Question of Palestine home
7 November 2000
Summary record of the 49th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 7 November 2000, at 10 a.m.
Ms. Gittens-Joseph.......................................... (Trinidad and Tobago)
: Ms. de Wet (Vice-Chairperson).............(Namibia)
Agenda item 109:
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees,
returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions (
Agenda item 109: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions
) (A/55/12 and Add.1, A/55/471, A/55/472 and A/55/506-S/2000/1006)
(Egypt) paid tribute to Ms. Ogata for the remarkable work she had accomplished during her mandate and congratulated her successor. In recent years, conflicts affecting many countries had aggravated the refugee problem and had posed a variety of challenges to the international community. Pursuant to article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in accordance with the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, it was the duty of the international community to protect refugees, provide them with the necessary services and ensure their return to their countries of origin. In that regard, the principle of voluntary repatriation must remain at the heart of the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Similarly, every effort must be made to bring to justice all those responsible for violations of the norms of international law because justice was a basic component for the peaceful and lasting settlement of conflicts. Reaffirming the close relationship between the right of asylum and basic rights, she noted that asylum was a form of right to life for refugees.
2. The situation of refugees, returning refugees and displaced persons in Africa and the Middle East continued to be of serious concern to the international community. The United Nations should place at the top of its agenda efforts to ensure the return of refugees, including Palestinians, to their countries of origin, provide assurances for their safety, dignity and ensure the payment of compensation for the property lost by refugees as a result of their expulsion, displacement or the occupation of their territories. The provisions of
General Assembly resolution 194
of 11 December 1948, which confirmed the right of return of Palestinian refugees and called upon the Israeli authorities to respect international instruments and conventions guaranteeing the rights of expelled Palestinians, should be implemented without any reservations.
The meeting rose at 12.20 p.m.