Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

26 May 1997

The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories will carry out a field mission to Egypt, Jordan and Syria from 30 May to 9 June.

Since its establishment in 1968, the Special Committee has repeatedly tried to obtain the cooperation of the Government of Israel but has consistently been denied such cooperation and access to the occupied territories. None the less, the Committee has been able to benefit from the cooperation of the Governments of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Without direct access to the occupied territories, the members of the Special Committee base their reports on relevant articles appearing in the Israeli press as well as articles appearing in the Arab press published in the occupied territories. In addition, the Special Committee includes in its reports excerpts of testimony gathered during visits to the neighbouring States from persons having first-hand and recent experience of the human rights situation in the occupied territories. The Committee formulates conclusions containing its evaluation of the situation as well as recommendations.

The Special Committee plans to hold hearings in Cairo on 31 May and 1 June and in Amman from 3 to 6 June; hearings in Syria have been scheduled on 7 and 8 June. During its stay in Jordan, the Committee plans to interview persons from the West Bank at the King Hussein Bridge.

The Special Committee holds three series of annual meetings, the second of which is combined with a mission to the area. The Special Committee will adopt its second periodic report during this field mission, while the annual report will be adopted during the third series of meetings scheduled for August 1997.

The Special Committee was established in December 1968 by General Assembly resolution 2443 (XXIII). It is composed of three Member States: Sri Lanka (Chairman), Senegal and Malaysia. Sri Lanka is currently represented by Herman Leonard de Silva, the Permanent Representative of that country to the United Nations in New York. Senegal is represented by Absa Claude Diallo, the Permanent Representative of that country to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Malaysia is represented on the Committee by Abdul Majid Mohamed.

The occupied territories monitored by the Special Committee currently are: the occupied Syrian Arab Golan, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

The Special Committee's mandate was renewed again for an additional year on 13 December 1996 by General Assembly resolution 51/131. The 1996 findings of the Special Committee are contained in its twenty-eighth report to the General Assembly (document A/51/99/Add.2).

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