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

8 April 2004


Meeting to be Held on 15 and 16 April at United Nations Office at Geneva
(Reissued as received.)

Geneva, 8 April (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene a United Nations International Meeting on the Impact of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, on 15 and 16 April 2004 at the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The meeting will assess the scope of the project and its immediate and longer-term effects on the Palestinian population. It will also discuss the Palestinian and Israeli reactions to it.

The holding of this event is mandated by General Assembly resolutions 58/18 and 58/19 of 3 December 2003. Invited to the meeting will be eminent personalities, internationally renowned experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.

The opening session will start on Thursday, 15 April 2004, at 10.00 a.m. in Conference Room XVIII of Building E of the Palais des Nations. Statements are expected to be made by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee, and by Ahmed Qurei, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (to be confirmed). This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies and agencies will be invited to make statements. The opening session will be followed by plenary sessions during which experts will make presentations on specific issues. Each plenary will have a discussion period. The official languages of the meeting will be Arabic, English and French. Documentation will be available, to the extent possible, in English and French.

Plenary session I, “The Construction of the Wall – Devastating the Lives and Future of the Palestinian Population”, will begin in the afternoon of Thursday, 15 April, at 3 p.m. The session will assess the scope of the construction and its impact on the Palestinian people; and review the Palestinian, Israeli and international reaction to it. Speakers include Mustafa Barghouti, President of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, Ramallah; Dalit Baum of the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace, Tel Aviv; Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the right to food; and Fatina Mazin Hodali, Director of Permanent Status Issues, Ministry of Planning, Palestinian Authority.

Plenary session II, “The Construction of the Wall – Violating International Law”, will start at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, 16 April. During the session, experts and participants will discuss the application of international law, the annexation of Palestinian land, violations of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Speakers include Iain Scobbie, Professor of International Law at the London School of Oriental and African Studies; John B. Quigley, Professor of International Law at the Moritz College of Law of Ohio State University, Columbus; Michael Sfard, Lawyer for HaMoKed, the Centre for the Defence of the Individual, Tel Aviv; and Ben Saul, Coordinator of Oxford Public Interest Lawyers, University of Oxford.

On Friday afternoon, 16 April, at 3.00 p.m., plenary session III, entitled “The Construction of the Wall – Rendering the Two-State Solution Physically Impossible” will look at the state of the political process between Israelis and Palestinians, the status of the Road Map and the role of the Quartet, contributions to the debate by Member States and intergovernmental organizations, as well as the response by civil society. Speakers include Nabeel Kassis, Minister of Planning of the Palestinian Authority; Hussein Hassouna, Ambassador of the League of Arab States to Washington, DC; Azmi Bishara, Member of the Knesset for Balad; and others.

The closing session of the meeting will take place on Friday, 16 April, at 5.30 p.m. The report of the meeting will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

Participants are requested to register with the Secretariat either at its Office or prior to entering the conference room. The meeting Secretariat has opened its office at the Palais and is located in Office 1058/1060 of Building E. The telephone number of the Secretariat is (41-22) 917-7139/40. The fax number is 917-0286.

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For information media - not an official record