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        General Assembly
4 December 2008

Original: English

General Assembly
Sixty-third session
Official Records

Special Political and Decolonization Committee
(Fourth Committee)

Summary record of the 13th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 21 October 2008, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mr. Argüello ............................................................................ (Argentina)
later: Mr. Cujba (Vice-Chairman) ............................................................. (Republic of Moldova)


Agenda item 32: Questions relating to information (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.


Agenda item 32: Questions relating to information (continued ) (A/63/21 and A/63/258)

8. Mr. Taleb (Syrian Arab Republic) said that his delegation attached importance to the development of a new worldwide information system which was equitable and reflected the principles of the United Nations and international law. In a world beset by conflict, the Department of Public Information played an important role in spreading the Organization’s message of peace and it was also instrumental in focusing attention on such issues as terrorism, climate change and food security. The Department should be commended, in particular, for its work on the question of Palestine and it should continue to make every effort to raise international awareness of that question.


13. Mr. Ali (Sudan) ...


16. The report of the Secretary-General had always included a section on the Department’s activities in relation to the question of Palestine, an issue of great importance to the United Nations. Noting that the current report lacked any information in that regard, he called on the Department to ensure that such information was included in future reports.

17. Mr. Al Hadhrami (Yemen) said that his delegation attached great importance to the Department’s special information programme on the question of Palestine and was disappointed that there had been no mention of that programme in the report of the Secretary-General. ...


33. Mr. Habib (Lebanon) ...


35. Welcoming the annual training given by the special information programme on Palestine to journalists from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he called on the Department to redouble its efforts in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination and to establish an independent State. It was also incumbent on the Department to support States in their rightful efforts to recover occupied territories.


45. Mr. Al-Shatti (Kuwait) ...

46. ... The Department should also continue its efforts aimed at focusing attention on and raising international awareness of the question of Palestine.


65. Mr. Kanaan (Observer for Palestine) said that the failure to include, in the report of the Secretary-General, any details of the Department’s activities relating to the question of Palestine was a deeply disturbing and highly regrettable omission. The special information programme on the subject, for instance, was very useful in raising awareness of the international community concerning the question of Palestine, as stated in General Assembly resolution 62/82, which had been adopted by an overwhelming majority. He profoundly appreciated the support demonstrated for that programme, which also effectively contributed to an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process. The Palestine and Decolonization Section of the Department additionally played a vital role through its organization of seminars on the search for Israeli-Palestinian peace and its development of digital film archives documenting the history of the Palestinian question for the benefit of researchers and educational institutions, an activity to which he hoped special attention would be devoted. He commended the Department’s efforts for inclusion of the permanent exhibition on Palestine in the guided tours for visitors to the United Nations and hoped that the revised edition of the booklet entitled The Question of Palestine and the United Nations would soon be available in all six official languages.

66. He attached great importance to the Department’s continuing assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, in particular its training programmes for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists; their participation in such programmes was crucial, notwithstanding the obstacles placed in their way by the occupying Power. In addition to such illegal and inhumane practices as the ongoing construction of the separation wall and the imposition of collective punishment on the Palestinian people, Israeli occupying forces constantly targeted journalists who attempted to portray the truth and some had been killed in the process. The perpetrators had, moreover, been cleared of any wrongdoing, which served as testimony to Israel’s persistence in covering up its war crimes against Palestinian civilians, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In that same context, he cited details of the brutal harassment of prize-winning Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, whose case was fully documented in section III A of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (A/63/326).

67. Such grave violations of human rights were further compounded by the acts of violence and intimidation perpetrated against Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Indeed, in the latest incident only two days earlier, settlers had attacked and injured not only Palestinian farmers and journalists, but also foreign peace activists. He consequently emphasized the need for Israel to comply with General Assembly resolution 62/82, in particular paragraph 3 (d) concerning the organization and promotion of fact-finding news missions for journalists to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, in the interests of factual reporting on the ground.

68. Given the Israeli control of Palestine’s frequency spectrum and the denial of direct access to communication and information services, the Palestinian people were also perpetually impeded in their ability to keep pace with technological advances. Progress along the road to knowledge and development could not be achieved without an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Syrian Golan and the Shab`a farmlands in Lebanon. Only with the resulting establishment of a lasting, just and comprehensive peace would the peoples of the region be able to exercise their legitimate rights, including the right to harness information and technology with a view to, inter alia, sustainable development, job creation and poverty eradication.


The meeting rose at 6 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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