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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
A/AC.183/SR.170
3 May 1990

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 170th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 1 May 1990, at 10 a.m.


Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)

CONTENTS


Adoption of the agenda

Report by the Chairman on the African Regional Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine held at Freetown, Sierra Leone, from 2 to 6 April 1990

Report on the Preparatory Meeting for the European Regional NGO Symposium and
International NGO Meeting, held at Geneva on 26 and 27 March 1990

European Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine, Stockholm, 7-11 May 1990

North American Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine, New York,
25 and 26 June 1990




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 DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

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

North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, New York,
27-29 June 1990 Submission of applications by NGOs for accreditation with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People United Nations-sponsored Asian regional and national journalists encounters on the question of Palestine for 1990

Other matters

The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.

REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN ON THE AFRICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR AND NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE HELD AT FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, FROM 2 TO 6 APRIL 1990

2. The CHAIRMAN said that the United Nations African Regional Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine had been a great success. At the opening session, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone had made a statement, and messages from the Secretary-General and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization had been read out.

3. The participants had deplored the fact that the Israeli authorities had denied a travel permit to Mr. Abu-Alnassir, who had been invited to serve as a panelist; they had subsequently decided to send a message conveying their regret to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel. The meeting had revealed that much could be done to mobilize non-governmental organizations in Africa and had proved that action by Governments and grass-roots organizations could be harmonized in pursuit of a common objective. Sixteen eminent panelists from Africa, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory, Ireland and NGO co-ordinating committees had discussed the following topics: "The urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East"; "The intifadah in the occupied Palestinian territory and its impact on the achievement of a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict"; "The role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the social, cultural, economic and political development of the Palestinian people"; and "The
mobilization of public opinion in the African region for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people". Time had also been set aside for several meetings of non-governmental organizations, including two workshops on the topics "mobilization and networking by NGOs to ensure the protection of, and to promote assistance to, the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation" and "NGO activities to further mobilize public opinion for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people". Seven resource persons had also shared their expertise regarding the needs of the Palestinian people and opportunities for NGO action.

4. Both the Seminar and the Symposium had aroused a great deal of interest and had received press coverage. The conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar and the Symposium Declaration were balanced and constructive documents which nevertheless reflected a high level of concern at the continued stalemate in the peace process. The documents also reflected the current crucial stage of the Palestinian people's struggle to attain its inalienable rights and afforded a sound basis for action at all levels.

5. The participants had expressed support for the proclamation of the State of Palestine, the Palestinian peace initiative and the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session. They had taken the view that, as a result of those and subsequent developments, conditions at present were more favourable to a political solution, and that the opportunity should not be allowed to slip by. They had voiced great concern at the accelerating deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and had expressed their determination to work together for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East on the basis of General Assembly resolution 44/42. They had also expressed support for proposals aimed at protecting Palestinians in the occupied territory and providing them with assistance as well as for other measures intended to secure Israel's compliance with the fourth Geneva Convention and United Nations resolutions.

6. Representatives of the Committee attending the Symposium had been greatly
encouraged by the participants' readiness to contribute to efforts to promote the process of reconciliation and to enhance the negotiating climate. Workshop participants had considered modalities for joint action by African non-governmental organizations and had pledged to undertake various projects in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The term of office of the current members of the Co-ordinating Committee for the African region had been extended for two years and a new member, from Sierra Leone, had been appointed.

7. The conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar and the Symposium Declaration would be annexed to the Committee's annual report to the General Assembly. The report of the two meetings would eventually be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.

8. If she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to take note of the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar and of the Symposium Declaration.

9. It was so decided.

REPORT ON THE PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM AND
INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING, HELD AT GENEVA ON 26 AND 27 MARCH 1990

10. Mr. JAIN (India) said that the Preparatory Meeting had been attended by all the members of the International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP), four representatives of non-governmental organizations from the occupied Palestinian territory and two special representatives of the European Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine.

11. At the Meeting, non-governmental organizations had presented a detailed report outlining the situation obtaining in the occupied Palestinian territory and analysing the Palestinian response to the ongoing crisis there. At the request of ICCP, invitations had been extended to representatives of a number of specialized agencies; ILO, UNCHS, UNCTAD, UNESCO and WHO had sent representatives to the Meeting. UNDP and UNRWA had been unable to attend owing to financial constraints, but had made available copies of their latest reports on assistance to the Palestinian people. The information provided by those bodies had been very useful indeed.

12. The members of ICCP and the European Co-ordinating Committee had met both together and separately to elaborate draft programmes for the European NGO Symposium and the International NGO Meeting to be held from 27 to 28 August and 29 to 31 August 1990 respectively. The drafts had also been the subject of consultations with, and had been revised in the light of comments by, representatives of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Working papers Nos. 4 and 5, which were before the Committee, represented the outcome of those deliberations, and he recommended them for approval. Drawing attention to the list of panels and panelists included in working paper No. 4, he said it had been necessary to recommend a rather large group of panelists for the second panel, entitled "Two peoples, two States:

Europe's contribution to achieving peace", in order to reflect the Israeli point of view, the Palestinian position and the perceived role and contribution of Europe in the implementation of United Nations resolutions calling for the establishment of a Palestinian State. The working paper also listed the four workshops that would be held concurrently during the Symposium.

13. Working paper No. 5, which contained the draft programme of the Seventh
International NGO Meeting, listed the topics of the four panel discussions to be held and the panelists who would participate in them as well as the nine workshops which would be held during the meeting. ICCP attached special significance to the workshop on the role of United Nations agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory, which would also address ways in which co-operation with non-governmental organizations involved in programmes of assistance to the Palestinian people could be established or improved. In that connection, a request had been made to have a larger number of representatives of Palestinian non-governmental organizations participate so that avenues of communication between those NGOs, United Nations bodies having assistance programmes for the Palestinian people and other NGOs with similar support programmes could be established and strengthened. Provision had also been made for regional caucuses on selected topics.

14. Once again the Committee was being asked to approve the names of panelists and resource persons listed in the working paper, on the understanding that additional names would be proposed at a later stage. The Division for Palestinian Rights would ascertain the availability of the individuals suggested, and the officers of the Committee would bear in mind that the United Nations had been authorized to fund six invitations to the European Symposium and 15 to the International Meeting. Since the workshops provided opportunities for non-governmental organizations to interact, those organizations wanted the Committee to invite more panelists and resource persons from both the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. During the Preparatory Meeting, representatives of the Committee and the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights had held useful consultations with the chairmen of the African, Asian, American and Caribbean regional Co-ordinating Committees regarding their respective programmes of work.

15. The Committee should consider taking steps to ensure that the views of all parties, including Israel, were represented at the various meetings it held throughout the world, particularly as the official views of Israel were often not represented at such forums. In doing so, the Committee would provide an additional opportunity for exchanges of views and increase the chances of reaching a peaceful, comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine.

16. The non-governmental organizations would like the Committee to invite Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and either Mr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia, or Mr. Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, or both, to attend the International Meeting.

17. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee agreed to adopt the programmes for the European Regional NGO Symposium and the International NGO Meeting as formulated at the Geneva Preparatory Meeting and set out in working papers No. 4 and No. 5. She would also take it that the Committee would take into consideration the request that invitations should be extended to Mr. Arafat, Mr. Nujoma and Mr. Mandela and the suggestion that all points of view, including the official Israeli Government position, should be represented at meetings of the Special Committee.

18. It was so decided.

EUROPEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, STOCKHOLM, 7-11 MAY 1990

19. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to the final programme for the seminar, which was contained in working paper No. 6, and announced that the Committee's delegation to the Seminar would be composed of Mr. Borg Olivier (Rapporteur), Mr. Pejic (Yugoslavia), Mr. Terzi (Observer for Palestine), and the Chairman.

20. If she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to
approve the contents of working paper No. 6.

21. It was so decided.

NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, NEW YORK,
25 AND 26 JUNE 1990

22. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to the provisional programme of the Seminar,
contained in working paper No. 7, and said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to approve the provisional programme.

23. It was so decided.

NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, NEW YORK,
27-29 JUNE 1990

24. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to the status report on preparations for the Symposium, recalling that the Committee had approved the programme contained therein at its 169th meeting.

SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS BY NGOS FOR ACCREDITATION WITH THE COMMITTEE ON THE
EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

25. The CHAIRMAN said that, in the past few months, the Committee had received applications for accreditation from over 100 NGOs, a list of which could be found in working paper No. 8. The applications had all been endorsed by either ICCP or by the relevant regional Co-ordinating Committee and had also been examined by the Secretariat.

26. If she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to
approve the applications of the NGOs listed in working paper No. 8.

27. It was so decided.

UNITED NATIONS-SPONSORED ASIAN REGIONAL AND NATIONAL JOURNALISTS ENCOUNTERS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE FOR 1990

28. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) said that, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 44/41 C of 6 December 1989, the Asian and Pacific Regional Journalists Encounter on the Question of Palestine had been held in Singapore from 26 to 28 March 1990. The objective of the encounter had been to promote better understanding of the Palestinian question on the part of leaders of the regional media by enabling them to hear the views of and engage in candid discussion with experts on the subject. A panel of experts had been invited to address the journalists with a view to providing them with objective and balanced perspectives on the topic. The Israeli Government had been invited to appoint a panelist but had declined to do so. Twenty-three high-level journalists, selected to represent the Asian and Pacific regions and to achieve a balance between representatives of press, radio and television, had participated in the encounter and several local journalists and foreign diplomats based in Singapore had also attended.

29. National journalists encounters on the question of Palestine had been held in Oslo, on 9 March; London, on 13 March; Belgrade, on 16 March; Tokyo, on 19 March; Manila, on 21 March; Bangkok, on 23 March and New Delhi, on 30 March 1990. The purpose of those encounters had been to enable the largest possible number of foreign correspondents and local journalists to meet with small, balanced panels of experts, in a press-conference format. An average of 40 to 60 journalists, NGO representatives, senior officials and foreign diplomats had attended each of the national encounters. Local television and radio stations had covered the encounters and interviewed the panelists.

30. The regional and national encounters had been quite successful, and he
expressed his deep appreciation to the Governments of the countries that had hosted the encounters and to the panelists.

31. During 1990, the Department of Public Information planned to continue its
publications programme by bringing out two booklets. The first, The UN and the Question of Palestine, was an updated version of an earlier edition dealing with the history and various aspects of the Palestinian question. The second dealt with United Nations efforts to convene an international peace conference on the Middle East and set out the positions of the parties involved. Both booklets would be printed in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.

32. Preparations for the annual news mission to the Middle East, which would take place from 14 May to 1 June 1990, were virtually complete. An official request to visit Israel and the West Bank had been sent to the Mission of Israel to the United Nations, but no response had been received as yet.

OTHER MATTERS

33. The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that, during its visit to the United
Nations on 30 April 1990, a delegation of European parliamentarians had met with the Bureau of the Committee, resulting in a fruitful exchange of views.

34. Mr. TERZI (Observer for Palestine) said that, in deciding to circulate the United States report on violations of human rights in the occupied territories, the Committee had not intended to draw attention to human rights violations in general but rather to address the issue of violations by an occupying Power. Israel was the only Member of the United Nations which had been branded as an occupying Power within the context of the fourth Geneva Convention and crimes perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people were therefore much more serious than alleged violations of human rights in other countries. Consequently, the occupying Power, in requesting publication of violations of human rights in general, was conducting a campaign of slander against the members of the Committee.

35. The practices and policies of the occupying Power vis-à-vis the Palestinian people constituted violations of human rights and required the immediate attention of the Security Council. It was high time the Council addressed the issue with sincerity and determination. The Committee should become more active in that area. Committee members who were also members of the Security Council should put pressure on that body to take appropriate action.

36. The CHAIRMAN said that, on behalf of the Committee, she had always informed both the Secretary-General and the Security Council of any escalation in the repression and violence perpetrated by the occupying Power on the peoples in the occupied territories and had done so again that very day. Committee members who were also members of the Security Council would, as in the past, continue to accord the highest priority to that matter.

The meeting rose at 11.25 a.m.



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