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


2002 Substantive Session
23rd and 24th Meetings (AM & PM)
ECOSOC/6019
15 July 2002

Economic and Social Council will consider creation of advisory group
for any African country emerging from conflict

Adopts Resolution without a Vote; Also Opens Three-Day
Humanitarian Segment of 2002 Session

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Background

The Economic and Social Council met this morning to begin the humanitarian segment of its 2002 substantive session. Over the next three days, the Council will consider, among other related topics, special economic, humanitarian and other disaster relief assistance.

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IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt) ...

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Egypt called on the international community to intervene in coping with the humanitarian disaster of the Palestinian people. Israeli practices had led to a humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian territories, resulting in total destruction of their political and economic foundations. Buildings and homes had been destroyed, and natural resources polluted and gutted. Collective sanctions had been imposed on the Palestinian people. A just peace in the Middle East was the only way to guarantee a better future for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. He hoped the march towards peace in the Middle East would regain the momentum it had lost.

He expressed appreciation for the efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in organizing assistance for some 4 million Palestinian refugees. He asked donor countries to provide more financing to assist the Palestinian people. They must adopt a strict position regarding practices which prevented the arrival of assistance. The same applied to Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan. Egypt asked OCHA to coordinate with UNRWA in monitoring the situation of civilians under foreign occupation. The Secretary-General's report, submitted last year, should have included an analysis of efforts by the United Nations in that area and the humanitarian situation in the occupied territories. Internally displaced persons were not a separate category and should be covered by the protection afforded under the Geneva Conventions. While protecting displaced civilians was the responsibility of governments, the international community must assist those governments.

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