Adopted by the Committee on 12 March 2004. See also GA/PAL/945.
About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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Draft programme of work for 2004
I. Mandate of the Committee
1. The mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the year 2004 is contained in General Assembly resolutions 58/18, 58/19 and 58/20 of 3 December 2003.
2. In its resolution 58/18, entitled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”, the General Assembly expressed its appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it by the General Assembly and took note of its annual report,1 including the conclusions and recommendations contained in chapter VII thereof ; requested it to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to support the Middle East peace process and to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people, and authorized it to make such adjustments in its approved programme of work as it might consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session and thereafter. The Assembly also requested the Committee to continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the General Assembly, the Security Council or the Secretary-General, as appropriate. It requested the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other civil society organizations in order to mobilize international solidarity and support for the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights and for a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, and to involve additional civil society organizations in its work. The Assembly furthermore requested the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and other United Nations bodies and entities associated with the question of Palestine to continue to cooperate fully with the Committee and to make available to it, at its request, the relevant information and documentation which they had at their disposal. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to circulate the report of the Committee to all competent bodies of the United Nations, and urged them to take the necessary action, as appropriate.
3. In its resolution 58/19, entitled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continued to carry out its work as detailed in the relevant earlier resolutions, in consultation with the Committee and under its guidance, including, in particular, the organization of meetings and conferences in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community, the further development and expansion of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, the preparation and widest possible dissemination of publications and information materials on various aspects of the question of Palestine and the provision of the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority.
4. In its resolution 58/20, entitled “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat”, the General Assembly requested the Department of Public Information, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee, to continue, with the necessary flexibility, as might be required by developments, its special information programme for the biennium 2004-2005, and outlined a number of specific activities to be carried out under the programme.
II. Priority issues in the programme of work of the Committee for 2004
5. The Committee has reviewed the various aspects of its own programme of work and that of the Division for Palestinian Rights, as well as of the mandates governing them. It will continue to make adjustments in this programme in order to enhance its responsiveness to developments in the peace process and the situation on the ground, as well as to raise its effectiveness in promoting the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
6. During 2003, the Committee remained concerned at the lack of serious headway in the political process and the absence of any tangible improvement in the security area. It was hopeful that the situation could be redressed through the efforts of the Quartet, including the United Nations. In its report to the General Assembly at its fifty-eighth session, the Committee emphasized that the Organization should maintain its permanent responsibility with respect to all aspects of the question of Palestine until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions, in accordance with international legitimacy and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized. The Committee also stressed the critical peacemaking role played by the Security Council. The Committee welcomed the adoption of resolution 1515 (2003) by the Council and called upon the parties to fulfil their obligations under the Road Map in cooperation with the Quartet in order to achieve the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. It also called upon the Council to encourage steps towards creating an effective mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the plan and for protection of the Palestinian population, including through authorizing the deployment of international observers.
7. The Committee intends to continue to promote support for the Road Map and the important work of the Quartet in pursuance of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and other relevant resolutions, and the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
8. The Committee stresses its strong opposition to the construction by the occupying Power of the illegal wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which has had devastating immediate and longer-term implications for the livelihood of the Palestinian population. The Committee firmly believes that the construction endangers international efforts aimed at resolving the conflict. The Committee will call upon the international community, most notably the Security Council and the General Assembly, to attach the necessary importance to this issue, with a view to stopping the de facto annexation of Palestinian land and the construction of the wall by the occupying Power. The Committee considers the request by the General Assembly to the International Court of Justice to determine the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall an important step towards upholding international law in efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It took note of the fact that a considerable number of Member States, as well as the United Nations and other international organizations, had provided the Court with their written statements and had indicated readiness to participate in the hearings on the issue.
9. The Committee is of the view that its programme of activities, mandated by the General Assembly, continues to make a valuable and positive contribution to heightening international awareness of the root cause of the conflict — the occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It contributes to a better understanding of the importance of the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to an independent, sovereign State, and for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine. Aware of the dangers posed by the continuing Israeli settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the Committee will emphasize the importance of ceasing all settlement activities and reversing them in order to create conditions conducive to the resumption of the political process. The Committee will also strive to work with maximum effectiveness in order to respond adequately and in a timely manner to the rapidly evolving situation on the ground, while promoting a constructive analysis and discussion of the various aspects of the question of Palestine and mobilizing international assistance to the Palestinian people.
10. As in previous years, the Committee will maintain its support of the Palestinian people and the political process through a variety of activities. In the course of the year, the Committee will pay special attention to reviewing the situation on the ground and to stressing the need to redress it by putting an end to the illegal policies and practices of the occupying Power, such as the settlement activity, the construction of the wall and various measures of collective punishment. The Committee will maintain its support for efforts at restoring the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, including through the Quartet and the continued personal engagement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. The Committee will also focus on issues relating to the state of the Palestinian economy and the urgency of providing international emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. It will lay special emphasis on raising international awareness of the plight of Palestinian women and children, who are particularly affected by the situation on the ground.
11. The Committee attaches great importance to enhancing the cooperation and coordination between the Department of Public Information and the Division for Palestinian Rights, in implementation of their respective mandates. In its resolution 58/20, the General Assembly requested the Department, inter alia, to expand its collection of audio-visual material on the question of Palestine and to continue the production and preservation of such material. The General Assembly also requested the updating of the exhibit in the Secretariat. The Committee will continue to cooperate with the Department in carrying out the various mandated activities.
III. Activities of the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights
A. Action by the Committee
12. In pursuance of its mandate, the Committee will continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and participate in relevant meetings of the Security Council and the General Assembly. The Committee will also continue to monitor the situation on the ground and draw the attention of the international community to urgent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, requiring international action.
13. The Committee, through its Chairman, will continue to participate in relevant intergovernmental and other conferences and meetings, as necessary. The Committee considers this activity an important aspect of its work in the promotion of international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
14. In cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, the Committee will continue to maintain contacts with the Palestinian Authority and other institutions, including civil society, in the areas under its jurisdiction and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Following the practice of the previous years, the Committee will continue to invite Palestinian officials and other Palestinian personalities to meetings with members and observers of the Committee and the Secretariat, as required.
15. The Bureau of the Committee will continue consultations with Governments and intergovernmental organizations interested in its programme of work, including members of the European Union and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, as well as the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and others. These exchanges should help to promote understanding of the Committee’s mandate and objectives and would lead to greater participation in its activities.
B. Meetings and conferences
16. The Committee considers that its programme of international and regional meetings and conferences helps to promote constructive analysis and debate on the various aspects of the question of Palestine and to mobilize international support of and assistance to the Palestinian people. The programme is also aimed at promoting international efforts to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. The Committee encourages the involvement in these meetings of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society. It will continue its programme of meetings to foster support for the attainment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly. At its meetings in 2004, the Committee intends to address such issues as the status of the political process and the implementation of the Road Map; political initiatives of civil society aimed at achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians; the situation on the ground and the importance of protecting the Palestinian population; the construction of the wall and its implications; the humanitarian and socio-economic situation, including the plight of Palestinian women and children; and the further involvement of civil society.
17. In 2004, the Committee, in cooperation with prospective host countries, organizations and relevant Secretariat services, will do its utmost to ensure the success of its programme of meetings and conferences. In so doing, it will keep in mind the need for economy and the most cost-effective utilization of resources. The Committee will continue to make an effort to encourage participation by countries and organizations, which so far have not engaged fully in its programme of work.
18. The Committee intends to organize the following meetings in 2004:
• United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People
• United Nations International Meeting in Support of Middle East Peace. The Meeting will be followed by an NGO event in support of the Palestinian people
• United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine. The Meeting will be followed by an NGO event in solidarity with the Palestinian people
• United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People
C. Cooperation with civil society
Civil society organizations
19. The Committee commends civil society organizations for their efforts at upholding international legitimacy with regard to the question of Palestine through continued advocacy work and the mobilization of public opinion. The Committee appreciates their involvement in providing humanitarian relief and assistance to the Palestinian people. The Committee invites accredited civil society organizations to share with it their insights into and reports on the situation on the ground and on relevant initiatives, including through participation at meetings organized under the Committee’s auspices.
20. The Committee intends to continue to invite civil society organizations to all international meetings and conferences organized under its auspices. At these events, it will encourage them to discuss their own initiatives and campaigns and to exchange views and ideas on issues at hand. The participation of Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in such meetings and conferences should offer a unique opportunity to develop and strengthen initiatives by all strata of the international community with a view to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
21. The Committee will maintain and further develop its liaison with national, regional and international coordinating mechanisms on the question of Palestine accredited to it, in addition to the already established liaison with a large number of individual NGOs. It will continue to accredit new NGOs. Periodic meetings of consultations with civil society representatives will contribute to the further enhancement of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with NGOs.
22. The Committee is of the view that regular exchange of information with the NGO community on respective current and planned activities is crucial to its cooperation with civil society. The guidelines for accredited NGOs request the organizations to submit periodic reports on their activities. The Committee requests the Division to continue to develop and regularly update its Internet web site on NGO activities on the question of Palestine (www.un.org/depts/dpa/ngo) as a central tool for the exchange of information and communication between the United Nations and civil society. It also requests the Division to report periodically on civil society initiatives, in order to enhance the interaction between civil society and the Committee.
23. In 2004, the resources available for cooperation with civil society on the question of Palestine will be used for the following activities:
(a) Organization, whenever appropriate and feasible, of meetings of civil society organizations in conjunction with international meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Committee;
(b) Participation of representatives of the Committee and the Division in important forums and other events worldwide organized by civil society organizations;
(c) Periodic meetings of consultations with various civil society organizations with a view to briefing them on the activities of the Committee and assessing their needs that can be met through the Division’s programme of work;
(d) Providing assistance to Palestinian organizations in sending their representatives to meetings held under the auspices of the Committee or supported by the Committee.
Parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations
24. The Committee strongly believes that the role and contribution of national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations in shaping public opinion and formulating policy guidelines constitutes an important source of upholding international legitimacy in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The Committee reaffirms the continuing importance of developing closer cooperation with parliaments and representatives of inter-parliamentary bodies in order to encourage the discussion within the respective parliaments and among all strata of society of ways of supporting peace in the Middle East and resolving the question of Palestine. To that end, the Committee will strive to involve parliamentarians and representatives of inter-parliamentary organizations in international conferences and meetings organized under its auspices. Consultations between the Committee and representatives of parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations, notably the Inter-Parliamentary Union, should improve cooperation between the two sides.
D. United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine
25. The Committee requests the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue its work on the further development, expansion and administration of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, including the “UNISPAL” and “Question of Palestine” web sites. In 2004, the Division will focus on making the UNISPAL collection comprehensive as well as up to date, and its access features and displays more user-friendly. The Division will redesign various graphical aspects of its web sites and prepare, with continued guidance from the Bureau, their visually enhanced presentation on the Internet. The Committee requests the Division to report periodically on the status of UNISPAL work and on progress in the system’s development.
E. Publications programme
26. The Committee considers that the Division’s publications programme contributes to heightening international awareness of the various aspects of the question of Palestine, involvement of the United Nations and the work of the Committee, its mandate and objectives. The Division should continue this important information and outreach activity, under the guidance of the Committee, and issue the following programmed publications in a timely manner:
• Monthly bulletin on action by the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations relevant to the question of Palestine
• Periodic compilation of documents and other materials on developments related to the Middle East peace process
• Monthly chronological review of events relating to the question of Palestine
• Annual compilation of resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council relating to the question of Palestine
• Reports of international meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Committee
• Annual bulletin on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
• “NGO Action News”, a bimonthly summary of information on civil society activities on the question of Palestine
27. The Committee believes that the Division, in consultation with the Bureau, should continue to review the existing publications and make proposals with regard to those that require updating.
F. Other activities of the Division for Palestinian Rights
Training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority
28. The Committee considers that, in the light of its importance and usefulness to the Palestinian Authority, the Division should continue the training programme in 2004. The Division should also continue to develop the programme in order to make it more beneficial to the trainees. The Committee is of the view that, in selecting candidates for the programme, efforts should be made to achieve gender balance.
Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
29. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will be observed on Monday, 29 November 2004. It is envisaged that solemn meetings in observance of the Day will take place at United Nations Headquarters, at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, and elsewhere in accordance with established practice.
30. The Committee will again commemorate this anniversary with a solemn meeting and other activities. During the week beginning 29 November, a Palestinian exhibit will be presented at United Nations Headquarters in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.
31. The Committee will continue to review and assess its programme of work in the light of the situation on the ground and new developments in the political process, and will make adjustments, as necessary.
1 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-eighth Session, Supplement No.35 (A/58/35).