Question of Palestine home
16 February 2000
Preparatory Committee for the special session
of the General Assembly entitled “World Summit
for Social Development and beyond: achieving
social development for all in a globalizing world”
New York, 3-14 April 2000
Item 2 of the provisional agenda*
Preparations for the special session of the General Assembly
entitled “World Summit for Social Development and beyond:
achieving social development for all in a globalizing world”
Progress achieved in the implementation of United Nations
resolutions concerning the right of self-determination
Report of the Secretary-General
1. The present report has been prepared pursuant to decision 1 of the Preparatory Committee for the special session of the General Assembly entitled “World Summit for Social Development and beyond: achieving social development for all in a globalizing world”, in which the Preparatory Committee requests the Secretary-General to review and submit to it his reports on progress achieved in the implementation of United Nations resolutions concerning the right of self-determination, in particular for people living under colonial and foreign occupation, with a view to enabling them to participate freely in social and economic development.
The report covers the progress achieved since the World Summit for Social Development.
2. The agenda item “Right of peoples to self-determination” has been considered annually by the General Assembly on the basis of a report by the Secretary-General on the work of the Commission on Human Rights (see A/54/327). Under this item, the General Assembly has adopted each year a resolution entitled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”. Furthermore, the issue of the right to self-determination is also considered by the General Assembly in connection with the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Peoples contained in its resolution 1514 (XV). The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which is the organ established by the General Assembly to monitor the implementation of the Declaration, reports annually to the General Assembly in respect of people living under colonial occupation. The present report covers all these processes separately.
II. Commission on Human Rights
3. Since the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995), the Commission on Human Rights has continued to include in its agenda on an annual basis the item “The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation”. The resolutions adopted by the Commission are the basis for the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly on the right of peoples to self-determination, and address the question of Western Sahara; the situation in occupied Palestine; and the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and of impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination.
4. A summary of the conclusions contained in the Commission’s resolutions on self-determination from 1995 to 1999 is set out below, focusing on the progress achieved in their implementation. Also included is a brief summary of progress made in respect of the situation of human rights in East Timor.
Situation in occupied Palestine
12. From 1995 to 1999, the Commission on Human Rights considered and adopted resolutions on the situation in occupied Palestine every year (see Commission resolutions 1995/4, 1996/5, 1997/4, 1998/4 and 1999/55). In those resolutions, the Commission reaffirmed the continuing and unqualified Palestinian right to self-determination, including the option of a State, and looked forward to the early fulfilment of this right.
13. In 1997, the Secretary-General reported to the General Assembly on the adoption of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/6 on the Middle East peace process (see A/52/485).
14. In its resolution 1997/6, the Commission expressed its full support to such achievements as the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 1993, the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area of May 1994, the Agreement on the Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities of August 1994 and the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of September 1995, all signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
15. Jordan, which signed the Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace in 1994, responded to the note verbale sent by the Secretary-General to all Governments in May 1998 referring to General Assembly resolution 52/113 and requesting information on the right of peoples to self-determination. Jordan expressed in its response its belief in the right of peoples to self-determination and its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve this right as well as the right to establish their own independent State within their national soil (see A/53/280).
16. In its resolution 1997/6, the Commission welcomed the signing by Israel and the PLO in 1997 of the Protocol concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, the redeployment of Israeli troops from parts of Hebron and the release by Israel of female Palestinian prisoners.
17. The Middle East peace process aims to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region. The Commission repeatedly stressed the right of the Palestinian people to achieve their national rights, particularly their continuing and unqualified right to self-determination.
IV. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
36. Since the World Summit for Social Development, the General Assembly has adopted a resolution every year, under the item “Right of peoples to self-determination”, entitled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”. In the most recent of those resolutions, Assembly resolution 54/152, it reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the option of a State; expressed the hope that the Palestinian people would soon be exercising their right to self-determination, which is not subject to any veto, in the current peace process; and urged all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination.
37. In addition, in five resolutions entitled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” adopted since March 1995, the General Assembly has stressed the need for (a) the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination, and (b) the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. In its most recent resolution, Assembly resolution 54/42, it expressed its full support for the ongoing peace process begun in Madrid and the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 1993 (A/48/486-S/26560, annex), as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 1995 (A/51/1889-S/1997/357, annex) and the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum of 1999, and expressed the hope that the process would lead to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
38. Since its inception in 1975, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has stated that the Palestinian people have the inherent right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty in Palestine.
Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 45
(A/54/45), chap. VI.B,