Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        General Assembly
22 June 1984


Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 14 June 1984, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Status of arrangements for the non-governmental organizations' symposium for
North American region to be held at New York from 25 to 27 June 1984

Status of arrangements for the African regional seminar to be held at Tunis from 13 to 18 August 1984

Preliminary consideration of the international meeting of non-governmental
organizations to be held at Geneva from 20 to 22 August 1984

Report by the representative of the Department of Public Information on the
Journalists' Encounter held at Vienna from 4 to 7 June

This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 11.00 a.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


FROM 13 TO 18 AUGUST 1984


2. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) introduced working paper A/AC.183/1984/WP.2, which referred to the organization of the three above-mentioned meetings. In connection with the non-governmental organizations' symposium for the North American region, he pointed out that the Committee must decide how it would be represented at the meeting; he suggested that a five-member delegation should be sent, as was customary. With regard to the African regional seminar, the names of experts on the question of Palestine who were not from Western Europe had been solicited. Some names had already been submitted, and he hoped that others would be proposed as soon as possible for submission for approval by the Committee. The Committee must also take a decision on the composition of the five-member delegation to be sent to the seminar, for which no nominations had been received so far. With regard to the international meeting of non-governmental organizations to be held at Geneva, he suggested that nominations for membership in the five discussion groups mentioned in the working paper should be submitted as soon as possible.

3. Mr. DIACONU (Romania) said that his delegation agreed that all groups which might contribute to the cause of the Palestinian people should participate in the meetings but that he did not want certain non-governmental organizations to take advantage of the meetings organized by the Committee to gain entry into the United Nations. He would like to know what rules were to be applied in inviting non-governmental organizations to those meetings. He thought that, in order to save time, the same method might have been followed as in the previous year.

4. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that, as indicated in document A/AC.183/1984/WP.2 and its annexes, invitations had already been sent to some non-governmental organizations. The question arose who had issued the invitations. If it had been the Bureau, he would like to know whether authorization had been requested from the Committee, what criterion had been followed in the selection and whether the fact had been taken into account that some of those organizations were Zionist. He asked also why the rules applied the previous year, which were set forth in paragraph 32 of the report of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine (A/37/49), had not been observed. It would also be necessary to apply other, supplementary rules, such as not inviting any non-governmental organization which had direct or indirect relations with Israel, which was Zionist or which in any way opposed the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the resolutions of the General Assembly.

5. He noted that under topic (iv), on page 2 of the working paper, mention was made of a Palestinian-Israeli peace. He asked the Chairman to clarify that question, for, in his opinion, the problem should be approached from the perspective of an Arab-Israeli peace.

6. Mr.TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, the previous year, much time had been devoted to deciding which non-governmental organizations would be invited to participate in the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. He suggested that those organizations should again be invited and that the Committee should consider if it should invite the other non-governmental organizations which had been proposed. He agreed with the comment of the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic on topic (iv), on page 2, and considered that the United Nations should seek a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

7. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the criteria which had been followed in inviting non-governmental organizations were the same as had been applied in the case of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, to which the majority of the organizations which had now received invitations to the symposium had been invited. The remainder of the organizations included in annex I seemed to meet the criteria previously applied; accordingly, and in view of the lack of time available, the Bureau had approved the list without submitting it to the Committee. The topics for the symposium and the names of the participants had also been approved by the Bureau.

8. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) said that the range of the questions for consideration at the symposium might prove too broad and that the agenda should be limited to matters of direct concern to North America, such as, for example, the policies of Governments with regard to the Middle East. Specifically, he did not feel that it was necessary to include an item on the role of women and the question of Palestine.

9. With regard to the criteria for inviting non-governmental organizations, he felt that the question of nationalities was not of major importance, although positions and attitudes were. It was necessary to be flexible in accepting new organizations, provided that the Committee was informed and consulted in due time.

10. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said that he had noted a change in the Committee's procedures and hoped that there would be a return to the old method, which satisfied all. He associated himself with the comments made by previous speakers on the working paper and added that, with regard to topic (i), "Profile of the Palestinian people", it would have been appropriate to consult the Committee before inviting once again those speakers who had already dealt with the topic on various occasions. With regard to topic (iv), he felt that there should be a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, not just a peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

11. The CHAIRMAN said that the explanations given by the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights answered, in part, the questions which had been put. The Bureau had never sought to replace the Committee in its decision-making. He had acted in the interest of efficiency, taking into account the time factor. The rules for invitations were known to all and were the same ones as had been observed in selecting non- governmental organizations to attend the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in 1983. However, although the general rules were accepted, it was necessary to take into account a certain realism and to recall that the Committee was open to dialogue, whatever the ideology expressed. That was proven by the fact that, every year, at the first meeting of the Committee, when the Bureau was elected, all States Members of the United Nations were invited to participate in the work of the Committee, regardless of their position on the question of Palestine. The main thing was that the Committee's forum should not be used to impair its credibility or impede its work.

12. As the title of annex I indicated, it was a question of a symposium of non- governmental organizations. The Committee was only a participant, and it was not appropriate for it to adopt decisions on the orientation of the symposium. At Geneva, for example, in addition to the communiqué issued by the Conference, the non-governmental organizations had practically held a parallel meeting and had issued a separate communiqué. There had not been any protest from delegations then. He asked for a demonstration of confidence in the Bureau, since the non-governmental organizations mentioned had already accepted invitations which had been extended following consultations among the members of the Bureau. Time was short, especially as the meeting was, in principle, to be held the coming week. The Bureau had felt that it could count on the Committee's confidence, while respecting, of course, the established rules; it had not deemed it necessary to convene the Committee. The majority of the organizations listed had been invited previously to the International Conference on the Palestinian Question. Nevertheless, if there was any objection, each case could be considered

13. With regard to the topics on the agenda of the symposium, it would, undoubtedly, be difficult to deal in two days with five or six topics relating to the same subject matter. Nevertheless, in his opinion, those were important points on which the non-governmental organizations could exchange views and arrive at a common position. With regard to topic (i), the delegation of Jordan had pointed out that the same speakers who had attended previous meetings had been invited to participate in the deliberations. The Bureau had selected them precisely because they had experience in the matter and knew the United States milieu. If, however, any delegation wished to propose other names, there would be no problem in including them. It had also been stated that it was perhaps unnecessary for the agenda to include a topic devoted expressly to the role of women and the question of Palestine. Since, in the United States, many associations were headed by women, the Bureau had deemed it appropriate to hear their points of view on the question. Nevertheless, if the Committee preferred that the topic should be deleted, that would be done.

14. Mr. DIACONU (Romania) said that he agreed with the views of the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization with regard to non-governmental organizations, namely, that the Committee should decide to invite the organizations which had been invited to previous meetings and should study the other names on the list. That option was the only one that would permit the Committee to take a decision democratically and allow the matter to be resolved easily. Otherwise, a long discussion would ensue; it might, for instance, be asked whether all the non-governmental organizations on the list in annex I had their headquarters in the United States or Canada, since normally only organizations established in North America should attend the symposium.

15. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that he shared the concern of other delegations regarding the selection of the non-governmental organizations and supported the proposals of the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Romanian delegation.

16. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that the answers of the Chairman and the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights were not entirely satisfactory. The important thing was to bear in mind the mandate of the Bureau and of the Committee. When the Bureau sent out invitations on its own initiative without authorization by the Committee, it was acting ultra vires. It was not a matter of confidence; since the Bureau had been elected by the members of the Committee, it was obvious that it had its full confidence. None the less, all decisions should be taken in the Committee itself, and the Bureau should submit its recommendations to the Committee.

17. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Bureau naturally had the full confidence of the Committee and that its decisions could not be called into question. However, with regard to paragraph 4 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.2, dealing with procedures for the symposium, there was no indication of who would be the moderator, who would preside over the meeting or who would be responsible for assembling and drafting the conclusions. He would appreciate clarification on those points and also a definite indication as to whether it was expected that the symposium would eventually issue a statement.

18. The CHAIRMAN said that it had not been the Bureau's intention to arrogate to itself functions that did not belong to it. As for the organizations whose headquarters were not in the United States or Canada, it had been decided to include them in view of the specific nature of the question and the role which they could play by taking part in discussions with North American organizations. The Bureau had also taken into account the new criterion for the participation of non-governmental organizations which the members of the Committee had defined and adopted, which established that it would be appropriate not to exclude specific groups when organizing meetings. In his judgement, what mattered were the results and not the legal aspect of the participation. There was, moreover, no Committee document opposing the participation of non-governmental organizations with headquarters in Europe, Latin America or anywhere else.

19. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said, with regard to the question raised by the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization in connection with paragraph 4, that perhaps it was not necessary for the Committee to spell out procedural details. The symposium would have its own dynamics and would adopt its own decisions on such matters.

20. The CHAIRMAN said that, since a meeting of non-governmental organizations was involved, they should be allowed the freedom to decide as they wished regarding the organization of their work. The participants must elect a moderator and a presiding officer for the symposium.

21. Mr. DIACONU (Romania) insisted that the Committee should adopt a decision regarding the invitations to the three meetings under consideration. He proposed accepting the solution put forward by the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

22. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee decided to invite the organizations which had participated in the 1983 Conference and to take a decision at a later date on other organizations which had now expressed interest in participating in symposia.

23. It was so decided.

24. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that, in order to facilitate matters, it should be indicated which organizations from among those listed in annex I had not attended the 1983 Conference.

25. The CHAIRMAN indicated which organizations had not attended that Conference and suggested that the Committee should decide if they should now be invited. Replying to an objection raised by Mr. DIACONU (Romania), he said that, if there were no other comments, he would take it that the Committee decided not to invite organization No. 39 on the list.

26. It was so decided.

27. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that he was not able to accept or reject any of the non-governmental organizations on the list because he had received the document only the previous day and had not had time to consult his Government before taking a decision.

28. Mr. DIMITRIJEVIC (Yugoslavia) said that he supported the proposals of the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the delegation of Romania and urged that the matter should be settled as soon as possible, because little time remained before the symposium was to be held.

29. Mr. TAHINDRO (Madagascar) said that he supported the view expressed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Romania regarding the procedure to be followed in extending invitations to non-governmental organizations. He added that the current problem had arisen because the customary procedure had not been followed, according to which the Bureau could only submit recommendations on various questions and the Committee was the one competent to adopt the relevant decisions.

30. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said that his delegation did not approve of the procedure followed by the Bureau. It was clear that representatives had objections to some of the organizations on the list. In his view it would be useful to give delegations which had such objections a few days' time to so inform the Bureau, so that it could then take appropriate action.

31. The CHAIRMAN repeated that the sole reason why the Bureau had hastened to act on behalf of the Committee had been the lack of time. However, in view of the reproaches that had been directed against the Bureau, in future it would consider itself bound to postpone any decision as long as was necessary to consult the Committee, even if that impaired the quality of its work.

32. Mr. TRAORE (Mali) said that he was concerned by the remarks of the Chairman. The Bureau's hands must not be tied to the point where opportunities were lost in cases where it had not been able to submit its recommendations to the Committee. He proposed that a certain flexibility should be exercised and that in urgent cases the Bureau should be given carte blanche to send invitations to organizations which had already been invited to previous meetings but that the Committee should be asked to review invitations extended to other groups to attend meetings for the first time.

33. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) said that he believed the most important criterion in organizing such symposia should be to ensure that the question of Palestine should receive the greatest possible attention, especially where it had not received much publicity, as in North America. He supported the proposal of the representative ofTunisia and proposed that delegations should be given time until the afternoon of Monday, 18 June to submit their objections in writing to the Bureau.

34. Mr. DIMITRIJEVIC (Yugoslavia) supported the proposals made by the delegations of Tunisia and Turkey.

35. The CHAIRMAN suggested that all delegations should be invited to submit their comments in writing to the Bureau and that a meeting of the Committee should be held on Tuesday, 19 June so that it could take a final decision on the list of invitations to non-governmental organizations.

36. It was so decided.

37. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that although he was in general agreement with the draft agenda for the non-governmental organizations'symposium, he would like certain items to be added. In order to save time, he would submit his proposals to the Bureau in writing and would at the next meeting provide such explanations as the Committee saw fit.

38. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia), referring to paragraph 7 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.2, concerning the invitation of parliamentarians in particular to the African regional seminar, asked whether the Division already had a list of participants who were not

39. The CHAIRMAN said that so far only experts with an academic background had participated in the seminars. However, in 1984 the political element had taken on greater importance and it had therefore been suggested that parliamentarians should also be invited, in accordance with the regional distribution indicated in the document in question.

40. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, in his view, there was no contradiction whatsoever between the status of an expert and that of a parliamentarian. On the contrary, parliamentarians could contribute their experience and their knowledge of the matter to the debate, and a number of the people on the list had academic experience in addition to being politically active. He endorsed the Chairman's view that what the parliamentarians had to offer to the Seminar represented a step forward from a solely academic approach and would make an excellent contribution to the search for a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem.

41. Mr. TAHINDRO (Madagascar) suggested that a distinction should be made in paragraph 7 in order to make it clear that the invitation was being extended both to experts and to parliamentarians. There were many parliamentarians, particularly in the African developing countries, who were interested in the question of Palestine, even though they might not be experts in the strict sense.

42. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) said that he regarded as desirable the
participation of a new sector that would unquestionably have an impact on the decision- making process of Governments and generate interest in the question of Palestine among the public. He believed that the distinction between academic experts and parliamentarians was somewhat arbitrary and that the latter could help to place the question of Palestine in a wider political context, since at the current stage it was not details or specialized knowledge that was required but, rather, politicians who could influence their electorate.

43. The number of participants should be increased, regardless of any financial implications there might be, and a certain balance should also be struck between the representation of Africa, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. He accepted the term "African Seminar", although the nature of the topic in question would appear to indicate that it was a Europeo-African seminar.

44. Miss KUNADI (India) supported the view expressed by previous speakers that participation by parliamentarians in the Seminar would help to highlight the question of Palestine in their respective countries. Since her delegation had received an invitation from the Secretary-General addressed to the Government of India, on behalf of the Committee, to participate in the Seminar, she wished to know what type of participation in the meeting was expected of Member States.

45. The CHAIRMAN, responding to the remark made by the Observer for Egypt, said that financial constraints would make it necessary to limit to 20 the number of participants invited and that when the list had been drawn up account had been taken of various elements and an endeavour had been made to achieve the greatest balance possible. However, the Committee would be extremely gratified if other countries were to send representatives.

46. Replying to a question posed by Mr. Lakhouit (Observer for Morocco) concerning the procedure to be followed in drawing up the list of African experts, he said that it was for the African countries to select those experts and suggested that first and foremost the States members of the Committee and, if there was still room, other African countries should participate.

47. Lastly, he wished to ask whether the Committee wished to adopt the proposals set forth in the working paper before it.

48. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the title of topic (iv) on page 2 should read "Paths to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace".

49. The CHAIRMAN, referring to a proposal put forward by Mr. Burayzat (Observer for Jordan), suggested that the Committee should continue with consideration of the working paper at its following meeting.

50. It was so decided.


51. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) said that, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 E, the Department of Public Information had held the first European regional encounter for journalists at the Vienna International Centre, with the assistance of the United Nations Information Service in Vienna. The purpose of the encounter had been to promote among representatives of the media a better understanding of the question of Palestine, by facilitating contacts with prominent experts on the subject, as well as a candid and brief discussion of the various aspects of the Palestinian problem.

52. Twenty high-level journalists, who had been nominated by the Information Centres of the Department of Public Information in Europe had been selected for participation in the encounter. An endeavour had been made to see that the largest area possible of the continent was covered as a result of the selection process and that at the same time a balance was achieved between press, radio and television representatives. Approximately 15 journalists from the United Nations press corps in Vienna had also attended.

53. In the course of the encounter a review had been made of the historical background of the question of Palestine, the relationship between the United Nations and the question of Palestine, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the prospects for a peaceful settlement of the problem. Furthermore, films on the question of Palestine and Palestinian refugees produced by the United Nations and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East had been shown.

54. In general terms, the encounter had been a great success, since a wide range of subjects and aspects of the Palestinian question had been considered. Participating journalists had shown great interest in the subject and the discussions and had been unanimous in believing that the debate had been extremely useful and that such activities should be held more often. United Nations publications and resolutions on the question of Palestine, including the latest resolution on the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, which had been adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its fortieth session, had been distributed to participants.

55. At the end of the encounter, journalists had been asked to make remarks and suggestions on future public-information activities in the field in question. A number of them had suggested that the United Nations Department of Public Information should hold national meetings, particularly in Western Europe, with a view to providing the largest number possible of journalists in the region with an opportunity to meet experts on the question of Palestine.

56. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he wished to express his gratitude to the Department of Public Information and that he hoped that similar encounters would soon be held on other continents. Furthermore, the showing of films on the Palestinians in the course of the meetings seemed to be extremely useful, since visual images had a greater impact than information transmitted verbally. Such resources should also be used at future meetings.

57. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) said that it was hoped that the Department of Information would provide copies of press cuttings of the articles published by the journalists after attending the encounter, with a view to completing the evaluation of the effectiveness of the meeting.

58. The CHAIRMAN said that he wished to thank the Department of Public Information for the report submitted and to encourage it to continue its work and to hold more meetings of the same type, taking account of the comments made, with a view to giving an increasing volume of publicity to the question of Palestine.

The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter