploitation of, sedentary peoples and their cultures and civilisations. The tragedies of some of these vanquished peoples - these "Nations mortes-vivantes" - was evoked a dozen years ago by an Egyptian-born writer (Bat Ye'or) in the following eloquent terms: "There are peoples roaming the earth who no longer have a soul. Flight and exile have enfeebled their memories, dimmed their sight and stifled their speech. In glacing through history books they smile in melancholy: today their nations no longer exist. Vanquished peoples, they have been rejected by history and have joined the anonymous mass of exploited peoples, whose blood, toll, tears and sweat have helped to build the civilisation of their oppressors." Most of these "Nations mortes-vivantes" - these "Oppressed Nations" - are not of the privileged few... the happy few, Mr Chairman, some of them for sound and worthy reasons, who automatically have the ear of UN Committees and Commissions, such as this one, and who have become the dolls and darlings of the media and consequently the obsession of public opinion worldwide. Mr Chairman, you may by now be asking yourself what is the substance of my intervention, what is the point l wish to make or raise on behalf of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
    Sir, it would be a Herculean labour, certainly misplaced here, to attempt an elucidation of the mysteries and contradictions of history, or to run through the list of exploited, forgotten, crushed-down nations, those peoples who still bear their nostalgia - their often listless dreams of freedom - like a shackle. However, if one must perforce become selective, my first though would go out to the Armenians, particularly in view of the recent tragedies which have taken a heavy toll on that people in its Soviet homeland. This ancient nation, bruised and crushed in the eternal rivalry and contention of powerful empires, has become, for historians, a paragon - like the Jewish people - of the limits to which human endurance can be stretched, Century after Century, even in the despair of exile, by a people determined to resist in order to survive.
    But it is not of the resilient Armenians that l shall speak today under this particular item, it is paradoxically of their erstwhile enemy, the Kurdish people, who, now, more than ever before, deserve the commiseration and the understanding of the United Nations, and particularly of this Commission. And this brings me back to the article with which l opened my Statement. On 2 February a response was published by The Times, signed by distinguished personalities and experts in their respective fields: The Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford, Dr Ciaire Palley, Dr Peter Calvocoressi, Lady Elles, Dr Richard Hiscocks and Sir Anthony Williams, the former distinguished representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations. The letter's prime concern was the Kurds of Iraq - over four million persons, nearly 30% of that country's population, one-fifth of whose northern territories is a Kurdish homeland. These obvious geographical and demographic factors were set aside when the whole region was incorporated by Great Britain, for strategie reasons, into the newly-formed Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq - petrol oblige!
    Mr Chairman, this pertinent appeal goes to the very core of this question, and in view of the standing of its signatories, all former representatives on either the Commission or the Sub-Commission, l am confident that l shall not be gainsaid in reading out its essential paragraphs.

    "Extraordinarily, there is one country where there is overwhelming evidence that it has used chemical weapons on its own population, including thousands of women and children, razed over 3,000 villages, forcibly removed aimost 500,000 people from their homes, and driven tens of thousands to seek asylum in neighbouring states. It is Iraq. Yet human rights abuses in Iraq are not included on the agenda for public discussion at the UN Human Rights Commission. *
    The Commission Session comes within a few weeks of the Conference on Banning Chemical Weapons, where 149 states reaffirmed their abhorrence of the use of such weapons. International declarations ** are of little value if abuses are not condemned by the UN Human Rights Commission in the strongest possible way.
    The UN Secretary-General, in August 1988, himself reported on intensifying Iraqi use of chemical weapons, but, by a majority vote, the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention *** of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities failed publicly to condemn Iraq. Within a week the world's press revealed that tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds, many bearing fresh wounds from chemical weapons, were arriving in Turkey [as refugees].
    We hope that the United Kingdom Government, with other governments, will ensure that the Iraqi Govemment's treatment of its own citizens is discussed publicly in Geneva and that a special rapporteur or mission is appointed to establish all the facts and to inhibit further abuses. Additionally, the UN Secretary-General should be invited to use his good offices to make certain that human rights are being respected in Iraq." [The Times, 2 February 1989]
    Sir, this grim tale of woe did not begin in 1988, it has been going on for decades. The lot of the Kurds in Iraq, the sort of martyrdommeeted out to them by one of the most brutal and sanguinary contemporary regimes - still being feverishly courted by merchants of death and commerce, fully aware that bacteriological arms are being experimented by it, as a complement to the chemical arsenals already developed - may be illustrated by a hideous event reported in the London Observer on 15 March 1987, a year before the Iraqi gas horrors were viewed by hundred of millions worldwide:     "Fifty-seven boxes were recently returned to the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya (...) by the Iraqi government authorities. Each box contained a dead child, eyes gouged and ashen white, apparently drained of blood. The families were not given their children, were forced to accept a communal grave, and then had to pay 150 dinars for the burial."     That same year, in his inaugural address on Human Rights Day, the Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr Jan Martenson, eloquently declared: "For while silence is the accomplice of tyranny, information is the beacon that lights the path to human rights and fundamental freedoms." Sir, four hundred years ago, the English poet and thinker, John Donne wrote these moving words:

No man is an Island, entire of itself.
Any man's death diminishes me, because l am involved in Mankind;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

    Mr Chairman, the bells are tolling - distant and faint though they may be - from the Kurdish regions of Iraq. They must give all of us cause to pause, to think, to meditate and to pray that this Commission will act now on this awesome human tragedy.

*          *

PS: The speaker was interrupted on three successive occasions by the Representative of Iraq, one of the forty-three Member States of the Commission. These three interruptions, on a "point of order" (i.e. that the Statement was extraneous to item 9), are indicated in the text by one, two and three asterisks respectively. The Speaker appealed twice to the Chairman to be allowed to continue; read out in full the title of agenda item 9, stressing "alien domination"; quoted the remarks made to the Commission two years earlier by Mr Jan Martenson, the Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights: "Silence is the accomplice of tyranny"; and referred to the French Prime Ministers Statement two hours earlier, in which Mr Michel Rocard had recommended that any spirit of intolerance should be avoided at the Commission. On both occasions, the Chairman invited the speaker to continue: "within item 9". Following the third obstruction, the following exchange took place:
  Mr Littman: "Mr Chairman, l am trying to finish my Statement, which is within item 9. l am sure that the other members ofthe Commission and you, yourself, Mr Chairman, would agree that if l am stopped every three minutes - every three seconds - it is impossible for me to continue. l would like to continue my Statement, Mr Chairman, and with your permission l shall go on."
    The Chairman (The Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico): "Taking into account what was said before [regarding item 9], I would ask the Representative of the World Union for Progressive Judaism to complete his Statement which has not been lost on anyone here at the Commission."
    After the speaker has completed his Statement, the Representative of Iraq again took the floor to make a long diatribe on yet a fourth point of order (E/CN.4/1989/SR.10, and UN verbatim recording in English).


ANNEX II

EXTRACT from David Littman's letter to Mr Jan Martenson, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights, of 13 April 1989:

    "On 6 February, under item 9, l delivered a Statement on the tragic situation of the Kurds of Iraq (enclosed). Amnesty and the International Commission of Jurists intervened later on the same subject, under item 12, with massive evidence. Nothing happened!
    Enclosed a recent article in The Sunday Times [9 April] on the Iraqi govemmenl's gruesome project for the town of Qala Diza. The deadline date of 25 April is fast approaching. Cannot something be done?"
ANNEX III

EXTRACTS from observations made by David Littman on behalf of the World Federalist Movement at the Geneva Round Table commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March 1995
(Chairman: Ibrahima Fall, Speakers: Ivan Garvalov, Andrés Guerrero, Deborah Robinson)

    "We wish to stress the urgent need to examine the role of Propaganda and the media in the incitement to racial, ethnic or religious hatred, which can lead to mass killings and genocide. It was common knowledge that the campaign of incitement to exterminate the Tutsis of Rwanda was orchestrated beforehand by both the public authorities and the media, which included Radio-Télévision Libre des Milles Collines. This radio, in particular, was used to target Tutsis for months in advance of the April 1994 massacres. Such broadcasts were heard generally by the diplomatic community in Rwanda, yet no protests were made publically, neither were these broadcasts raised in the organs of the Organization of African Unity, nor in those of the United Nations. The guardians of the 'rule of law' ('Etat de droit') and of the 'human rights' worldwide failed to ring the tocsin.
    Yet, the watchman must not shirk his duty, äs the Prophet Ezekiel warned 2600 ago [ch.33 v.6]. If the watchman sees the uplifted sword approaching and does not blow the trumpet to warn of the danger, the people will die, but the watchman's moral guilt is total and he will be answerable to a higher power! [On the question of guilt through inaction, concretely on the question of Responsibility, Co-Responsibility and Guilt in former Yugoslavia, see E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51passim.]
    Who cannot hear today the call to kill and who cannot see the sword of desolation at work in the Sudan, and again approaching Burundi and other countries in Africa, and elsewhere?
    Another less tragic example was the British government's indirect responsibility for authorising a mass meeting held in London's Wembly Arena on 7 August 1994 under the banner of The Khilafah Conference', which was attended by over 8,000 radical Islamists from Europe, Africa, the Maghreb and the Middle East. It was organised by the same British-based Organisation the HUT (Hizb ut Tahrir) - which, in January 1994, had contravened the Genocide Convention art.lll (c) by publicly calling for the murder of Jews worldwide in order to accelerate the coming of the 'Last Day', and then - following outraged protests - provided an eschatological explanation for their criminal genocidal appeal. The Conference's seven resolutions should be studied, as should its call for a world jihad.
    The UN war-crimes tribunal at the Hague is one thing and, on this question, we recommend the article 'Making Rules for War' in The Economist of 11 March 1995. But when genocide, ethnocide or politicide becomes explicit - or finds acceptance in coded language - Governments and the International Community of watchmen should not and must not remain silent!
    We feel that there is a natural link between article III (c) of the 1948 Genocide Convention ('Direct and public incitement to commit genocide') and art.4 (a) of the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ('... incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons ...').
    Sir, can you, or Mr Garvalov, comment and does he feel that the mechanism exists for him, as Chairman of the GERD, to collaborate with the High Commissioner, so as to sound the UN tocsin loud and clear on every occasion where direct and public incitement to commit genocide is clearly manifested?..."
    Professor Ivan Garvalov responded: "In reply to David Littmarts question on behalf of the World Federalist Movement, l have just indicated a connection between the Genocide Convention and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. l can confirm that there is a definite link which l shall be discussing with the High Commissioner. There is indeed a mechanism for the CERD to act immediately under art.4 of its Convention in regard to any mass media appeals and other incitements to racial discrimination and violence leading to genocide. At its August session the CERD will take up this important issue, subsequent to my forthcoming meetings with the High Commissioner."



.
Minorities Then, Now and Hence

Summary of statements made by J.A.Keller, ICESC Permanent Representative
to the UN Working Group on Minorities of 30 August 1995

1.     Following the suggestion made by the Representative of Nicaragua to consider migrant workers as a minority which should be covered by the Working Group, the speaker expressed the view that this growingly important issue deserves a more suitable framework for debate - lest the achievements in the domain of minority protection risk to be further diluted.

2.     The speaker pointed to the evolution of the term minorities since the 1st World War. Then, in the wake of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire in particular, borders were redrawn radically over much of Europe and the Near East, and many constituant parts of national, religious and linguistic entities thus found themselves forcibly confronted with new frameworks, legal systems and neighbors.

3.     In order to accomodate, appease and secure these newly created and isolated and thus - if not physically, then socially and politically - uprooted and destabilized groups and minorities, the complement of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, ie. the League of Nations, provided for corresponding international minority protection obligations which were placed under the surveillance and guarantee of the international community. Indeed, much of the League of Nations’ work concerned minorities. And though that attempt to organize the business of the family of nations and to harness the forces of its members towards peaceful ends failed, this failure, by most accounts, occurred not because but despite of the League’s relatively succesful minority protection mechanism and work. At any rate, the speaker was of the opinion that there were still lessons to be learned from that experience, and he expressed the hope that after 47 years of the Sub-Commission’s existence, this newly created Working Group will finally be able to effectively address the issues related to minorities à fond and in a constructive and mutually beneficial way.

4.     The Sub-Commission’s Special Rapporteur, Francesco Capotorti, had amply demonstrated in his excellent report on minorities of 1977 (UN Sales Nr. E.91.XIV.2) that after the 2nd World War, for "at least 20 years, ... the question of international protection of minorities was no longer topical. The system of protection built up under the League of Nations had collapsed with the demise of that organization, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations did not mention the question of the treatment of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. Moreover, the emphasis placed in the international legal order on the imperative need to ensure respect for basic human rights seemed to imply that it was no longer necessary to protect in any special way the interests of minority groups or, more specifically, of individuals belonging to such groups." (p.ii).

5.     Indeed, as was pointed out in the UN Secretariat’s "Study on the Legal Validity of the Undertakings Concerning Minorities" of 1950 (E/CN.4/367), the United Nations Charter focused on and "recognized a new concept which did not appear in the Covenant of the League of Nations, the concept of human rights and non-discrimination. The protection of human rights is a substantial element in the protection of minorities. The obligations regarding the protection of minorities provided that minority groups should enjoy personal and civil liberties, in fact what has been termed human rights, and that they should not be subjected to discriminatory measures as compared with other elements of the population." "Consequently, might it not be said that the United Nations Charter, by adopting the concept of human rights, which to a large extent coincides with the idea of the protection of minorities, intended to substitute the former concept for the latter and thus implicitly abrogated the special obligations regarding the protection of minorities?" The authors of said authoritative study answered themselves by saying: "The question might be answered in the negative ..." (p.19).

6.     Nevertheless, in the opinion of the speaker, a dilution of the term minority had indeed occured, and the special rights and protective measures which were granted to specific groups had suffered accordingly. With the re-emergence of wide-spread identity problems in the form of ethnic, religious and linguistic tensions as telltale signs of inadequately organized or goverened, unstable and potentially explosive societies, effective and trust-worthy minority protection tools involving international guarantees are more than ever called for. The trend towards ever more diluted and ever less enforced rights must be reversed and not favored, as would be the case if minority status were extended to refugees, asylum seekers, frontaliers, migrant workers, etc. To these effects, the speaker recommended to the Working Group to see to it that corresponding opportunities not be missed.

7.     In his second intervention, the speaker reflected on the references made by Professor Cherenenko to the minority protection régime of the League of Nations, on the opportunity indicated by others for the Working Group to develop its work with a foreward-looking yet historical perspective, and on the issue pointed out by Professor Ali Khan concerning the continued validity of minority protection obligations incurred by States in light of the 1992 Minority Rights Declaration and of possible actions and inactions taken by the Working Group.

8.     The speaker was of the opinion that said Declaration, which was brought into focus by the mandate given to the Working Group, should not be construed as a limiting factor for the Working Group's attention, neither timewise, nor as regards minority protection obligations entered into by States outside the framework of the United Nations. The President had previously expressed a similar view and declared himself open to look at the experiences gained with the League of Nations minority protection system; he expressed particularly interest for information to be provided to the Working Group on three points:

a)     Which, if any, of the minority protection obligations incurred in relation with the League of Nations are still valid in international law?

b)     What is at present the status of the related review, surveillance and enforcement powers and functions which were attributed to the League of Nations and its Permanent Court of International Justice in relation to the United Nations system?

c)     What are possible pathways for what related actions towards what objective?

9.     Indeed, article 8 of the 1992 Declaration stipulates unmistakably:
    "Nothing in the present Declaration shall prevent the fulfilment of international obligations of States in relation to persons belonging to minorities. In particular, States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations and commitments they have assumed under international treaties and agreements to which they are parties."

10.     Furthermore, the International Court of Justice, in its Advisory Opinion on the South African mandate of June 1950, expressed the opinion:

     In almost all cases of League of Nations minority protection rights, obligations and guarantees, the members of the minorities concerned received the corresponding special protection due to the above-menbtioned border changes in the wake of the 1st World War. These rights pertained to their life, liberty profession, property and political assembly "without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion" (art.2, Treaty of St-Germain-en-Laye of 10 September 1919, Parry, CTS 226, 182, also reproduced in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29, annex). In each case they were declared to take precedence over any national "law, regulation or official action" (art.1, ibid.). They could not be modified without the assent of the majority of the Council of the League of Nations. These minority protection stipulations were declared to "constitute obligations of international concern and will be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations" and any "Member of the League represented on the Council shall have the right to bring to the attention of the Council any infraction or danger of infraction of any of these stipulations, and he Council may thereupon take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances" (art.10, Iraqi Declaration of 1932, essentially identical with art.11, Treaty of St-Germain-en-Laye, op.cit).

12.     In this light, the speaker drew attention to the cases of the minority protection regimes of the Baltic States, former Yugoslavia and Iraq, all of which were concluded in relation with the League of Nations and seemed not only to have remained in force but, as detailed in the written statements submitted to the Sub-Commission, may provide effective answers to current and future minority problems (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52). He pointed out that the widely quoted conclusion of the UN Secretariat's 1950 study (E/CN.4/367) was a general statement and concerned only the League of Nations' minority protection regime as a whole, but was not meant to and did not provide a generally valid assessment of the eventual continued validity, in international law, of each and every minority protection obligation entered into by States in relation with the League of Nations. In fact, the substantive part of this study concluded in almost all cases that the circumstances were not radically changed, thus leaving the obligations intact. In the case of Iraq, the study concludes:

13.     Accordingly, and in as much as the above conclusion may be at variance with the above-quoted Advisory Opinion subsequently handed down by the International Court of Justice, a new Advisory Opinion by this Court may be called for. At any rate, it seems that the original UN Secretariat study has been either widely misunderstood or over-looked. Further clarifications were indeed available early on in a special memorandum by the UN Secretary General (E/CN.4/367/Add.1).

14.     Accordingly, the speaker underlined that in the above-mentioned cases at least, the UN Secretariat's authoritative 1950 study came to positive and thus highly interesting conclusions which, of course, required to be reviewed anew particularly in light of developments which occurred since then (e.g. the successor state problems are particularly acute and challenging in the cases of the Baltic States and the former Yugoslavia). He expressed the view that the Working Group, too could benefit in many ways if it invested its scarce resources also into efforts to avoid reinventing the wheel by seeking inspiration from these extremely valuable, for life-size minority protection experiences and, in the event, to seek to transfer, adapt and complement the League of Nations mechanisms and methods to present circumstances in and outside of the United Nations system.

15.     Concretely, this may involve the re-enrootment, re-enactment and development of international minority protection guarantees. And it may require the creation of a new type of human rights minitors who, upon nomination by the beneficiaries of these guarantees, would be put into office by the guaranteeing body or powers with the mandate to see to it that the guarantees in question are being observed on every level and that the beneficiaries of these guarantees have a direct means of communication with the guarantor(s) through his good offices. As such, these and other ideas might be developed into effective tools of diplomacy for getting the leaders of abused minorities to be able to consent to political solutions which otherwise might not be accessible with peaceful means.




I.C.E.S.C.              INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
FOR EUROPEAN SECURITY AND COOPERATION

Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
box 2580 - 1211 Geneva 2 - t+f: +4122-7400362

14 February 1996
20 Febr 96 (second mail copy, corr.)

re: Budgetary Relief - Independent of Eventual Implementation of SCR 986

Your Excellency,

Responding to the funding plea you made at the CONGO's cross-Atlantic NGO forum of last November, the undersigned suggested on that occasion to consider involving NGOs more directly in the UN's conflict-prevention work, i.e. in those cost-intensive security fields from which they're now mostly excluded due to their UN attachment through ECOSOC only. Helping to avoid the need to spend taxpayer money on relief measures to man-made - and thus often avoidable - humanitarian catastrophes appears to go a long way to cope with increasingly scarce resources in an environment of growing public doubt and apathy. We are following up on our theoretical remarks with concrete elements and invite you to act upon.

SCR 986 - if and when implemented - is understood to be a godsend not only to the sanctions-suffering Iraqi people but also to the treasury of many cash-short UN agencies. As outlined by your services in the enclosed April 1992 memo which came to our attention, the key problem of SCR 706/712 was that Iraq had questionable title to the petroleum which was to be exchanged for food and medicineignoring this problem did not make it go away. Thus UN/Iraq discussions alone should not be expected to lead to successful applications of any correspondingly deficient formula. According to our information, the implementation of SCR 986 is likely to be frustrated with effective means by both determined people on the ground and influential outside-supporters in the courts. We have come to understand that this, to use the words of the former U.S. Secretary of State Jim Baker, is "not a threat but a promise." Unless the property rights, international guarantees and conditions laid down in the Declaration of Iraq of 30 May 1932 - reproduced in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27 - will have been honored (e.g. in line with the recommendations contained in said UN memo). Or unless these rights, guarantees and obligations will have been voided in favor of the Iraqi regime and the International Court of Justice will have confirmed this state of affairs and thus reversed its related position:

We understand full well that the above elements are not the only relevant ones. Yet, in our research we have not come across facts which diminish their significance. We are concerned that failure to properly attend to such matters, in the above case, will cause not only further sufferings among the Iraqis but entail significant political harm to the United Nations as an international instrument for peace, security and humanitarian help. We would thus like to know the reasons which so far have prevented a serious dialogue on, e.g., the recommendations contained in said UN memo of April 1992 which could also significantly help to reduce the humanitarian load on the UN budget. And whether or not such NGO contributions and unorthodox pathways to increased public confidence, respect and budgetary balance are at all welcome. Trusting this to be helpful, we are looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience and remain, sincerely yours, encl: UN memo 4/1992

PS. We have been asked by claimants of petroleum rights which may thus be involved in the implementation of SCR 986 to look into this matter. They expect us to advise them on how best to procede towards a settlement which will properly honor their petroleum rights particularly in Northern Iraq and which, without strengthening the position of the Iraqi regime, will provide effective relief to the overly abused Iraqi people through the appropriate UN agencies without, however, causing further burden for the taxpayers and the UN budgets. We have sent an ICESC Representative to the Irak/Turkey, Irak/Iran border area for determining conditions on the ground and laying the groundwork for corresponding plans. The results obtained so far encourage us to consider accepting a corresponding mandate in line with SCR 688 if that were agreeable with you.




UNITED NATIONS

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities
48th Session

Statement by Senator John Nimrod
Secretary General, Assyrian Universal Alliance
(sponsored by the Transnational Radical Party)
delivered to the Sub-Commission under item 6 on 8 August 1996

A Pathway to Human Rights for Northern Iraq

 Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the world`s over three million dispersed Assyrians, we wish to express our gratitude to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities for the opportunity to give testimony about the human rights situation of those Assyrians who have managed to remain in their ancestral homeland, particularly in Mesopotamia. In summary, I am encouraged by the reports I have received from Syria and by the testimonies I have taken personally concerning Iran, and I believe that the time has come for important human rights developments in Iraq.

Let me begin by clarifying a few things. I am not talking about the inhabitants of Syria, even though the Assyrian Empire of some four thousand years ago did indeed embrace all of what is now modern Syria. Assyria was destroyed as a political system in 612 BC but not as a nation or as a race. However, there are definite and continuous traces of Assyrians throughout history since 612 BC. They were among the first to embrace Christianity in the first century AD, and as a consequence they have suffered persecution and massacres. During the First World War they were invited by Great Britain as an ally, helped win a desicive battle against the Ottoman Empire and were caused to lose two thirds of their nation in this war. The British had promised the Assyrians independence, autonomy and a home for all Assyrians. Instead the British mandate in Iraq was terminated and the Assyrians were released to the Iraqi Government with guarantees as a minority pursuant to the 1932 Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq (reproduced in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27). Since then Iraq has failed to comply with the articles of its 1932 Declaration (see also: E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52). This also meant that Iraq has ignored the land ownership and special rights and privileges that were accorded to the inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet which, in 1925, were conditionally placed under the authority of the Kingdom of Iraq.

In Iraq we have a very unique situation which offers an opportunity to demonstrate to the World of Nations that we can do something about effectively providing human rights to minorities that are under the perview of your Sub-Commission. To be sure, the Government of Iraq cannot alone be blamed for the present denial of human rights to the minorities in Northern Iraq. Nevertheless, Iraq must be held fully accountable for the denial of human, religious, and linguistic rights to the Assyrians, Kurds and Turkoman, and other minorities residing in the rest of the country. Examples of violations affecting the Assyrian community are detailed by the Special Rapporteur on Iraq of the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1992/31, p.30, 31; E/CN.4/1994/58, p.33; E/CN.4/1995/91).

The situation in Iraq is such that not only are the Assyrians politically discriminated against but they are also deprived of their freedom to practice their religion and preserve their idendity, culture and language. To the Assyrians which are the indigenous people of Iraq, religion and language are so intertwined that to suppress either one will effectively mean the destruction of the Assyrian identity.

The events of 1991 have brought about some responsibilities to the Commission and Sub-Commission by the acts of the United Nations which, without questioning the integrity of the country of Iraq, provides for a Comfort Zone where the majority of inhabitants North of the 36th parallel are part of the minorities of Assyrians, Kurds and Turkoman.

The results of the efforts of the past few years speak for themselves: Three thousand killed or wounded. A continuous struggle for power through control of humanitarian aid being supplied to the divided Kurds "governing" the area. A population kept captive under Kurdish control. And elections which gave false hopes of an independent Kurdish Nation. Those members of the minorities which are not allied with either of the armed camps fear for their safety and for that of their family. They struggle to provide ways of earning a living and protect their property from each other while those in command do little or nothing to help.

Yet, the opportunities exist to effectively safeguard and promote human rights to all Assyrians, Kurds, Turkoman and others of Northern Iraq. To accomplish this it is in the hands of the Sub-Commission to call for corresponding steps to be taken by the appropriate United Nation bodies. Most urgently, the power to distribute humanitarian aid must not be left in the hands of those who no longer have the confidence of the people.

AN INTERIM CIVIL ADMINISTRATION, SUPPORTED MILITARILY BY THE ALLIES, MUST BE PUT INTO PLACE WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SERVICES AND ENSURE THE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF HUMANITARIAN AID,

This administration must adaquately reflect Middle East customs and traditions, and it must ensure freedom, liberty and justice for all. As such it would have to provide the necessary services and security, giving the local inhabitants the opportunity to effectively pursue the reconstruction of their villages and homes, and ensuring their civil, human, and property rights. The necessary financial means do not depend on further taxpayer money; they are already in hand and present no problem. Whatever the future holds, this process must provide a solution which is also acceptable for Iraq and the neighboring peoples and governments. For it must not become a source of regional instability, but rather one of stability, security and economic well being.




UNITED NATIONS

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities

48th Session, item 6

 Written statement, agreed to be submitted 8 August 1996 by the Transnational Radical Party (§),
a non-governmental organization in consultative status (category II)

"OIL-FOR-FOOD" vs. ASSYRIAN PROPERTY RIGHTS IN IRAQ(*)

1.       Six years of an effectively applied economic boycott could not fail to take its toll, even if its authors carefully sought to cushion the effects of the UN sanctions regime for the Iraqi population in that they exempted from the beginning food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. These programs in favor of the Iraqi people (and the way they were handled) developed a dynamic of their own with some unforeseen consequences. The longer the sanctions lasted and produced ever graver effects on Iraq's inhabitants and social fabric, the more effective aid grew into a humanitarian, moral and political imperative. In light of the growing donor fatigue - due to the increasing needs created by natural and man-made disasters taxing the world community's relief resources - it was also indispensable to devise ways and means for financing these humanitarian aid programs for Iraq without reliance on already burdened foreign taxpayers.

 2.       Accordingly, the United Nations Security Council adopted successively improved "oil-for-food" resolutions SCR 706, 712 and 986, providing notably for covering the external costs of related humanitarian aid programs (1).  Thereby, an old and unsettled question, i.e. "Who owns Iraq's oil?", seems to have been overlooked, if not prejudiced without due process - at the expense of the "internationally protected" Assyrian (2), Kurdish, Turkoman and other landowners, and in favor of the Iraqi State. Alternatively, being alerted to this delicate legal problem by way of an internal UN memorandum dated April 1992, the authors of said resolutions seem to have not only recognized the pitfalls but left it to the courts to finally settle eventual claims.  For SCR 986 provides immunity against seizure only while "petroleum or petroleum products", or proceeds from them, are "under Iraqi title", suggesting that the Iraqi State, in the event, would have to carry the burden of proof that it has good title for the petroleum resources located in Iraqi territory, i.e. that it obtained these rights with due process and in line with Iraq's international obligations.

 3.       In 1932, when the League of Nations carved Iraq out of the remains of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq incurred permanently binding international minority protection obligations which were supposed to protect also the Assyrians.  These freely accepted obligations cover not only such specific human rights as freedom of practicing the Assyrian's Christian beliefs, language privileges and preferential employment stipulations but, most importantly, the obligation of the Iraqi State to respect the land ownership and other private property as it existed prior to Iraq's independence  (3).  Some of these rights and special privileges concern in particular the Northern part of Iraq, called the Mosul Vilayet which was conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq in 1925 (4). Iraq thus incurredinternational obligations which it could not alter unilaterally, and from which it could be relieved only by the League of Nations or, in the event, by the United Nations acting as the League's succesor in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946.

 4.       The conditions under which Iraq obtained its independence have never been altered.  The circumstances which gave rise to these international minority protection and other conditions have essentially remained.  According to testimony published by the UN Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur on Iraq, past and present human rights conditions in Iraq have provided no justification for abrogating any of Iraq's related international obligations (e.g. E/CN.4/1993/45, §§89-126; E/CN.4/1995/138, p.8).  Iraq's constitutive international obligations, too have thus remained fully binding (E/CN.4/367/Add.1), in as much as the ruling on South-West Africa, handed down by the International Court of Justice, by analogy, applies to Iraq:

5.       In the above-mentioned internal UN memorandum of April 1992, these legal elements are summed up as follows: 6.       In addition to the Turkish and Kurdish landowners, the Assyrian community - whose diaspora has a strong foothold in the American economic and political scene - is known to have also significant land claims not only in the Mosul Vilayet but all over Iraq.  In this light, serious legal challenges to the UN's "oil-for-food" program are conceivable.  Those UN departments which arefinancially dependent on a smooth implementation and operation of SCR 986 no less than those concerned about the humanitarian fate of the people in either the government- or the Kurdish-controlled part of Iraq would thus be well advised to prepare for alternative solutions.  This seems to be the more indicated as SCR 986 can be seen:  7.     In contrast, if the landownership rights in the Mosul Vilayet in particular would be respected by all concerned, significant opportunities for effectively safeguarding and promoting human rights in the Mosul Vilayet and beyond could quickly be turned into reality.  Inspired by the positive experiences made by the United Nations with interim administrations in Cambodia, Eastern Slavonia and elsewhere, corresponding steps are called for to be taken in- and outside of the UN System by the appropriate bodies (E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).

 8.       Most urgently, the power to distribute humanitarian aid must not be left in the hands of those who no longer have the confidence of the people.  In order to provide the necessary de-mining, rebuilding and other services, including the equitable distribution of humanitarian aid, it has become indispensable to replace the present power structure in the Mosul Vilayet with an interim administration which is to be militarily supported by the Allies and which is also acceptable for the neighboring peoples and governments.

 9.       This sanctions-free and self-financed interim administration must adaquately reflect Middle East customs and traditions, and it must ensure freedom, liberty and justice for all.  As such, it would have to provide the necessary services and security, giving the local inhabitants the opportunity to effectively pursue the reconstruction of their villages, churches and homes, and ensuring their civil, human, and property rights.  Authorized to develop the local resources and to trade freely, the necessary financial means would no longer depend on ever scarcer taxpayer money.  Thus, these resources could finally become a source of regional stability, security and economic well-being.

*           *           *

NOTES

(§)    Like the preceding Written Statement "A European Solution to Turkey's Minority Problems" (submitted to the Sub-Commission on 11 August 1995 by another NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC, i.e. the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation), this paper, on grounds which have not been clarified, has yet to be published by the UN Secretariat.  Curiously, the editor of these and the other preceding Written Statements (published by the UN), while attending the March 1996 session of the Commission on Human Rights as duly accredited Representative of a third ECOSOC NGO, i.e. the Germany-based World Society of Victimology, was prevented from exercising his functions at the UN in Geneva by an administrative ukase, without due process and in violation of ECOSOC Resolution 1296 (XLIV).  This suggests precedent-setting illegal interferences with the work of the United Nations by influential third parties.

(*)     prepared in cooperation with John Nimrod, Secretary-General, Assyrian Universal Alliance (7055 North Clark Street, Chicago, Il. 60626, U.S.A.; t:1773-2749262, f: 1773-2745866) and the CORUM Research Group (box 2580, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland, t+f:4122-7400362, e: swissbit@solami.com).

(1)     in addition to various UN administrative costs and compensation payments for damages incurred in the course of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

(2)    Assyria is not to be confounded with Syria, even though the Assyrian Empire of some 4000 years ago did indeed embrace all of what is now modern Syria - and much more.  Assyria was destroyed as a political system in 612 BC but not as a nation, not as a race and not as a language.  However, there are definite and continuous traces of Assyrians throughout history since 612 BC.  They were among the first to embrace Christianity in the first century AD, and as a consequence they have suffered persecution and massacres.  During the First World War they were invited by Great Britain as an ally, helped win a decisive battle against the Ottoman Empire and were caused to lose two thirds of their population in that war.  The British had promised the Assyrians independence, autonomy and a home for all Assyrians.  Instead the British mandate in Iraq was terminated and the Assyrians were released to the Iraqi Government, covered by the international minority protection guarantees written into the Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932.  Since then Iraq has failed to comply with most articles of its still binding 1932 Declaration (see also: E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).  In particular, Iraq has violated article 14 (covering land ownership rights), and it ignored special rights and privileges that were accorded to the inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet which, in 1925, were placed under the conditional and limited authority of the Kingdom of Iraq.

(3)Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932, article 14 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27).

(4)To the South, the Mosul Vilayet borders on Iraq's Baghdad Vilayet, to the West on Syria, to the North on Turkey and to the East on Iran.  It includes the Diala District, as defined in the League of Nations inquiry of 1925.  According to the last available census (1920), its surface is 91009 km2, and its inhabitants were 579713 Sunnites, 22180 Shiites, 14835 Jews and 55470 Christians, i.e. mostly Assyrians (Report by HM's Government to the League Council on the Administration of Iraq for the year 1929, p.71).



AMSTERDAM RESOLUTION
adopted by the Assyrian Amsterdam Conference of 25-27 April 2003 (*)
[url: www.solami.com/assyriansawake.htm]

We, the undersigned Assyrians who are part of the indigenous and constitutive peoples of Iraq, representing a total of over 3 million persons living mostly in Iraq, the United States, Europe and Australia,

noting that in 1932, when the predecessor of the United Nations carved Iraq out of the remains of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq incurred permanently binding international minority protection obligations (.../a3a.htm#obligations) which cover not only such specific human rights as freedom of practicing the Assyrian's Christian beliefs, language privileges and preferential employment stipulations (.../CERES.htm#guarantees) but, most importantly, the obligation of the Iraqi State to respect the land ownership and other private property as it existed prior to Iraq's independence (.../a3a.htm#protected rights)(**);

noting that for Iraq's Assyrians, too, religion and language are so intertwined that to suppress either one will effectively mean the destruction of the Assyrian identity;

noting also that the International Court of Justice, in 1950, unequivocally stated (.../a3a.htm#367/Add.1):

noting that, nevertheless, already in 1933 Iraq's Assyrian community suffered "genocidal practices" at the hands of the Iraqi authorities and that, until recently, successive Iraqi regimes continued to gravely violate Iraq's international obligations also with regard to Assyrian minority and property rights, thus - at least as far as Iraq's Assyrian minority is concerned - rendering meaningless the potentially still useful system of international minority and property rights guarantees:

take note of the political and military leadership of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain and Australia which is intended to bring about overdue changes in all of Iraq, i.e. this leadership provides for duly representative national and local governments headed by credible leaders to enforce the humanitarian and security-related UN Security Council resolutions 688 and 1441, and it opens the way to finally fulfill the all-too-long neglected international minority and property rights conditions which the international community had enshrined into Iraq's basic laws;

invite the Member States of the UN General Assembly to see to it
-    that the UN's economic sanctions are promptly lifted,
-    that the Iraqi people may enjoy their own sovereignty rights and resources, i.e. without inappropriate UN burdens and in line with the UN Report of April 1992 (.../UN92.htm), and
-    that, in accordance with its own Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946 (.../UNGA.htm#1946), the UN Trusteeship Council, or another suitable UN body, be charged with the exercise of functions or powers entrusted to the League of Nations by virtue of the Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932 (.../a3a.htm#DECLARATION);

request in particular the authorities of Switzerland and of other art markets to take such legislative and administrative measure which they deem proper and effective in order to promote the return of looted archeological treasures to their rightful owners; and

invite the representatives of the Arab, Kurdish, Turkomen and other constitutive parts of Iraq's multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-language society to jointly explore suitable avenues for contributing to the regional stability as well as to the internal and external security, e.g. by creating a Truth Commission for examining and overcoming the effects of Iraq's recent past.
 

NOTES

(*)    Assyria is not to be confounded with Syria, even though the Assyrian Empire of some 4000 years ago did indeed embrace all of what is now modern Syria - and much more.  Assyria was destroyed as a political system in 612 BC but not as a nation, not as a race and not as a language.  However, there are definite and continuous traces of Assyrians throughout history since 612 BC.  They were among the first to embrace Christianity in the first century AD, and as a consequence they have suffered persecution and massacres.  During the First World War they were invited by Great Britain as an ally, helped win a decisive battle against the Ottoman Empire and were caused to lose two thirds of their population in that war.  In articles 38ss of the Lausanne Treaty of 24 July 1923 (.../Lausanne.htm), "non-Muslims" such as the Assyrians were given special protection by way of special Turkish "obligations of international concern".  The British had promised the Assyrians independence, autonomy and a home for all Assyrians.  Instead the British mandate in Iraq was terminated and the Assyrians were released to the Iraqi Government, covered by the international minority protection guarantees written into the Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932.  Since then Iraq has failed to comply with most articles of its still binding 1932 Declaration (see also: E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).  In particular, Iraq has violated article 14 (covering land ownership rights), and it ignored special rights and privileges that were accorded to the inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet which, in 1925, were placed under the conditional and limited authority of the Kingdom of Iraq.

(**)    Some of these rights and special privileges concern in particular the Northern part of Iraq, called the Mosul Vilayet which was conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq in 1925 (.../UNGA.htm). Iraq thus incurred international obligations which it could not alter unilaterally, and from which it could be relieved only by the League of Nations or, in the event, by the United Nations acting as the League's succesor in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946.
 
Assyrian Universal Alliance
Assyrian National Organization
Assyrian Liberation Party (GFA)
Shuraya Party
Assyrian Democratic Party
Bethnahrin Freedom Party
Patriotic Union of Bethnahrin
Assyrian Liberation Movement
Assyrian Patriotic Party
Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Union
Dutch Union of Christians of the Middle East
Syriac Assyrian Federation
Syriac League of Lebanon
Babylon - Institute for Assyrian Kultur - Eu
Atour Assyrian Association of Armenia
Assyrian Federation of Russia
Assyrian Australian National Federation
Assyrian American National Federation
Dutch Assyrian Society
Assyrian Youth Federation of Middle Europe
Assyrian Youth Ferderation of Sweden
Free Women of Bethnahrin (HNHB)
Svenska Kommitten for Assyrier (SKA)
Assyrian-Syriac Union - Germany (UASD)
International Assyrian Congress of Georgia
CaldoAshor Organization Communist Party of Iraq


contact:  Senator John J. Nimrod (ret.), Secretary General, Assyrian Universal Alliance | www.aua.net
tel:    +1773-2749262    fax:    +1773-2745866    e-mail: aua@ameritech.net ¦ johnnimrod@aol.com
courtesy by:  Anton Keller, Adviser & Representative of the Mosul Vilayet Council
tel + fax: +4122-7400362    e-mail: swissbit@solami.com | www.solami.com/a31.htm



Harvard & other impulses for unlocking the U.S./Iran nuclear gridlock

Dear colleagues,

This is to commend you on your imaginative search for a "Way Out of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis" ("Harvard Researchers Propose Plan to Resolve Iranian Nuclear Crisis", Abbas Maleki and Matthew Bunn, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, March 2006).  President Sadat's gridlock-busting historical trip to Jerusalem is, of course, for any statesman a difficult act to follow. Yet, a trip to Teheran would at least match the gesture of the Iranian President. Meanwhile, we have to play the cards already in our hands.

Interestingly, your contribution  is seen to confirm and strengthen the analysis underlying the proposal made by some Swiss lawmakers (www.solami.com/nptmotion.htm ¦ .../3103.htm)
a)    to call for an urgent comprehensive review of the developments related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, e.g. by way of a follow-up meeting to the 1968 Non-Nuclear Weapon States Conference (until whose termination, Iran might agree to suspend its uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes) and, in the event,
b)    to facilitate the operation, for peaceful purposes, of the said-to-be-critical nuclear facilities in Iran, with full Iranian participation but under foreign, e.g. Russian sovereignty (drawing inspiration from the Swiss-US nuclear cooperation agreement of 1955: .../NPT.htm#3388 ¦ .../Saphir.tif), as earlier proposed to the UN Secretary General (.../iranmail.htm ¦ .../landler.htm).

I have just returned from a brief visit to Washington where I had an opportunity to take the temperature for the above-outlined principled ideas among policy advisers and decision-makers on the Hill, at Foggy Bottom and on K Street. To my dismay, I found the temperature already uncomfortably hot and rapidly rising (as publicly summarized e.g. by Seymour M. Hersh in "THE IRAN PLANS", The New Yorker, April 17, 2006, and Akeel Shah in "More Dark Clouds Gathering Over Iran?", blogcritics.org, May 10, 2006). And I got a bit alarmed by the locally dominant mood and mindset which is seen to reflect an increasingly generalized saturation, compliance mode and inability/unwillingness to lean back. Long gone is the time when good advice was given in Richard Nixon's 1969 Inaugural Address,namely to "lower your voice" in order to be able to listen to weaker external and internal voices who may also have something helpful to tell each one of us - in as much as nobody has a monopoly for good ideas.

Not surprisingly then, the Iranian President's initiative to overcome persistent communication hurdles by way of an unusual roots-oriented letter to his American counterpart (www.president.ir ¦ www.solami.com/irancredo.htm), initially at least, struck few sympathetic cords on the Western side of the debate. And though this initiative may have been inspired by such astounding ancient military/diplomatic feats as the 1229 Jaffa Peace Treaty on Jerusalem (.../jaffa.htm), it may not, on its own, produce the mutually helpful timely effects for avoiding the looming disaster which risks to extend far beyond Iran.

Accordingly, we thus herewith submit for consideration a brief outline of lesser-known related circumstances. They are seen to have a bearing on the hopefully non-military resolution of the nuclear gridlock between the U.S. and Iran, two countries some observers consider to be unsuspecting "natural allies", just as the Palestinians and the Israelis have yet to rediscover their true family roots:

1.    The "intolerable existential danger" that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would be posing to Israel's physical existence in the minds of her closest supporters is seen to be real.  By the same token, mutual misunderstandings bred by a persistent lack of dialogue, ignorance of historical facts, and erroneous interpretations of incomplete records continue to cloud the spirits and debates on related matters. To be sure, there is no real substitute for political clear-sightedness, courage and corresponding principled measures. And while assymetric and otherwise deficient bureaucratic band-aides may hold back the tide for some time, the dangers thus piling up out of sight may make matters even worse for the next generation. Not surprisingly then, the basic structure and content of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT: .../NPT.htm ¦ .../holygrail.htm) have proven to be woefully inadequate for dealing responsibly, reliably and effectively with either the legitimate aspirations of sovereign nations or such perceived-to-be existential dangers. The urgent call submitted by Swiss lawmakers for a follow-up stock-taking and brain-storming to the 1968 Non-Nuclear Weapon States Conference (.../3103.htm ¦ .../nptmotion.htm#Swiss) appears thus timely and worth considering.

2.    Both as a statesman and a teacher, the Iranian President rightly points to, and draws inspiration from Persia's eternal cultural values, notably its traditions for righteousness and tolerance, as well as for good thoughts, good words and good deeds. And if he were to pursue this path still further, and follow Al-Azhar's guidance on the proposal to study the "roots of Islam, particularly those preceding Judean and Christian traditions" (.../slm.htm ¦ .../a1.htm), he too might enlighten his students on the "phenomenon of Israel", Senegal, etc. as being yet-to-be recognized outgrowths of Akhenaton's Egypt (Jan Assmann, "Moses the Egyptian - The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism", Harvard University Press Cambridge, 1998; Ahmed Osman, "Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus", 2002; "The Dawn of Monotheism Revisited", Corum Netquery, 2000; Theophile Osenga, "Origine commune de l'Egyptien ancien, du copte et des langues négro-africaines modernes", Harmattan, 1993).
    With that, of course, the Iranian President, and many others, might also find pause in the heated debate over the true origins and legitimate place of the people which has emerged from the Babylonian exile. And which is seen as having an even more obligeing past than commonly recognized, as Israeli and other archeologists are suggesting (Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, "The Bible Unearthed", Touchstone, 2002). A vastly increased dialogue on "Political Islam and the West", commenced in 1997 in Cyprus, is thus called for. And enlightened politicians in Iran and elsewhere might further advance the needed dialogue by helping to bring about a volontary, mutually fruitful and generally gridlock-unlocking exile experience for their Palestinian friends - a search for the unmasked truth and an experience which could prove no less unifying, fortifying and enriching as that which their estranged "Jewish" brethren had experienced in Babylon (.../pal.htm ¦ .../mvciht.htm ¦ .../babylon2.htm).

3.     On numerous occasions in- and outside of the UN Human Rights Commission meetings, our Representatives had the opportunity to testify not only of the plight of religious, cultural and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, including on the expulsed Hamas leaders in Lebanon and the Yezidi in Iraq (.../a33e.htm#MVRC-ICRC ¦ .../ICESC.htm#Daud Baghistani). But on August 14, 1995, we also availed our NGO facilities to the Very Reverend Father Nshan Ara Garabed Topouzian who authoritatively reported to this UN Commission on the "Christians as a Religious Minority in Iran".  At first, Father Topouzian's favorable report was received - not atypically - with utter disbelief and strong objections by another of our Representatives, David Littman who, ten days earlier, had presented his visionary paper "Towards a United States of Abraham in the Middle East". And two days later, under the sponsorship of our NGO, the Algerian FIS had its fiercely resisted but in the end well received first presentation at the UN through its delegate Said Lahlali, who testified in French on the subject: "Towards real enjoyment of the economic, social and cultural rights by Algier's youth" (Vers une véritable jouissance des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, notamment par la jeunesse Algérienne).
    To be sure, none of these contributions brought about the resolution of any of the conflicts concerned. Yet - just as we all trust it to be the case with the Iranian President's letter - all of them eventually made their dent. For they were inspired by their authors' principled positions, openness, and willingness to contribute their own share for unlocking gridlock by listening to others and by re-evaluating their own position in light of new insights. These authors, too drew strength and guidance from deeply felt roots in their monotheistic Judean, Christian or Muslim beliefs. Moreover, inside and among the leadership of our NGO, these contributions had a profound effect on our subsequent work. We took sort of a sabbatical leave from our "normal" UN activities (.../ICESC.htm), focussing instead on the religious, cultural and ethnic common dominators of the regional conflicts (Vivant Sequentes ¦ .../salve.htm ¦ .../opinion.htm). God willing, and with the support of the powers that be in Arbil and other capitals, the SLM Foundation for the study of the roots of monotheism prior to the Judean, Christian and Muslim traditions (.../slm.htm) may thus be created shortly, contribute in time its grain to the transformation of conflicts, and deploy its stabilizing and regenerative effects in the cradle of civilization and beyond.

Accordingly, your own and the above-outlined proposals are expected to facilitate the all-too-long suspended, yet indispensable dialogue between the interested parties. We thus look forward to an early opportunity to study related comments and, in the event, to be of assistance to the authorities concerned.

With best regards

Philip Wainwright, Main I.C.E.S.C. Representative to the UN in New York
Anton Keller, I.C.E.S.C. Representative
International Committee for European Security and Cooperation (I.C.E.S.C.)
cp 2580    -    1211 Geneva 2    -    +4122-7400362    -   swissbit@solami.com

PS:  We'd appreciate your notifying us of related contributions which might advance the debate, enlighten and assist the decision-makers here and there, and which thus should be added to the list of "more recent contributions" in our main site "Armament, Sovereignty & Laws - Contributions on War & Peace, Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc."(.../NPT.htm).

May 16, 2006    url: www.solami.com/iranmail2.htm




Exit Pathway Indicators on Current Mideastern Conflicts

1.    The Iranian Government reportedly called on the Swiss Government for rendering good offices in nuclear security matters (www.solami.com/iran.htm#diplomacy), notably in the form of preparing for and holding in Switzerland in autumn 2007 an international conference involving both nuclear weapon states (NWS) and non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). The Swiss Government is thus expected to develop the conference agenda in consultation with the interested states, and the Iranian Government is understood to suspend, volontarily and without prejudice, all of its civil-purpose and IAEA-controlled uranium enrichment activities until after the conclusion of this conference.

2.    The Iranian Government, in coopertation with the Lebanese Government, sees to it that UNSCR 1559 will be fully implemented forthwith, with all mobile and non-mobile offensive weapons stationed on Lebanese territory fully accounted for and either destroyed or brought under the exclusive control of the Lebanese army. At the request of the Lebanese Government, the governments of France, Iran, Israel, Syria and the United States jointly provide their good offices for supervising the corresponding measures effectively, reliably and without impediments of any nature, but with due regard to the sovereignty of Lebanon.

3.    The Israeli Government agrees to withdraw its armed forces forthwith behind the blue line and, upon mutual cessation of hostilities, to establish a neutralized zone in the sense of art.15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention (.../neutralzone.htm) under its administration over all of the territory of the Shaba farms until a definitive international agreement will have resolved the related sovereignty and boundary questions.

ICESC - 9 August 2006




MEMO 4:   Si vis pacem para bellum!

1.    The backbone of any genuinely sovereign nation is its armed forces, which will reflect the composition and structure of the society which formed it. In the case of Lebanon, too, this appears to be a generally supportable aim. Lebanon's political pact among its constitutive ethnic and religious communities apears to indicate an organic evolution towards essentially de-centralized, e.g. cantonal structures, even in defence matters - similar to the way Switzerland is now organized. The run-up to, the current outcome and the aftermath of the latest Israel/Lebanon war are seen to lend themselves for accelerating this process towards internally agreeable and regionally stabilizing political and defence formulas and institutions.

2.    A credible and effective defence of, particularly, population centers against foreign air operations is - and for the foreseeable future probably remains - unobjectionable, both in international law and current Mideastern politics. The home-grown and locally enrooted forces not only effectively demonstrated the limits of conventional air power but also contributed decisively to the outcome-to-date of the latest military campaign. As such, they appear as a natural candidate for building and constituting the core of a territorially zoned air defense corps as an integral part of the Lebanese Army, with responsibility to secure not only Lebanon's air space, but also its civil infrastructure and population centers, from Tyre to Tripoli. Such a reorganization and refocussing of defence resources might, in a generally stabilizing way, liberate other segments of the Lebanese Army in sufficient numbers for a return to the status quo ante in the country's southern part to be reliably ruled out, even if foreign troops stationed there did not attain the objectives set out in UNSCR 1701.

3.    On the question of rockets and other offensive strategic material, there can be no serious question in international law of the sovereign nation of Lebanon to have not only the right but - not unlike a permanently neutral armed country - also the sovereign obligation to acquire and equip itself with all the weapons it deems necessary for the effective defence of its national territory and space. This, of course, entails the equally strict condition that any decision over, and the effective use of strategic offensive weapons in particular is, and must reliably remain, the exclusive prerogative of the internationally responsible, constitutional Lebanese authorities. Accordingly, and in as much as related questions have arisen and remain not resolved to the satisfaction of Israel in particular, it behooves the constitutional Lebanese authorities - as suggested before - to take effective control over any and all offensive weapons on its territory and, in the event, to draw on the good offices of other countries for reliably accounting and disposing of these weapons.

ICESC    19 August 2006    url: www.solami.com/airdefence.htm