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

20 July 1998


GENEVA, 17 July (UN Information Service) -- The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories will carry out its annual field mission to Egypt, Jordan and Syria from 22 to 31 July.

Prior to the start of the mission, the Special Committee will hold preparatory meetings in Geneva on Tuesday, 21 July.

The Special Committee plans to hold hearings in Cairo from 23 to 25 July and in Amman from 26 to 28 July. While in Jordan, the Committee intends to interview persons from the West Bank at the King Hussein Bridge. The dates for the Special Committee's hearings in Syria have been set for 29 and 30 July.

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

The territories considered as occupied territories for the purposes of the Special Committee's mandate are currently the occupied Syrian Arab Golan, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

The Committee has so far presented 29 annual reports to the General Assembly. The latest annual report was adopted on 29 August 1997. Since 1989, the Special Committee has also submitted each year two periodic reports to the General Assembly in addition to its annual report.

Since its establishment in 1968, the Special Committee has repeatedly tried to obtain the cooperation of the Government of Israel, but has consistently been denied such help and thereby access to the occupied territories. However, the Committee has been able to benefit from the cooperation of the Governments of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Without direct access to the occupied territories, the members of the Special Committee decided to base their reports on relevant articles appearing in the Israeli press, as well as articles appearing in the Arab press published in the occupied territories. In addition, the Special Committee includes in its reports excerpts of testimony gathered during visits to the neighbouring States from persons having first-hand and recent experience of the human rights situation in the occupied territories. The Committee also formulates conclusions containing its evaluation of the situation, as well as recommendations.

The Special Committee holds three series of annual meetings. The second series of meetings is combined with a mission to the area. The Committee will adopt its second periodic report during this field mission; it will adopt its annual report during the third series of meetings scheduled to take place in September.

The Special Committee's mandate was renewed again for an additional year on 10 December 1997 by General Assembly resolution 52/64. The findings of the Special Committee are contained in its twenty-ninth report to the General Assembly, document A/52/131/Add.2 of 14 October 1997.

* *** *
For information media - not an official record