Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
IN THE NEAR EAST
Special identification cards for all Palestine refugees
Report of the Secretary—General
1. By resolution 37/120 I of 16 December 1982, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General, “in co—operation with the Commissioner—General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to issue identification cards to all Palestine refugees and their descendants, irrespective of whether they are recipients or not of rations and services from the Agency, as well as to all displaced persons and to those who have been prevented from returning to their home as a result of the 1967 hostilities, and their descendants”. The Secretary—General was also requested to report to the Assembly at its thirty—eighth session on the implementation of that resolution.
2. To assist him in implementing the resolution, the Secretary—General established a team of experts including representatives of the Division of Palestinian Rights, the Office of Legal Affairs, the Office for Special Political Affairs, the Department of Political and Security Council Affairs and the United ‘ Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
For the purpose of its work the team considered two broad categories of Palestinians covered by the terms of the resolution:
(a) Those registered with UNRWA numbering some 1.9 million persons;
(b) Those not so registered.
4. Regarding those in category (a), the team noted that, prior to the General Assembly decision, the Commissioner—General of UNRWA had already decided to Issue individual registration cards to all refugees registered with the Agency to replace the present family cards. The measures taken by the Commissioner—General in this regard are set forth in his annual report to the Assembly at its thirty—eighth session. 1/. In respect of those in category (b), the team considered the steps that would need to be taken in the process of identifying them and the related issues involved. Since large numbers of Palestinians are dispersed over many countries, it was evident that the co—operation of host Governments would be essential for the implementation of the resolution.
5. In the light of these considerations, the Secretary—General addressed notes verbales to all Governments seeking information as to the number of Palestinians residing in each country that are covered by General Assembly resolution 37/120 At the time each Government’s views were solicited concerning ways of implementing the resolution as regards the Palestinians living within its jurisdiction.
6. A note verbale was also addressed to the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization requesting information on the number of Palestinians involved and their location, as well as the organization’s views regarding the implementation of the resolution.
7. Twenty replies were received from Governments. Half of the Governments that responded declared either that there were no Palestinians residing in their countries or that there were no Palestinians who were covered by the resolution. Two Governments replied that the ethnic backgrounds of aliens residing in their countries were not known. Others provided the numbers of Palestinians residing i their countries, but the total of those referred to is less than 500.
8. In his response, the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization requested that UNRWA should proceed with the issuance of identity cards to those Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA.
9. In these circumstances the Secretary—General is unable, at this stage, to proceed further with the implementation of the resolution. However, should significant additional information become available through further replies from Governments, the Secretary—General will reassess the situation and inform the General Assembly accordingly.
1/ See Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty—eighth Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/38/13), chap. II.C.