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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 April 1985



THE UNITED NATIONS AND

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION ACTIVITIES

ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE



CONTENTS
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People decided that a study on "The United Nations and Non- Governmental Organization Activities on the Question of Palestine" should be prepared by the Division-for Palestinian Rights in accordance with the need recognized by the General Assembly for the greatest dissemination of information on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and on the efforts of the United Nations to promote the attainment of those rights.

In 1977, the General Assembly, in its resolution 32/40 B, invited inter alia all organizations to lend their co-operation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and to the Special Unit for Palestinian Rights in the implementation of the programme of work in accordance with that resolution. By its resolution 34/65 D of 29 November 1979, the General Assembly requested the Division for Palestinian Rights, in consultation with the Committee, to establish a closer co-operation within the United Nations framework with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to undertake an expanded programme of work.

1. Participation of NGOs in the preparatory work of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine (ICQP)

At its thirty-sixth session, the General Assembly, in deciding to convene an International Conference on the Question of Palestine (resolution 36/120 C of 10 December 1981), invited inter alia all appropriate NGOs to co-operate with the Committee in the implementation of that resolution. In accordance with the provisions of the above resolution, at its fourth meeting, the Committee, acting as the Preparatory Committee for the Conference, recommended the adoption of a comprehensive programme of preliminary activities to ensure the successful preparations for the Conference. With the purpose of having organizations of the United Nations system actively involved in the preparatory regional meetings and in the Conference itself, the Committee agreed:

(a) To invite a varied network of NGOs responsive to the Palestinian/Israeli issue to make an active and broad contribution to the work of the Conference. Activities of NGOs would be well spaced so that there would be a continuous flow of activities throughout the months preceding and subsequent to the Conference.

(b) That the programmes proposed for NGOs would encompass organizational and educational activities, such as dissemination of newsletters, booklets and brochures, screening of films and videotapes, and mounting of photographic exhibits, posters, in addition to television and radio programmes. A series of regional meetings of NGOs throughout the world, held in conjunction with the intergovernmental meetings, would be designed to create a ground swell of activities and interest.

During the preparatory process for the convening of the ICQP, the role of NGOs became increasingly important. Contacts were made between the Secretariat and representatives of the whole spectrum of NGOs to assure the participation of the organizations in the regional preparatory meetings. At the African Regional Preparatory Meeting that was held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, between 29 March and 1 April 1983, two African NGOs participated: the Palestine Solidarity Committee and the African Bar Association.

The following NGOs took part in the Latin American Regional Preparatory Meeting in Managua, Nicaragua, from 12 to 15 April 1983:

Asociaciein Nacional de Educadores de Nicaragua, Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, Comite Nicaragua de Solidaridad con los Pueblos, Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas, Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos,

International Oil Working Group, Juventud Sandinista de 19 de Julio, Movimiento Cubano por la Paz, Organizaciein Continental Latino-Americana de Estudiantes (OCLAE), Organizaciein de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Africa, Asia y America Latina (OSPAAAL), Tribunal Anti-imperialista de Nuestra America (TANA).

The Latin American Regional Preparatory Meeting, in its recommendations, encouraged the States of the region to urge jurist associations to establish special investigation commissions to determine the violations of Palestinians' legal rights and to disseminate their findings accordingly.

In the same line, organizations of women, teachers, workers, youths and students were encouraged to undertake exchanges and other programmes of joint action with their Palestinian counterparts.

Women's associations, in particular, were requested to investigate the condition of Palestinian women and children in all occupied territories.

At the West Asian Regional Preparatory Meeting that took place in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from 25 to 29 April, the following NGOs participated:

Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization,. Arab Town Organization, Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce and Union of Arab Jurists.

The Asian Regional Preparatory Meeting had a participation of the following 18 NGOs at the melting that was held from 3 to 7 May 1983 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization (AAPSO), Association of Andhra (Malaysia), Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (India), Indian Muslim Association, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Islamic Association (Jahore), Law Association for Asia and Western Pacific (Australia), Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (ABIM), MTVC, National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), National Union of Malaysia Muslim Students, Regional Islamic Da'Wah Council (RISEA), Soviet Committee of Solidarity with the Countries of Asia and Africa, U.M.N.O. Club (United Kingdom), UNESCO Association of Malaysia (UNAM), World Alliance of YMCA, World YMCA (Geneva), World Muslim Congress.

In its report, the Preparatory Committee recommended that the Asian and Pacific States encourage organizations such as those of women, teachers, workers, youth and students to undertake exchanges and other programmes of joint action with their Palestinian counterparts. It also encouraged the formation of national committees in support of the Palestinian people.

At the Fifth Regional Preparatory Meeting that was held in Geneva from 4 to 8 July 1983, the following 37 NGOs participated:

America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Association belga­palestinienne, Association des amis de l'Universite de Bir-Zeit, Association medicale franco-palestinienne, Association parlementaire pour la cooperation euro-arabe, Association internationale des juristes democrates, Association de solidarite franco-arabe, Association suisse-arabe, Canadian Arab Federation, Catholic Relief Services, Commission of Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA), Centre international d'information sur les prisonniers, deportes et disparus palestiniens et libanais, Christian Peace Conference, CIMADE - Service oecumenique d'entr'aide, Comite "Palestine Israel Vivront" (France), Comite pour la paix au Proche-Orient (France), Comite France Jerusalem-Al-Quds, Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, European Co-ordinating Committee of Friendship with the Arab World (EURASIA), Exeter University/Palestine Studies, Fraction of the Alternative List Party/West Berlin, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Progress Organization, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN), League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,

La Ligue roumaine d'amitie avec les peuples d'Asie et d'Afrique, Les amities arabes (Belgique), Mouvement international pour l'union fraternelle entre les races et les peuples, Palestine Committee (Norway), Projekt zur Unterstotzung Palestinensischer and Libanesischer Fiochtlinge in West Berlin, Solidarity Committee of the German Democratic Republic,

United Towns Organization, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession, World Federation of Democratic Youth, World Muslim Congress, World Peace Council.

At the European Regional Preparatory Meeting, the Committee appeared to NGOs and professional and popular associations to intensify their efforts to support the rights of the Palestinian people in every possible way.

The NGOs participating in the meeting adopted an appeal (see annex I) in which they urgently requested the Governments of Europe to join the other Governments of the world so that real content can be given to the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, including the right to have their own sovereign State in conformity with United Nations resolutions.

2. International Conference on the Question of Palestine

At its sixty and seventh meetings on 19 and 22 October 1982, the Preparatory Committee recommended that the Secretary-General invite interested NGOs to participate in the Conference. The Committee decided that those NGOs invited to be represented by observers at the Conference should subscribe to the objectives of the Conference and have a specific contribution to make to its work. With respect to those NGOs not in consultative status with the ECOSOC, the Preparatory Committee agreed that the following additional criteria should be required:

(a) The organization must be a recognized international or national organization duly established or incorporated as a non-profit organization.

(b) The organization must demonstrate that it has a positive programme in the field for which the Conference has been convened.

In the letter of invitation the objective of the Conference was spelled out: the attainment of NGO support for effective ways and means to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights in Palestine on the basis of United Nations resolutions.

Rule 59 of the rules of procedure for the ICQP stated that NGOs invited to the Conference could designate representatives to sit as observers at public meetings of the Conference and its Main Committees. Upon the invitation of the presiding officer of the Conference body concerned and subject to the approval of that body, such observers may make statements on questions in which they have special competence.

The following 104 NGOs were represented as observers at the International Conference in Geneva from 29 August to 7 September 1983:*/

Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization (Egypt), All India Women's Conference (India), American Educational Trust (USA), Arab Interparliamentary Union (Syria), Association Belgo-Palestinienne (Belgium), Association des antis de l'universite de Bir-Zeit (Switzerland), Association des jeunes avocets (Tunisia), Association de solidarity Franco-Arabe (France), Association France-Palestine (France), Association medicale Franco-Palestinienne (France), Association Suisse-Arabe (Switzerland), Association Suisse-Palestine (Switzerland), Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (United Kingdom), Canada-Arab World Parliamentary Group (Canada), Centre Europe Tiers Monde (Switzerland), Centre international d'information sur les prisonniers disparus et deportes palestiniens libanais (France), Christian Peace Conference (Czechoslovakia), Comite Catholique contre la faim et pour le developpement (France), comite de l'appel des Juifs contre la guerre au Liban (France), Commission of the Churches (France), Comite pour la paix au Proche-Orient (France), Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (Switzerland), Committee for Defense of Arab Land (Israel), Confederation mondiale du travail (Belgium), Conference of European Churches (Switzerland), Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (United Kingdom), Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel), Emergency Committee Against the Invasion of Lebanon (United Kingdom), EURAPIA - European Co-ordinating.

* In the case of international organizations, the location only indicates the country where the NGO has its headquarters.

Committee of Friendship Societies with the Arab World (France), Federation of Arab-American Organizations (USA), Federation of Arab Scientific Research Councils (Iraq), Federation of Islamic Associations in the United States and Canada (USA), Finnish-Arab Friendship Society (Finland), Friends of the Prisoners in Israel (Israel), Friends World Committee for Consultation (United Kingdom), Institute of Development Studies (United Kingdom), University of Sussex (United Kingdom), International Association of Democratic Lawyers (Belgium), International Catholic Migration Commission (Switzerland), International Commission of Jurists (Switzerland), International Federation of Human Rights (France), International Jewish Peace Union (France), International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (Italy), International Movement for Fraternal Union Among Races and Peoples (Belgium), International Movement of Conscientious War Resisters (Israel), International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination - EAFORD (United Kingdom), International Organization of Journalists (Czechoslovakia), International Progress Organization (Austria), International Union of Students (Czechoslovakia), ISMUN - International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (Switzerland), Interparliamentary Union (Switzerland), Islamic Council of Europe (United Kingdom), Israel Council for Israeli Palestinian Peace (Israel), Israeli Committee for Solidarity with Bir-Zeit University/Committee Against the War in Lebanon (Israel), Labour Middle East Council (United Kingdom), League of Red Cross Societies (Switzerland), London Friends of Palestine (United Kingdom), Lutheran World Federation (Switzerland), Middle East Council of Churches (Switzerland), Minority Rights Group (United Kingdom), Movement of Democratic Women (Israel), Muslim World League (Saudi Arabia), NAJDA: Women Concerned About the Middle East (USA), National Association of Arab Americans (USA), National Council of Churches of Christ (USA), National Lawyers Guild (USA), November 29th Coalition (USA), OXFAM (United Kingdom), The Palestine Front of Norway (Norway), Palestinakomiteen. (Norway), Palestine Human Rights Campaign (USA), Palestine Studies Programme, Exeter University (United Kingdom), Parliamentary Association for Euro•Arab Co-operation (Belgium), Pax Romana (Switzerland), Presbyterian Church (USA), Project for Aiding Palestinian Prisoners and Refugees (West Berlin), Rgdda Barnen's Riksforbund (Sweden), Rights and Education for all Palestinians (United Kingdom), Serves International (United Kingdom), Service Occumenique d'entraide CIMADE (France), Solidarity Committee of the German Democratic Republic (German Democratic Republic), Soviet Committee of Solidarity with the Countries of Asia/Africa (USSR), Trade Union Friends of Palestine (United Kingdom), Um El-Fahem Cultural Center (Israel), Union des avocets arabes (France) Union of Arab Jurists (Iraq), United Methodist Church (USA), General Board of Global Ministries (USA), United Nations Assocation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (United Kingdom), United Schools International (Bahrain), United Towns Organization (France/USA), War Resisters International, Women Against the Invasion of Lebanon (Israel), Women's International. Democratic Federation (German Democratic Republic), Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Switzerland), World Alliance of YMCAs (Switzerland), World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession (Switzerland), World Federation of Democratic Youth (Hungary), World Federation of Teacher's Unions (German Democratic Republic), World Federation of Trade Unions (Czechoslovakia), World Federation of United Nations Associations (Switzerland), World Muslim Congress (Pakistan), World Peace Council (Finland), World Student Christian Federation (Switzerland), World University Service (Switzerland) and World Young Women's Christian Association (Switzerland).

During the ICQP over 240 persons representing 104 NGOs attended the Conference. They stood for a broad spectrum of interests including parliamentarians, jurists, lawyers, educators, church groups, women's organizations, youth groups and solidarity groups among others. Nine NGO organizations from Israel representing Jewish and Palestinian communities participated. Separate activities were held by the NGOs at the Conference, among others: panel discussions, dialogues with eminent persons and consultants and the screening of films relevant to the question of Palestine. Varied. NGO literature relevant to the question of Palestine was distributed by individuals or groups of NGOs. Twenty-two NGOs addressed the plenary and 10, the Main Committee. The Conference set up an impact process for exchange of information on the question of Palestine.

The Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights adopted by acclamation at the ICQP declared that the role of NGOs remains of vital importance in hightening awareness of and support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian State. Furthermore, the ICQP urged and encouraged NGOs to increase awareness by the international community of the economic and social burdens borne by the Palestinian people as a result of the continued Israeli occupation and its negative effects on the economic development of the West Asian region as a whole; NGOs and professional and popular associations to intensify their efforts to support the rights of the Palestinian people in every possible way; organizations such as those of women, teachers, workers, youths and students, to undertake exchanges and other programmes of joint action with their Palestinian counterparts; women's associations, in particular, to investigate the condition of Palestinian women and children in all occupied territories; various jurists' associations to establish special investigative commissions to determine the violations by Israel of the Palestinians' legal rights and to disseminate their findings accordingly, and organizations for solidarity, particularly in Western Europe and North America, to join; their counterparts in other parts of the world in giving their support, where it has not been done, to an initiative which would express the desire of the international community to see the Palestinian people at last living in their own independent homeland in peace, freedom and dignity.

The 104 NGOs present at the ICQP adopted a declaration (see annex II) whereby they called upon the Committee to establish close links with all the interested NGOs to facilitate co-operation among NGOs and between NGOs and the United Nations and urged the Committee to call consultative meetings with NGOs in New York and in Geneva to examine possibilities of co-operating in implementing the programme of action adopted by the ICQP.

The NGOs attending the Conference also adopted a recommendation for action (see annex III) that inter alia emphasized the dissemination of the results of the Conference.

3. Post-ICQP activities

The General Assembly, in resolution 38/58 B of 13 December 1983, requested the Division for Palestinian Rights to expand its programme of work and inter alia increase contacts with NGOs and to convene NGO symposia and meetings in different regions in order to heighten awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine.

It also invited inter alia all organizations to lend their co-operation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights in the performance of their tasks. At the same session, the General Assembly approved the establishment of two posts of liaison officers in the Secretariat to carry out the implementation of the work in connection with NGO activities.

First North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine

Pursuant to resolution 38/58 B, the first North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 25 to 27 June 1984. The following 57 NGOs from the North American region participated in the meeting:

America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American-Arab Community Center, American-Arab Relations Committee, Americans for Middle East Understanding, Arab Women's Council, Association of Arab-American University Graduates (New York City), Association of Arab-American University Graduates (Massachusetts), Association Qubec-Palestine, Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Arab Society (London), Canadian Council of Churches, Canadians for Peace Now, Capital District Committee for Palestinian Rights, Christian Coalition and Defenders Publication, Church of Humanism, Church Women United, Clergy and Laity Concerned, Dialogue for Peace, Federation of American- Arab Organizations, Friends Committee on National Legislation, General Board of Global Ministries/United Methodist Church, Grassroots International, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, International Movement for Unity Among Races and Peoples, International Oil Working Group, Jewish Women for a Secular Middle East/Tadamun, Le Regroupement Pour Un Dialogue Israel-Palestine, Middle East Fellowship of the Presbytery of Southern California, Middle East Research and Information Project, Muslim World League, NADJA: Women Concerned About the Middle East, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, National Lawyers' Guild, November 29 Coalition, Palestine Arab Association of Hamilton, Canada, Palestine Human Rights Campaign (Washington, D.C.), Palestine Human Rights Campaign (Chicago), People's Anti-War Mobilization, Presbyterian Church (USA), Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine, Support Israeli Peace Groups, Taxpayers for Peace in the Middle East (TAPME), Toronto University Middle East Group (TUMEG), United Church Board for World Ministries, United Holy Land Fund, US Peace Council, USOMEN, Washington Area Jews for an Israel Palestinian Peace, Women's Collective on the Middle East, Women for Women in Lebanon, Women's International Democratic Federation, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Muslim Congress.

In addition, 2 NGO observers, 26 experts, as well as members and observers of the Committee and other member States, attended the meeting.

In his introductory statement, Ambassador Massamba Sarre, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, stressed the importance of the role of the NGOs in the search for a solution on the question of Palestine.

Mr. Zehdi Labib Terzi, Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations, appealed to the NGOs to increase the awareness of the United States and Canadian communities of the social and economic burdens of the Palestinian people as a result of the continued Israeli occupation and its persistent policy denying the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to return to their home. He proposed that the NGO community participate in finding ways and means to make the exercise of the right to self-determination one of the aims of the Administration in Washington.

The following experts, members of the academic community, politicians and representatives of NGOs addressed the meeting and took part in the discussion:

Moderators were chosen among the experts to chair the debates.

Representatives of the NGOs and experts took part in the productive debates and adopted, by acclamation, a declaration whereby the NGOs urged the Governments of Canada and the United States to promote the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and the convening of an international peace conference under the auspices of the United Nations (see annex IV).

First International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine

In compliance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 B, the first International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 20 to 22 August 1984. The following NGOs attended the meeting: */

Afro-ASian People's Solidarity Organization (AAPSO) (Egypt), American Arab Community Center (USA), American Baptist Convention, International Ministries (USA), American Friends Service Committee (Switzerland), America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (USA), American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism (USA), Arab Lawyers Union (Egypt), Arab Palestine Association of Canada (Canada), Arab Women's Council (USA), Association Belgo-Palestinienne (Belgium), Association des Etudes Internationales (Tunisia), Association des Juristes Democrates (Belgium), Association de Solidarity Franco-Arabe (France), Association France-Palestine (France), Association Medicale Franco-Palestinienne (France), Association Suisse des Amis de L'Universit4 de Bir Zeit (Switzerland), Association Suisse Palestine (Switzerland), Canadian Arab Federation (Canada), Catholic Near East Welfare Association (USA), Centre de Coop4ration Avec L'Universit6 de Bir Zeit (France), Centre de L'Enseignment du Qu4bec (Canada), Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (India), Centre International d'Information sur les Prisonniers Deportes at Disparus Palestiniens at Libanais (France), Churches Commission on International Affairs (Switzerland), Church of Christ (USA), Church of Humanism (USA), Christian Peace Conference (Czechoslovakia), Christian Peace Movement (Switzerland), CIMADE (France), Comit4 France Jerusalem Al-Quds (France), Comite Palestine at Israel Vivront (France), Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (United Kingdom), Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel), Democratic Women's Organization of Israel (Israel), European Coordinating Committee of Friendship Societies with the Arab World (France), Evangelical Episcopal Community (Israel), Friends World Committee of Consultation (United Kingdom), General Union of Arab Students ,in Israel (Israel), International Commission of Jurists (Switzerland), International Council of Voluntary Agencies (Switzerland), International Fellowship of Reconciliation (Netherlands), International Institute of Humanitarian Law (Italy), International Jewish Peace Union (France), International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (Switzerland), International Movement for Fraternal Union Among Races and Peoples (Switzerland), International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (United Kingdom), International Progress Organization (Austria), International Union of Family Organizations (France), International Union of Students (Czechoslovakia), International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (Switzerland), Islamic Council of Europe (United Kingdom),

*/ In the case of international organizations, the location only indicates the country where the NGO has its headquarters.

Islamic Women's Association (Egypt), Institute of Development Studies (United Kingdom), Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Israel), Labour Middle East Council (United Kingdom), Law in the Service of Man (Israel), Liberation (United Kingdom), Le Regroupement Pour Un Dialogue Israel-Palestine (Canada), Ligue Israelienne Pour les Droits de L'Homme et du Citoyen (Israel), London Friends of Palestine (United Kingdom), Middle East Council of Churches (Lebanon/Switzerland), Middle East Fellowship (USA), Mouvement Pan-Africain de La Jeunesse (Algeria), NAJDA: Women Concerned About the Middle East (USA), National Council of Churches, USA (USA), New Direction (Israel), November 29th Committee for Palestine (USA), Palestine Front of Norway (Norway), Palestine Committee of Norway (Norway), Palestine Human Rights Campaign (USA), Palestine Studies Programme (United Kingdom), Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation (Belgium), Peace, Friendship and Solidarity Organization of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Presbyterian Church USA (USA), Prisoners Friends Association (Israel), Procedural Aspects of International Law Institutes (USA), Radda Barnen (Sweden), SANAD (Community Service in Palestine) (United Kingdom), Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel (USA), Solidarity Committee of the GDR (German Democratic Republic), Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee (USSR), Trade Union Friends of Palestine (United Kingdom), Union of Arab Jurists (Iraq), Union Inter-Parlementaire Arabe (Syria), United Nations Association of Egypt (Egypt ), Women's International Democratic Federation (German Democratic Republic), Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Switzerland), World Assembly of Muslim Youth (Saudi Arabia), World Confederation of Labour (Switzerland), World Federation of Teachers's Union (German Democratic Republic), World Muslim Congress (Switzerland), World Peace Council (Finland), World YWCA (Switzerland).

Six NGO observers, experts, as well as members and observers of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and other member States participated in the international meeting.

Five panels were established and chaired by a moderator from among the experts in relation to the following topics:

(a) The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people under international law: activities of NGOs in promoting the awareness of public opinion of these rights,

(b) Factors determining policy-making in Europe: NGO role in influencing that process with regard to the implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people;

(c) Role of religious institutions in the search for a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine,

(d) Strategies for NGO collaboration and networking: NGOs' participation in providing the support to the just cause of the Palestinian peoples

(e) Paths to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East: role of NGOs and models for action.

The following experts made a statement:

Riah Abu Al-Assal, Rector, Christchurch, Nazareth (Israel)

Ismail Al-Farugi, Professor of Islamic/Arab Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)

Jospph Algazy, Secretary, Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights (Israel)

Shafig al-Rout, Member, Palestine National Council, Palestine Liberation Organization

Edith Ballantyne, Secretary-General, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Switzerland)

Igor Beliaev, Chief, Economics Department, Literaturnaya Gazeta Moscow (USSR)

Elmer Berger, Founder and Director, American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism (United States)

Claude Bourdet, President, Association France-Palestine (France) Klaas de Vries, Member of Parliament (Netherlands)

Rachid Driss, Director, Institute for International Studies (Tunisia)

Anis El-Qasim, Secretary-General, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, EAFORD (United Kingdom)

Maxim Ghilan, Editor, Israel and Palestine; Director, International Jewish Peace Union (France)

Abdeen Jabara, Attorney (United States)

Hans-Peter Kotthaus, Assistant Secretary-General, Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation (France and Belgium)

Niall MacDermot, Secretary-General, International Commission of Jurists (Switzerland)

Lucille Mair, Secretary-General, United Nations International Conference on the Question of Palestine

Leopoldo Nilus, Director, International Project, Middle East Council of Churches (Switzerland)

Anwar Nusseibeh, Chairman and Managing Director, Jerusalem Electric Company (Israel)

Ahmed Osman, Director, United Nations Association (Egypt) Ernie Ross, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom)

Joseph L. Ryan, S.J., Director, Catholic Near East Welfare Association (Jordan)

Audrey Skiabbas, NAJDA: Women Concerned About the Middle East (United States)

Raja Shehadeh, Director, Law in the Service of Man (West Bank) Ruth Sovik, Secretary-General, World YWCA (Switzerland)

Emile Touma, Member, Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel)

Amnon Zichroni, Advocate, Executive Director, Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Israel).

The meeting also heard an address by Msgr. Hilarion Capucci, Archbishop of Jerusalem, in which he called upon the Jews and Arabs to unite and work together for peace.

In opening the meeting, His Excellency Ambassador Massamba Sarre, Chairman of the Committee, underlined the impact of the Meeting on international public opinion. He thanked the NGOs for having agreed to participate in such a constructive work dedicated to peace. The Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mr. Zehdi Labib Terzi, in addressing the item "Paths to a Comprehensive, Just and Lasting Peace in the Middle East", emphasized the view that peace will be achieved through a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Palestine question is at the heart of the conflict.

In adopting, by acclamation, a resolution (see annex V), the NGOs decided to establish an Interim Co-ordinating Committee (ICC) on Palestine to further liaison between NGOs and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People through the Division for Palestinian Rights in particular with regard to the implementation of the provisions of that resolution. The NGO members of the ICC are:

Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Israel), Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel), Law in the Service of Man (West Bank), Palestine Human Rights Campaign (USA), National Council of Churches of Christ (USA), Trade Union Friends of Palestine (United Kingdom), French NGO Committee (France), Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee in Association with-Soviet Committee of Friendship and Solidarity with the Arab People of Palestine (USSR), International Jewish Peace Union, Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation, Arab Lawyers Union, Middle East Council of Churches in Collaboration with the World Council of Churches, World YWCA, World Peace Council.

By the same resolution, the NGOs decided to launch a campaign to collect signatures from the peoples of the world in support of an international peace conference on the Middle East as endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 38/58 C.

NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine

In line with the programme of activities, an NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine was convened by the Committee on the Exercise' of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in Geneva from 3 to 4 November 1984.

During the symposium, the ICC held its first meeting and based on its deliberations, submitted a set of proposals to the Committee. The ICC formulated an appeal in connexion with the launching of a campaign to collect signatures from the peoples of the world in support of an international peace conference on the Middle East (see annex VI).

NGO Seminar on the question of Palestine

On 4 March 1985, the NGO Seminar on the Question of Palestine was convened by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. A group of experts, representing members of the ICC, as well as members and observers of the Committee, attended the meeting. The NGOs present heard reports on the progress of the signature campaign, the result of which will be presented to the Secretary-General on 29 November 1985. They also debated and planned the programme of work for the forthcoming year.

Asian NGO Symposium on the question of Palestine

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58B, an Asian NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine was convened in New Delhi on 1 May 1985 at the request of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The three-day meeting was attended by 34 NGOs, members and observers of the Committee and other member States.

In his introductory statement, Ambassador Massamba Sarre, Chairman of the Committee, in recalling the Geneva Declaration, underlined the importance of the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations in accordance with the General Assembly resolutions.

In a message delivered by Mr. Zehdi. L. Terzi, Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mr. Yasser Arafat, said that the PLO continues its efforts to achieve a joint Arab political plan which aims to contribute to the attainment of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict.

The symposium was arranged into four panels which discussed the following different aspects of the issue:

(a) The International Peace Conference on the Middle East;

(b) The role of the Palestine Liberation Organization;

(c) The question of Palestine and Asian Public Opinion; and

(d) Collaboration on the question of Palestine and the role of the United Nations.

The following experts, members of the academic community, politicians and representatives of NGOs addressed the meeting:

Prof. R.T. Akhramovich, Professor at Moscow State University; Director, Institute of the Countries of Asia and Africa

Mr. Shafiq Al-Rout, Member of the Palestine National Council;

Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon

Mr. Hussain Al-Khateeb, Counsellor to the Speaker of the People's Council of the Syrian Arab Republic,

Mr. Donald Betz, Assistant to the President and Professor of Political Science at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, USA; Member of the Board of Directors of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign of North America and representative of the NGO Interim Co-ordinating Committee at the Symposium.

Mr. Irwin M. Herrman, Assistant Director, Footscray Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, and convenor of the Australasian Middle East Studies Association.

H.E. Mr. Mohammed Farid Zarif, Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations and Vice-Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

A declaration (see annex VIII) wad adopted by acclamation whereby the NGOs endorsed the global signature campaign launched by the NGOs at the Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in November 1984.

The document stated that the NGOs strongly support the convening of the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on the Middle East in accordance with United Nations resolution 38/58C.

4. Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

In accordance with operative paragraph 1(c) of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has been observed on 29 November in New York, Geneva and Vienna, as well as in other cities. From its inception, NGOs have participated in the commemoration. In 1984, a member of the ICC, representing the Trade Union Friends of Palestine, made a statement on behalf of the NGOs that attended the International Meeting in Geneva (see annex VIII). He announced the launching of a global campaign to gather signatures of the world's peoples in support of an international peace conference on the Middle East. He indicated that the results of this campaign will be presented to the Secretary-General on 29 November 1985. The campaign was also launched in Geneva by a representative of the World YWCA and in Vienna by a member of the Parliamentary Association of Euro-Arab Co-operation.

At the thirty-ninth session of the General Assembly, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in opening the debate, stressed the role of NGOs and other influential groups as an important element in mobilizing public opinion in favour of the solution sought by the United Nations.

The General Assembly, in its resolution 39/49 A, requested the Committee to continue to extend its co-operation to NGOs in their contribution towards heightening international awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine. In resolution 39/49 II, the General Assembly invited inter alia all organizations to lend their co-operation to the Committee and to the Division for Palestinian Rights in the performance of their tasks.

5. Other NGO activities:

Following the request of the NGOs present at the first, international meeting, the Division for Palestinian Rights decided to expand its monthly bulletin to include a regular section on NGO activities. Consistent with this request, the bulletin has regularly covered information on a large variety of activities organized by NGOs throughout the world.

At the same meeting, the NGOs requested the Committee, through the Division, to provide a comprehensive resource guide and directory of all NGOs working on this issue. Accordingly, the Division for Palestinian Rights sent out an inclusive questionnaire to all NGOs with whom the Division was in contact, to provide information on their purposes, different types of activities, etc. for inclusion in a directory that should eventually be published by the NGOs.


Annex I

THE NGO GENEVA APPEAL


We, the undersigned representatives of non-governmental organizations invited to participate in the Regional Preparatory Meeting for Europe of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine,

Concerned by the constant deterioration of the condition of the Palestinian people, particularly in the territories occupied by Israel, by the Israeli Government policy of settlement and annexation and by the grave danger that this situation poses to the peace of the world,

Concerned equally by the deterioration of the situation of tens of thousands of Palestinians dispersed and lacking legal protection, as a result of the war in Lebanon, and many of whom now find themselves in Western Europe,

Urgently appeal to the Governments of Europe to join the other Governments of the world so that real content can be given to the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, including the right to have their own sovereign State, just like the Israeli people in conformity with United Nations resolutions.

In this connection, we deplore the fact that the Governments of Western Europe and North America that maintain the closest relations with Israel and have special responsibilities in the Middle East are not participating in the preparation of a conference that is meant for dialogue. On the other hand, we do appreciate the attitude of those Western Governments that assumed their responsibilities in this respect, whatever may have been their prior position on the holding of the Conference.

We hope that the Governments of Western Europe which have, on so many occasions, expressed the wish for a just and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict, will understand that it would be altogether regrettable to forego the opportunity offered by the International Conference to open, at last, the way for a constructive dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. An initiative id this direction has already been taken at the Arab summit in Fez in September 1982. The constant growth in Israeli public opinion of a current in favour of peace and dialogue also constitutes a positive factor.

We consider that the invitation to the International Conference of Israeli organizations favouring dialogue with the PLO and recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people would be a useful and encouraging move. We believe that it would be equally useful to invite as experts Palestinian and Israeli personalities who could add to the work of the Conference.

Finally, we seize this occasion to launch an urgent appeal to the signatory States of the Geneva Conventions to carry out their obligation to have these Conventions respected in the occupied territories of Jerusalem, of Gaza, of the West Bank, of the Golan and now of Lebanon pending the liberation of all these territories."

Annex II


NGO DECLARATION AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

We, the representatives of over one hundred non-governmental organizations represented at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, 29 August to 7 September 1983, at Geneva, wish to thank the Preparatory Committee for the Conference for having invited our participation.

We have appreciated the possibility of addressing the Conference and of the opportunity for us to meet and discuss issues related to the purposes of the Conference, and to explore means for future co-operation among us and with the United Nations.

We consider this coming together of so many non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine unique and wish to build on this first contact. With this in mind, we call on the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to establish close links with all interested non-governmental organizations and between non-governmental organizations and the United Nations.

We urge the Committee to call consultative meetings with non-governmental organizations at the Headquarters in New York and the United Nations Office at Geneva to examine possibilities of co-operating in implementing the programme of action adopted by the International Conference. The consultative meeting in New York could be held when the question of Palestine will be taken up by the United Nations General Assembly.

Annex III

RECOMMENDATION FOR ACTION BY NGOs ATTENDING THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

Non-governmental organizations participating in the non-governmental organization meeting on 5 September 1983 recommended inter alia the following: Promotion of the results of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine and all other United Nations resolutions and decisions on this question.

- Maintenance of contact with one another through exchange of addresses, information about our organizations, and exchange of publications.

- Establishment of non-governmental organization committees around the United Nations to promote the plan of action adopted by the Conference and to institute dialogues amongst the people concerned.

- Emphasis in all follow-up activities, particularly with the media, of the underlying purpose of the Conference - that is, to seek peace and justice.

- Dissemination of the results of the Conference and the speech made by Chairman Yasser Arafat.

- Informing the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People of non•governmental organization activities, publications and plans of action.

- Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation of Palestinian women and children, urge United Nations and other bodies and organizations to provide assistance to Palestinian women, and, in particular, urge the United Nations, in preparation for the 1985 Conference of the Decade for Women, to undertake a full examination of the situation of Palestinian women and of the measures of assistance to be taken in their behalf and that the question be considered as a separate item of the 1985 Conference.


Annex IV

THE NORTH AMERICAN DECLARATION


1. We wish to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights for making this meeting possible.

2. As non-governmental organizations (NGOs), we are particularly grateful to the United Nations for the creation of an NGO liaison staff function, and for the provision of annual NGO meetings.

3. We, the representatives of 60 non-governmental organizations represented at the North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, 25-27 June 1984, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, call upon the peoples and Governments of the United States and Canada to take definitive steps to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine.

4. We wish to voice our support for the United Nations, especially its work to achieve a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine through the implementation of relevant resolutions.

5. We are of the opinion that there exists an international consensus on the elements of such a peace which is reflected in the relevant resolutions and documents of the United Nations and the positions of the majority of the Member States of the United Nations as expressed in the Geneva Declaration on Palestine, 1983.

6. Recent polls have shown that this international consensus is paralleled by an emerging consensus among the peoples of Canada and the United States for recognizing that Palestinians, like Israelis, constitute a nation and are endowed with an inalienable right to national self-determination and statehood within historic Palestine. This right means the right to return to Palestine; the right to be represented by their chosen representatives, the Palestine Liberation Organization; and the right to live securely in peace with all the neighbouring States, including Israel.

7. We believe that it is imperative that steps towards peace be taken immediately since the de facto annexation of the West Sank (including Jerusalem) and Gaza by the Government of Israel is proceeding rapidly and threatens to destroy the possibility of a peace based upon the mutual recognition of the rights of Palestinians, as well as Israelis to national self-determination. We call on the Government of the United States to declare unequivocally that the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons In Time of War applies to all territories occupied by Israel in and after 1967; to secure Israeli compliance with the Convention, as the United States is required to do by the terms of the Convention. We are aware that the United States Government and consequently the American taxpayer gives more United States aid to Israel than to any other country. Much of it is in the form of grants which do not need to be repaid. This money permits Israel, illegally to build and expand existing settlements.

8. It is our belief that all the parties to the conflict should come together in an international peace conference on the Middle East as called for by the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, August 1983, and as adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 38/58 C. It is essential that the conference be inclusive and be attended by representatives of both Israel and the Palestinians, which is the Palestine Liberation Organization, those Arab States party to the conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union. Just as General Assembly resolution 181 of November 1947 recognize the right of both peoples to self-determination and statehood, so now should the Member States of the General Assembly reiterate these principles as the basis for a negotiated peace under the auspices of the United Nations.

9. With the intent to further this goal of a just and lasting peace, we, representatives of non-governmental organizations, will work towards the following, and urge our respective Governments of Canada and the United States to take similar actions:

Call upon the Governments of Canada and the United States for the recognition of the right and just struggle of the Palestinian people under their sole and legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Promote Palestinian right of self-determination and the convening of an international peace conference under the auspices of the United Nations.

Work towards an immediate freeze on the construction and expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

Promote the reduction of militarization of this highly volatile region, by refraining from supplying weapons and other means of war. The threat of World War III and the possibility of a nuclear disaster is of great concern.

Take concrete steps to preserve and protect the human rights of all persons living in Israel and in all territories occupied by Israel.

Provide protection and assistance to Palestinians who are victims of dispossession and oppression, particularly women and children.

Ensure academic freedom and freedom of cultural repression in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem, with particular attention to the function of universities in these areas.

Urge meetings between religious groups, women's organizations, labour unions, peace groups, human rights groups, and other NGOs with their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts.

Facilitate trialogue among North American Muslims, Christians and Jews concerning the moral and theological basis for a lasting peace in the Middle East.

Encourage meetings between Palestinians and progressive Jewish Peace forces within and outside Israel in the hopes of furthering peace and mutual understanding.

Work towards the elimination of discriminatory restrictions on visas to Palestinian leaders to visit the United States and Canada, since such communications among Palestinians, progressive Israelis and the public of the U.S. and Canada are ingredients in a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Urge that all American and Canadian NGOs working for peace with justice in the Middle East be accorded the full protection of their rights to freedom of expression and association without fear of surveillance, interception of mail, surreptitious entry, or harassment by the Governments of the United States or Canada, in light of the deplorable Security Bill recently passed by the House of Commons in Canada and the various proposed "anti-terrorist" bills presently posing serious threats to the civil liberties and rights of Canadians and Americans working in support of various human rights struggles.

Work to initiate, particularly among,North American women's organizations, a coordinated campaign of support on behalf of Palestinian women presently imprisoned and under town and house arrest because of their social and political activities.

Urge NGOs to raise the issue of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in the course of the upcoming electoral campaigns in the United States and Canada.

Urge that UNRWA continue to provide its services to the Palestinians without any decrease or diminution. Cognizant of its mandate,we urge the United Nations to re-evaluate and update UNRWA's regulations as to which families and women receive aid. Further, we urge that Governments increase their financial support of UNRWA.

Promoted the dissemination of the speech made by Chairman Yasser Arafat at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. August 1983.

10. We urge the United Nations to:

Include, in the mandate of the NGO liaison function of the Division for Palestinian Rights, work on the Decade of Women Conference in Nairobi, 1985. This should facilitate inclusion and full participation of Palestinian women in that Conference.

Facilitate the North American NGO community in the establishment of a clearing-house for information on the question of Palestine.

Continue the development of a bi-monthly North American calendar of NGO activities, and facilitate its wide dissemination.

Produce a comprehensive directory of all NGO organizations working on this issue, including those that have not participated in any United Nations activities.

Coordinate the development of a guide to resources, "how to" expertise, and action-oriented networking, including the development of a telephone tree for the communication of urgent information.

11. We in turn will create ways for better communication among ourselves and for dissemination of our collective resources, hoping that the formation of North American public opinion can be a joint NGO/United Nations venture.

12. We urge the publication of the proceedings of this Symposium, including the North American declaration and the statements of the panelists, by the United Nations.

13. We urge the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey this resolution to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth session as part of the Committee's report.


Annex V

RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY NGOS AT THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL

NGO MEETING ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE


1. We wish to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights for making this meeting possible and without whose invaluable assistance our success would have been impaired.

2. As non-governmental organizations (NGO) we are particularly grateful to the United Nations for the creation of an NGO liaison staff function and for the provision of annual. EGO meetings and symposia on the-question of Palestine.

3. We consider that the meeting of so many non-governmental organizations as a consequence of United Nations resolution 38/58 C of 13 December 1963 is essential to the increase of international awareness of the question of Palestine.

4. We, the representatives of 98 NG0s represented at the. International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held from 20 to 22 August 1984 at the United Nations Office at Geneva, call. upon all the peoples and all the Governments to take definitive steps to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine.

5. We wish to voice our support for the United Nations, especially its work to achieve a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine through the implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions.

6. We express our concern for the lack of protection of the Palestinian refugees through a United Nations agency, and urge the General Assembly to extend the mandate to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to include Palestinian refugees.

7. We reaffirm our support and our commitment to work for the implementation of the 1983 Geneva Declaration on Palestine and the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights.

8. We decide to establish an interim Co-ordinating Committee on Palestine for NGOs as a positive development to further liaison between NGOs and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People through the Division for Palestinian Rights. The names of the organizations on the interim Co-ordineting Committee are attached. We request the Committee to ensure that at next year's conference a session shall be devoted to enabling the NGOs to decide on the future structures for their co-operation with the Committee and the Division,

9. Since the United Nations has set aside 29 November each year as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we call upon all NGOs to express on that day, by all means available to them, solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination and statehood.

10. We call on the Committee through the Division to disseminate the publicity material, posters and information to all NGOs well in advance of 29 November to ensure that the preparation of our activities can be concluded by September each year.

11. Non-governmental organizations have decided to launch a campaign to collect signatures from the peoples of the world in support of an international peace conference on the Middle East, as called for by the International Conference on the Question of Palestine on August and September 1983 and as endorsed by the Gen -oral Assembly in its resolution 38/58 C. It is essential that the conference be inclusive and be, attended by the representatives of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, those Arab States parties to the conflict, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Just as General Assembly resolutions recognize the right of both peoples to self-determination and statehood, so now should the. States Members. of the General Assembly reiterate these principles as the basis for a negotiated peace under the auspices of the United Nations.

12. Non-governmental organizations accept responsibility to promote within their own countries support for this international conference and agree to raise this with their own Governments.

13. We call upon the Committee, through the Division, to assist the non-governmental organizations in this most important endeavour by providing administrative facilities and support in order to ensure the success of this petition, which will be launched on. 29 November 1984 culminating on 29 November 1985 and these will be presented to all the parties- involved.

14. We call upon the Committee through the Division to campaign actively in order to bring new organizations, especially from those areas of the world that were not represented at Geneva into the work of solidarity in support of the Palestinian people and into the family of MGM.

15. W call upon the Committee, through the Division, further to strengthen the network of women working for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. We call for a wide exchange of information, including with the representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (General Union of Palestinian Women). with special focus on the situation of Palestinian women in preparation for the NGO forum in Nairobi in 1985.

16. We call upon the Committee, through the Division, to facilitate co-operation and co-ordination of NGOs on a regional basis. NGOs from the EEC region have envisaged during this conference an organization in the near future.

17. Non-governmental organizations regard as 4 priority the publication and early distribution of a comprehensive report including all the recommendations for action made by the panelists and the participants at the International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held at Geneva from 20 to 22 August 1984, and we call upon the Committee, through the Division, to accept this responsibility. Such a report should be made available no later than 30 October 1984.

18. We call upon the Committee, through the. Division, to provide the international NGO community with a clearinghouse for information on the question of Palestine.

19. We call upon the Committee, through the Division, to provide a comprehensive resource guide and directory of all NGOs working on this issue, including those that have not participated in any United Nations activities.

20. We call upon the Committee, through the Division, to expand the bulletin of the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights to include a regular section on NGO activity and information.

21. We call upon the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey the resolution and report of the International= Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held at Geneva from 20 to 22 August 1984, to the-General Assembly at its thirty-ninth session as part of the Committee's report.


Annex VI

APPEAL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE ON THE MIDDLE EAST


The unresolved Arab/Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine, and other Middle East conflicts pose a threat to world peace.

The Middle East is a nuclear weapons zone

The Middle East is one area in the world where a chain of events could lead to World War III.

without contact among all parties concerned there can be no negotiation. Without negotiation, there can be no peace.

We, the undersigned, recognize the right of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to statehood and self-determination. We recognize the right of all States in, the region to existence within secure and internationally recognized boundaries with justice and security for all the, peoples of the region. We call for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East attended by all parties- to the conflict, including the representatives of Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization, those Arab States party to the conflict, the United States at America. and the. Soviet Union, under the auspices of the United Nations as called for by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 38/58 C.


Annex VII

INTERIM CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE


Mr. Ernie Ross, Representative

On behalf of the interim Committee I thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its invitation to participate in this solemn meeting.

In August 1984 representatives of 98 non-governmental organizations participating in the international Non-Governmental Organizations,Meeting on the Question of Palestine in. Geneva called upon all peoples and Governments to take definitive steps to secure peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict, at the core of which is the question of Palestine. Since that momentous meeting, those organizations have recommitted themselves to this important quest.

As the representative of the Interim Co-ordinating Committee of Non- Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine for the non­governmental organizations. that attended that meeting, I am here today to offer a global challenge. We- believe that it is in the interests of all the world's peoples to secure genuine' peace in the-Middle East. All our lives have been punctuated by War and the prospect of war emanating from that historic region. But these wars have brought neither peace. nor security to the antagonists in the region. We must search for an alternative, sane path to peace with justice.

On this day, 29 November, the united Nations rightly calls for us to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for self- determination and statehood. Today, in New York, Geneva and Vienna, and many other places in the world, a global campaign is being launched to gather the signatures of the world's peoples in support of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. We, the non-governmental organizations committed to the attainment of the rights of the Palestinian people and especially a just and lasting peace for all peoples in the Middle East, offer the following world petition.

An Appeal for an International Peace Conference on the Middle East

°The unresolved Arab/Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine, and other Middle East conflicts pose a threat to world peace.

The Middle East is a nuclear weapons zone.

The Middle East is one area in the world where a chain of events could lead to World War III.

Without contact among all parties concerned there can be no negotiation. Without negotiation, there can be no peace.

"We, the undersigned, recognize the right of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to statehood and self-determination. We recognize the right of all States in the region to existence within secure and internationally recognized boundaries with justice and security for all the peoples of the region. We call for the- convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East attended by all parties to the conflict, including the representatives of Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization, those Arab States party to the conflict, the United States of America and the Soviet Union, under the auspices of the United Nations as called for by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 38/58 C."

Through this petition we are declaring that there is an alternative to successive wars in the Middle East and the continued deprivation of the Palestinian people. We firmly believe that the process initiated by such a Conference may begin to counter the misperception and mistrust that plague the region. We believe that it is the first step in a sane process towards resolving them.

All the world's peoples are jeopardized by the threat of war. All the world's peoples are affected by the plight of the Palestinian people. All the world's peoples concerned with peace must also be concerned with justice.

Over the coming 12 months, non-governmental organizations around the world will be offering the people of their respective countries a chance to be peace­makers, to help restore the rights of suffering peoples by asking them to sign this petition.

On 29 November 1985, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the results of this massive campaign will be presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

We are well aware of the magnitude of our project, but we are also painfully aware of the consequences of not acting. We ask all of you to join us in this quest to make peace in the Middle East a possibility through the promotion of genuine dialogue. That process could be set in motion by the convening of an International Conference on Peace in the Middle East.

As non-governmental organization, we are particularly grateful to the United Nations, to you, Mr. Chairman, and to your Committee for the creation of a non-governmental organizations liaison staff function and for the provision of annual non-governmental organizations meetings and symposiums on the question of Palestine. We wish to voice our support for the United Nations, especially its work to achieve a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine through the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions.

Through you, Mr. Chairman, the non-governmental organizations send our best wishes to Chairman Yasser Arafat and the members of the Palestine National Council meeting in Amman, Jordan. We are confident that their discussions and deliberations will bring forward positive and constructive proposals on behalf of the Palestinian people in their struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination within an independent sovereign State for a just and lasting comprehensive peace in the Middle East.


Annex VIII

DECLARATION ADOPTED AT THE

ASIAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE


1. We, the group of non-governmental organizations participating in the United Nations Asian Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, wish to thank the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for convening this meeting. We are indeed honoured by the presence of the Chairman, Members and Observers of the distinguished United Nations body.

2. We also wish to thank the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the NGO liaison officer, the staff of the Division, the Department of Conference Services, including the services of the interpreters, for their valuable assistance in the preparation and execution of this Symposium. We believe this meeting marks a pivotal point in the constructive interaction between the United Nations and the Asian NGO community concerned with the question of Palestine and we look forward to increasing levels of understanding, appreciation and co-operation.

3. Special thanks is extended to the Government of India for hosting this Symposium and for the generosity and co-operation extended to the participants. We were honoured by the presence and statement of His Excellency, Mr. Khurshid Alam Khan, Minister of State for External Affairs, at the official opening of the Symposium. We recognize and genuinely appreciate the long-standing and unfailing support that the Government of India has given to the just cause of the Palestinian people.

4. We also wish to sincerely voice our appreciation to the distinguished experts who spoke here and offered valuable historical, political as well as practical insights into the Question of Palestine and the potential central role to be played by NG0s. The practical suggestions assisted us in formulating future plans for effective collaboration in Asia and the Pacific and in linking our efforts to a broader, global network.

5. We resolutely reaffirm the international consensus that the Palestine Liberation Organization is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. We affirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination without external interference, to return and to the creation of an independent Palestinian State on its own national territory under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions.

6. We further strongly support the convening of the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Peace in the Middle East as specified in United Nations resolution 38/58 C. The Palestine Liberation Organization strongly supported this resolution but it was opposed by both Israel and the United States of America. As the positions of these two Governments constitute a serious obstacle to world peace, we urge that more pressure be exerted on both States to join in the global consensus on the issue. We urge those undecided States, especially members of the Security Council, to lend their support to this resolution. In this manner, we also uniformly support the declaration on this issue adopted by the International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine held in August 1984 in Geneva.

7. We express our grave concern over the protracted Arab-Israeli conflict. We recognize that the basic cause of that conflict is the denial by Israel and its supporters of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. In particular, we regret the record of successive administrations of the United States of America which have supported Israeli State terrorism.

8. The convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, as endorsed by General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, offers the only realistic and practical way towards a solution to the problem of Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian State.

9. We further reaffirm our belief that only a full and comprehensive solution involving the Palestine Liberation Organization and all concerned countries of the region and with the participation of the United States of America and the USSR can create the basis for a just and lasting peace. We reject partial and piecemeal agreements as such agreements have proved to be counterproductive and not conducive to a comprehensive peaceful solution and have totally ignored the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

10. This Symposium further asserts the close connection between the struggle of the Palestinian people and every struggle in each part of the world of peoples fighting for their independence, defending their freedom and building their life on the basis of their sovereignty. The cause of the Palestinian people is interconnected with the struggle of all peoples for world peace and against colonialism.

11. This Symposium of the NGOs of Asia and the Pacific positively points to the growing support in the United Nations for Palestinians and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It stresses the very significant role played by the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries representing over two thirds of the world's Governments in awakening global public opinion to the urgent need to resolve this issue and in exposing the parts played by the Governments of the United States of America and Israel.

12. We further endorse the global signature campaign to increase popular support for the proposed international peace conference on the Middle East and will endeavour to co-ordinate our efforts with the Interim Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs throughout Asia and the Pacific, culminating in The International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People on 29 November 1985.

13. We concur that influencing world public opinion is a key factor in the just resolution of the question of Palestine. As NGOs we have access to local populations, "the grass roots", in many societies and are determined to work to increase their understanding of the question of Palestine and to effectively mobilize their potential political, social and spiritual power.

14. Beyond these principles, we firmly believe that non-governmental organizations are a unique asset in securing the rights of the Palestinian people, for we can present the issue in its vital human dimension to individuals and other non-governmental organizations.

15. We are aware of the forces opposed to our efforts. But the inherent justice of our cause and the sound construction of a genuine regional and global NGO network will be mutually reinforcing and demonstrably advance our endeavours.

16. We have reviewed and considered the initial activities of the Interim Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs (ICC) established at the International Meeting on the Question of Palestine convened in Geneva in August 1984 and regard it as a suitable transitional mechanism for the initial co-ordination of the worldwide NGO effort on the question of Palestine. We look favourably upon its transformation from an "interim" to an "international" Co-ordinating Committee after the scheduled consideration of its future structure and composition at the International Meeting on the Question of Palestine to be convened from 9-12 September 1985 in Geneva.

17. We strongly urge the United Nations, through the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to assist the ICC in every possible way in its worthwhile efforts to build a viable, global network of NGOs active on the question of Palestine. This assistance should include further serious efforts to secure an NGO liaison in Geneva in addition to the current New York-based liaison activities and to aid in the establishment of a properly resourced ICC secretariat. The central co-ordination of all common NGO activities on this issue is a necessary condition for influencing domestic and global public opinion.

18. We Asian NGOs present here for this Symposium see ourselves as a nucleus of a broader, regional effort. We must reach out, identify and involve many other NGO committees to a just resolution of the question of Palestine. To accomplish these worthy goals, we are requesting United Nations assistance, including financial help, to establish an Asian Regional Interim Co-ordinating Committee of NGOs to serve as an initial focus for our regional efforts. We visualize such a Co-ordinating Committee establishing close links with the work of ICC and its successor.

19. The Asian and Pacific Region is an area of increasing geopolitical importance. As a result, forces opposed to the Palestinian cause are attempting to neutralize the traditional commitment of the peoples of this region to the Palestinian cause. Such attempts, notably by the State of Israel and its alter ego, The World Zionist Organization, as well as by imperialism, must be resisted as they constitute impediments to achieving a just, comprehensive and enduring resolution of the question of Palestine. We distinguish between Judaism as a religion and political Zionism as manifested by Israel, an unjust, undemocratic, racist, and dangerous ideology. In combating such opposition, Asia and Pacific NGOs could be expected to play a key role as moulders of public opinion in the region.

20. To ensure proper representation of this region at the forthcoming International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, we strongly urge the United Nations, through the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to fund the participation of a representative number of NGO delegates from the region. To be effective, such aid should include transportation to Geneva and accommodation during the conference.

21. In co-operation with the stated objectives of the ICC, we Asian NGOs call for the compilation of a regional data base of information on NGOs in Asia and the Pacific active on the issue as a potent addition to global networking efforts. NGOs in Melbourne, Australia, have offered to commence the effort and to assist in the production of regional materials.

22. We are determined to cultivate an expanding regional NGO constituency linked to a worldwide NGO network that will emerge as a significant complementary force in the campaign for the just resolution of the question of Palestine. We firmly believe that we can most effectively express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in this way. We call upon the United Nations, through the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to offer every assistance, including financial support, to achieve these ends.

23. We look with great interest to the forthcoming United Nations-sponsored World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women in Nairobi, Kenya, as a prime opportunity to call attention to the question of Palestine with special focus on the plight of Palestinian women under occupation. We call upon the Committee to assist us in further strengthening the network of women working for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

24. We urge the election of the Asian Regional Interim Co-ordinating Committee to be composed of representatives of organizations present at this Symposium.

25. We applaud the convening of this Regional Symposium and strongly request the United Nations, through the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to plan a follow-up Symposium in Asia and the Pacific as soon as possible but hopefully within the coming year.


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