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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/SR.139
17 March 1987

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 139th MEETING

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 12 March 1987, at 10.30 a.m.


Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)


CONTENTS

Adoption of the agenda

Election of a Vice-Chairman

Asian Regional Seminar/NGO Symposium

North American Regional Seminar/NGO Symposium

Other matters



This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-0750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 11 a.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.

ELECTION OF A VICE-CHAIRMAN

2. Mr. Dost (Afghanistan) was elected Vice-Chairman.

ASIAN REGIONAL SEMINAR/NGO SYMPOSIUM (Working Papers Nos. 1 and 4)

3. Mr. RATH (India), speaking as Vice-Chairman of the Working Group of the
Committee, announced that the Government of India had agreed to host the Asian
Regional Seminar/NGO Symposium in New Delhi. Owing to conference-servicing
constraints, the proposed dates of the meeting had been changed to five days in June, and the response of the Indian Government as to whether the new dates were acceptable would be communicated to the Committee as soon as possible.

4. He drew attention to Working Group No. 4, setting out the draft programme for the joint events and the names of possible panelists to be invited. The aim was to integrate the Seminar and the NGO Symposium as far as possible: as indicated, some meetings would be combined and some would be held separately, and non-governmental organizations would be able to speak at the Seminar with the consent of each meeting. Interpretation would be provided in Arabic, English and French, except for the NGO workshop, and the NGO Symposium would end on the third day, while the Seminar would meet for the full five days. Two separate reports would be adopted, one by the Seminar and one by the Symposium.

5. The working paper also indicated the proposed schedule of meetings, the panel topics being those already agreed upon by the Committee. The panelists whose names had been proposed thus far - as listed in annex I to the working paper - had been selected from the list of experts already approved by the Committee (Working Paper No. 1) and from names proposed subsequently by members of the Working Group and by other delegations. The Committee should now decide if those proposed were acceptable, and should also decide which panelists should be asked to participate in the panel on the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and which ones in the panel on "The question of Palestine and Asian public opinion", so that the secretariat could invite them to prepare a paper on one of the two topics. As usual, when more than one expert from a particular country had been proposed, the secretariat would invite the first one on the list and proceed to the others if he was not available. Some delegations had indicated that they would still be submitting names of experts, and he proposed that, in accordance with past practice, the Committee should authorize the secretariat to invite those experts as soon as the names were received.

6. The Working Group also proposed that, as customary, a member of the Committee should address the panel on "The United Nations and the question of Palestine", and also the panel on "NGO collaboration on the question of Palestine and the role of the United Nations". At the request of the non-governmental organizations, the other speaker on the latter topic would be a representative of the International Co-ordinating Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations.

7. The Working Group hoped that its proposals would meet with the Committee's approval.

8. The CHAIRMAN expressed the Committee's thanks to India for agreeing to host the Asian Regional Seminar/NGO Symposium.

9. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that his delegation approved of the draft programme proposed by the Working Group. For the first time in the Committee's practice, seminar and symposium were being combined. The idea seemed a good one, for it would ensure a broad exchange of opinions. The organization of such meetings in the future would depend on how well the combined approach worked. He trusted that the Division for Palestinian Rights, under its new leadership, would achieve this successfully.

10. The Ukrainian SSR also agreed that invitations should be sent to the experts listed. The Committee should be flexible, however, in allowing other experts to be invited as well. His Government, for instance, was not sure whether the experts it had proposed would all be able to participate, but it was able to confirm their interest, in principle, in attending the meetings.

11. Mr. WANG Xuexian (Observer for China) asked how many experts would be invited in all.

12. The CHAIRMAN said that 20 experts would be invited for the Seminar and six for the three-day NGO symposium.

13. Mr. WANG Xuexian (Observer for China), noting that a number of experts from other continents were listed in the report of the Working Group among those to be invited, said that his delegation felt that it would be better to have experts mainly from the Asian area attend an Asian regional meeting. China was interested in the Seminar, and the names of the Chinese experts nominated by the Government would be forwarded once they were received.

14. Past experience had shown that media coverage of such seminars and symposia were as important as, if not more important than, the seminars themselves, which were after all an exercise in mobilizing world public opinion in favour of the Palestinian cause. Every effort should therefore be made to ensure full coverage of the meetings.

15. The CHAIRMAN said that it should be possible, by working with the Indian
Government and the local press corps, to attract wide coverage. Such meetings
were, of course, always publicized by the Department of Public Information.

16. Mr. RATHORE (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the intention had been to provide the Committee with the list of experts approved at the last meeting, together with all new names proposed. The list was obviously still only tentative. It should be possible both to meet the concerns of the representative of China for a preponderance of Asian participants and to satisfy those who felt that some experts from other regions could be invited, but that was entirely at the discretion of the Committee.

17. Mr. EL-FAWWAZ (Observer for Jordan) said that Jordan was very interested in participating in the meeting and would soon put forward the name of a Jordanian expert.

18. Mr. KARRAN (Guyana) said that he agreed with China that the Asian Regional Seminar/NGO Symposium should focus on that region in the matter of the choice of experts also. However, the point of the Seminar/Symposium was to sensitize the international community to the Palestinian question, and other regions should therefore be represented. He agreed that the role of the media needed to be emphasized. He expressed confidence that the Division for Palestinian Rights, under the direction of its new Chief, would organize this important event to the full satisfaction of the Committee.

19. Mr. AL-KIDWA (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) thanked the Indian Government for agreeing to host the Seminar/Symposium, a reflection of its friendly and principled stand in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people. He agreed with the Ukrainian position that the Committee should be very flexible in its final choice of experts to be invited to that and to other seminars/symposia. It was understood, of course, that no expert participated as a representative of his Government. The PLO felt that it was very important for experts of all regions to attend since that was highly advantageous to the Palestinian cause, but it did agree with the Chinese delegation that the focus should be on Asian participation. The secretariat would undoubtedly find a good compromise that would satisfy both concerns.

20. Mr. RATHORE (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the Committee should inform the secretariat which of the experts participating in the NGO symposium would speak on the International Peace Conference and which would speak on Asian public opinion.

21. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the report of the Working Group as introduced by its Vice-Chairman.

22. It was so decided.

NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR/NGO SYMPOSIUM (Working Papers Nos. 2 and 3)

23. Mr. RATH (India), speaking as Vice-Chairman of the Working Group, said that the representatives of the 12 non-governmental organizations comprising the North American Co-ordinating Committee had met to prepare the proposed programme for the North American NGO Symposium; the outcome of their work was reflected in Working Paper No. 2. Since 1987 marked the anniversaries of several significant events in the history of the Palestinian people, non-governmental organizations had decided that the first panel should deal with the need for convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The need for regional input was recognized, and the proposed speakers would be from North America as well as from the occupied territories and Israel. The North American Co-ordinating Committee had renewed its
commitment to making the Symposium the occasion for mobilizing broader support for the achievement of a just solution to the question of Palestine. The Co-ordinating Committee had requested that the Committee should sponsor an exhibit on Palestinian culture and heritage to be prepared by the non-governmental organizations for display at United Nations Headquarters during the Symposium, and the Working Group recommended that the Committee should accede to that request.

24. The North American Regional Seminar should concentrate on two main topics, namely, the International Peace Conference and public opinion in North America. The Committee should select some of the experts from the list of names contained in Working Paper No. 3 or propose others, for participation in the Seminar.

25. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) asked whether non-governmental organizations from other regions could be invited to participate in the Symposium, or if they could attend the Symposium at their own cost. A number of non-governmental organizations from his country had expressed their desire to participate in the Symposium.

26. Ms. REANDA (Secretary of the Committee) said that the Committee's practice was to restrict the participants in such regional symposia to non-governmental organizations from the particular region concerned. Other non-governmental organizations would have the opportunity to participate in the International NGO Meeting which would be held at Geneva later in the year.

27. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the report of the Working Group as introduced by the Vice-Chairman.

28. It was so decided.

29. The CHAIRMAN said that he would take it that the Committee agreed to the
request of the North American Co-ordinating Committee that a cultural exhibit on Palestinian culture and heritage should be organized at United Nations
Headquarters, under the auspices of the Committee, from 24 to 28 June 1987.

30. It was so decided.

31. The CHAIRMAN said that he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the Working Group's proposal regarding the topics of the Seminar. He would also take it that the Committee approved the names of the experts to be invited to the Seminar.

32. It was so decided.

OTHER MATTERS

33. THE CHAIRMAN announced that the next NGO meeting organized under the auspices of the Committee, namely, the Preparatory Planning Meeting for the International NGO Meeting, would be held at Geneva on 16 to 17 March. The delegation of the Committee would consist of Mr. Alberto Velazco-San José (Cuba) and Mr. Mehmet Ali Irtemçelik (Turkey).

34. He also announced that information had been received from the Permanent
Missions of the German Democratic Republic, Romania and the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics concerning the observance of the International Day of
Solidarity with the Palestinian People in their countries in 1986.

35. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) said that, in commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United Nations Information Centres had prepared and distributed press releases, circular letters or note verbales to government officials, the news media, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions, and had held lectures and organized film screenings. In addition to the commemorative meetings organized by the Centres, parliamentary groups and in some countries, national parliaments held special sessions. Representatives of the diplomatic corps, the League of Arab States and the Palestine Liberation Organization had participated in those meetings and ceremonies.

36. THE CHAIRMAN stated that the information assembled by the Department of Public Information would be placed in the files of the Division for Palestinian Rights for perusal by interested delegations.

37. Mr. AL-KIDWA (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) drew attention to the continuing deterioration of Palestinian camps in Lebanon, in particular the Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh camps in Beirut and the Rashidieh camp in southern Lebanon. The blockade of those camps had prevented deliveries of food and medical supplies to the camps as well as the transfer of the wounded from the camps. On 6 March 1987 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees had stated that it had been advised not to deliver food to the camps. The widespread starvation and the deterioration of the health situation in the camps seemed to presage a new disaster for the Palestinian people. That disaster could be averted only if the international community, in particular the United Nations, exercised pressure on the parties directly or indirectly involved. On 11 March 1987, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had sent a letter to the Secretary-General (A/42/177-S/18752) and to the President of the Security Council in which it had called upon them to take the necessary steps to end that appalling situation in the Palestinian camps. The Committee should also undertake all necessary measures to achieve that objective.

38. The CHAIRMAN said that he had requested the Secretary-General to take measures to alleviate the misery and suffering in the Palestinian camps and that the Committee intended to renew its appeal to the Secretary-General and to the President of the Security Council.

The meeting rose at 12.15 p.m.


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