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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
31 May 1998



April/May 1998


Volume XXI, Bulletin No. 3


Contents

Page
I.
    Action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
1
II.
    United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine held at Cairo on 25 and 26 April 1998
2
III.
    United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, held in Cairo on 27 and 28 April 1998
5
IV.
    United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Seminar and NGO Symposium, held in Santiago from 26 to 29 May 1998
7
V.
    Secretary-General issues statement on violence in the occupied Palestinian territory
10
VI.
    High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses deep regret over violence in occupied Palestinian territory
11
VII.
    Human Rights Commission takes up items relating to the question of Palestine; adopts four resolutions
11
VIII.
    Committee against Torture reviews report by Israel; issues conclusions
19
IX.
    UNESCO grants Special Mention to Hebron Mayor in award ceremonies; Palestinian and Israeli leaders
    support UNESCO project
20
X.
    President of European Union issues statement on the Middle East peace process
21
XI.
    Excerpt from final communiqué adopted by the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers at its
    twenty-fifth session, held in Doha from 15 to 17 March 1998
21
XII.
    Excerpts from the communiqué adopted at the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the
    Movement of Non-Aligned Movement held in Cartagena on 19 and 20 May 1998
24
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on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) at:
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I. ACTION TAKEN BY THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE
INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE


At its 237th meeting, on 16 April 1998, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People decided to request its Bureau to address a letter to the Secretary-General requesting the inclusion of an item entitled “Bethlehem 2000" in the agenda of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly, in accordance with rule 13 of the rules of procedure. The text of the explanatory memorandum attached to the letter, which was signed by members of the Bureau, Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Mr. Ravan Farhadi (Afghanistan), Mr. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (Cuba), and Mr. George Saliba (Malta), is reproduced below (see A/53/141):


Explanatory memorandum
Bethlehem 2000

Bethlehem, Palestine, is one of the most historic and religiously significant sites on Earth. In the year 2000, the past and the future will meet in Bethlehem in a global vision of hope and peace for all peoples. On that occasion, the world will celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ and the onset of the new millennium.

This event is of monumental importance not only for Palestinian people and for the region, but also for the believers of the world and for the international community as a whole. The occasions worldwide significance also reflects a multidimensional character as it comprises a significant religious, historic and cultural dimension, as well as a contemporary dimension, marking the end of the second millennium and the beginning of the third millennium for humankind.

As members of the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, we fully support the decision of the Palestinian National Authority to honour this legacy and to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ and the dawning of the new millennium, by launching the Bethlehem 2000 Project. It is envisaged that the commemoration, which will be a vast and multi-faceted undertaking, will begin at Christmas 1999 and conclude at Easter 2001. A High Committee for the Bethlehem 2000 Project has been established, headed by President Yasser Arafat, with many religious authorities, individuals and institutions from around the world directly engaged in the planning and preparation.

A major step towards increasing the engagement and participation of the international community in the project is the Bethlehem 2000 Participants Conference, held at Brussels on 11 and 12 May 1998. The Conference was convened by the Bethlehem 2000 Project, in association with the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Bank. The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People also attended this important event. The Conference provided an opportunity for decision makers from Governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, the international financial community, religious and cultural institutions and the media to contribute towards the success of the Bethlehem 2000 Project through financial contributions, investment, expertise and promotion of international awareness.

It is expected that approximately 2 million visitors will visit Bethlehem to celebrate the historic occasion that will be upon us with the dawning of the year 2000. To meet this huge undertaking, the Bethlehem 2000 Project envisages the following six programme components:

Events: Religious, cultural and artistic celebrations, on both the national and the international levels;

Infrastructure: Plans to rehabilitate and upgrade the infrastructure network, including water, electricity, sewage and sanitation, and traffic and transportation;

Services: Plans to rehabilitate and upgrade basic services, including social and cultural, health and medical, police and security, emergency and civil defence, and traffic control and logistics services;

Cultural heritage: Plans to preserve and display the rich Palestinian past and history through a variety of exhibits, displays and events;

Tourism development: Plans to provide all necessary tourism services;

Private sector development: Encouragement of international investors to join with local investors and developers to provide accommodation, food, entertainment and information services.

Bethlehem 2000 will be an historic and momentous international event, requiring a high degree of engagement by the international community in organizing and preparing for the occasion, including financial and technical contributions to the preparations and actual participation in the commemorative events and activities.

As indicated above, some United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organizations have already begun contributing to the project. However, it is essential that the United Nations as a whole should display explicit interest in and support for this historic occasion, drawing the attention of the peoples of the world to its importance and assisting in making the event a moment for hope, peace, coexistence and prosperity for all humankind.

In view of all of the above, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has decided to authorize its Chairman and the members of its Bureau to request the inclusion of a new item, entitled “Bethlehem 2000", in the provisional agenda of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly. It is the strong hope of the Committee that a constructive debate will take place in the interest of the specified objectives and that wide consultation will pave the way for the unanimous adoption of a General Assembly resolution in this regard.

The Chairman of the Committee attended the Bethlehem 2000 Participants Conference, held in Brussels on 11 and 12 May 1998. He reported thereon to the Committee at its 238th meeting, on 15 May 1998.


II. UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
HELD IN CAIRO ON 25 AND 26 APRIL 1998

The United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in Cairo, o 25 to 26 April 1998 and in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 52/49 and 52/50 of 9 December 1997.

The Committee was represented by a delegation comprising Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman and head of delegation; Mr. Ravan A. G. Farhadi (Afghanistan), Vice-Chairman; Mr. George Saliba (Malta), Rapporteur; Mr. Martin Andjaba (Namibia); and Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa (Palestine).

The meeting was attended by 35 Governments, 7 United Nations bodies and agencies, 78 non-governmental organizations, with 20 of them as observers. It was also attended by a delegation of Palestine, three intergovernmental organizations and five NGO coordinating committees. Presentations were made by 11 panellists and workshop resource persons.

At the opening session, a statement was made by Mr. Sayed Abu Zied, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt. A statement on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations was read out by his representative, Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, Under-Secretary-General and United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories. Statements were made by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Mr. Mohamed M. Sobeih, Permanent Representative of Palestine to the League of Arab States and representative of Palestine at the meeting; and Mr. Don Betz, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP).

Two panel discussions were conducted, with the participation of experts, as follows:

I. The international responsibility 50 years later: Mr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Director of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem; Mr. Khaled Muhie Al-Dein, Member of the Egyptian Parliament; Ms. Zahava Galo’n, Board Member of Meretz; and Mr. Ahmad Saad, Member of the Knesset.

II. NGO support for international efforts to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution on the question of Palestine: Ms. Fiona McKay, Lawyer with Redress, a London-based NGO; Mr. Gabi Baramki, First Vice-President of the Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace; Mr. Pierre Galand, Secretary-General of the Belgo-Palestine Association and Member of the European Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP); Mr. K. M. Khan, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Asian Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine; Mr. Victor Makari, Member of the North American Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (NACC); and Mr. Nouri Abdul Razzak Hussein, Secretary-General of the Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Organization (AAPSO) and Member of the African Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine.

Two NGO workshops were held which focused on NGO action in support of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and on the cooperation with Palestinian and Israeli NGOs and the coordination of international campaigns.

A final statement reaffirmed the NGO plan of action adopted at the last International NGO Meeting, held in August 1997 in Geneva. The full text is reproduced below:

Final statement

The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participating in the United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Cairo on 25 and 26 April 1998 note with satisfaction that this conference has been convened in the Middle East for the first time.

We urge serious consideration of holding additional NGO events in the region next year, particularly in Palestine. The NGOs are prepared to assist in the preparation and publicity, well in advance of the meeting, to ensure broad distribution and strong attendance.

We note that we have met in the fiftieth year of the dispossession of the Palestinian people and we honour all those who have suffered during this one half-century of injustice and occupation. We affirm that the question of Palestine is, fundamentally, about the struggle for land, and the fulfilment of the inalienable Palestinian right to establish, alongside Israel, an independent State with Al-Quds or East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Declaration of Principles, signed in September 1993, and most recently reaffirmed in General Assembly resolution 52/52 (1997), raised hope for stability and peace in the region. It is almost five years later and it is clear that the policies of the present Israeli Government have undermined any confidence and trust in the current process. We call upon the Israeli Government to fully implement the Oslo agreements.

We remain committed to the full implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions as our common platform. We are deeply concerned that their non-implementation and the lack of meaningful progress in the negotiations is producing levels of despair and frustration among the Palestinian people which erodes hope and produces a climate for increased hostility. We believe that the situation on the ground in Palestine is very serious and cannot be ignored.

The United Nations and the international community has a continuing and unfulfilled responsibility for a just resolution of the question of Palestine. Prior to the full implement of United Nations resolutions on Palestine, we support the call for United Nations and international protection of the Palestinian people.

Meeting in Cairo, we have reviewed the NGO Plan of Action adopted in August 1997 at the previous International NGO Meeting and find it to be relevant to our continuing work. We note that some progress has been made in specific areas of the plan, and we reaffirm our commitment to this plan as a common NGO plan of action. We urge all NGOs and the United Nations to cooperate in its implementation.

The NGOs reiterate their commitment to a just and lasting peace based on self-determination for the Palestinian people. The objective of our efforts must be focused on the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. In support of this goal, the NGOs re-declare their recognition of the State of Palestine in conformity with those announced by the Palestine National Council in its Declaration of Independence of 1988. We look to 1999 as the Year of the State of Palestine and will work with our constituencies and the public to prepare them for the declaration of the independent State by the Palestine Authority.

We call upon all NGOs to undertake creative and informative ways of observing 15 May 1998. These commemorations should be shared with all NGOs via the regional committees and the ICCP.

The NGO participants continue to support the initiatives of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly and will urge their respective Governments to implement its resolutions, in particular to convene a conference of the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the enforcement of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as well as to convene a meeting of experts to prepare for the conference. In order to achieve these goals, NGOs should enlist the assistance of legal organizations in their respective States.

The NGOs assert that cooperation between Palestinians and Israeli NGOs is important to the securing of Palestinian rights. We encourage the Israeli NGOs to continue their efforts within Israeli society in building support for self-determination of the Palestinian people. Major efforts should be undertaken to enhance the coordination among NGOs in Palestine and Israel and to build new bridges of contact and cooperation among Palestinian and Israeli NGOs.

The European NGOs will pursue their work of lobbying their national parliaments and Governments and the European Union institutions to suspend the Euro-Med and bilateral agreements as they relate to Israel until Israel complies with all its political and economic commitments signed with the Palestinian side. This includes a general boycott of goods produced in the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The NGOs call for an interregional NGO working group composed of those organizations focusing on the law to assist other NGOS with the legal aspects of promoting the self-determination of the Palestinian people and challenging Israel in its efforts to thwart this outcome. This should include a plan of action for the use of existing legal instruments and mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights and humanitarian law.

We are encouraged by the NGO regional reports as presented during the conference. We will pursue the suggestions offered to utilize the
facilities and assistance of NGOs based in Cairo as a liaison for networking.

The NGOs emphasized the importance of information and publicity regarding Palestine be widely disseminated by every available means during this year. To that end, we call upon the United Nations, and in particular the Department of Public Information, to produce a professional video programme during 1998 on the issue of Palestine and the history of the Palestinian people in various languages and suitable for global viewing and distribution. The NGOs are ready to assist the United Nations in this project.

The ICCP and the NGOs assembled for this international meeting express their appreciation to the Government of Egypt for hosting this Meeting and to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights for their continuing assistance and cooperation.

The report of the Meeting will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.


III. UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE,
HELD IN CAIRO ON 27 AND 28 APRIL 1998


The United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People on the theme “Facing the challenges of the year 2000: Promoting Palestinian national development” was held in Cairo on 27 and 28 April under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in accordance with its mandate to promote international support and assistance to the Palestinian people during the transitional period.

The Committee was represented by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman; Mr. Ravan Farhadi (Afghanistan), Vice-Chairman; Mr. George Saliba (Malta), Rapporteur; Mr. Martin Andjaba (Namibia); and Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa (Palestine).

The Seminar was attended by 63 Governments, 10 United Nations bodies and agencies, and 3 intergovernmental organizations. Nine experts presented papers on various topics for discussion.

At the opening session, Mr. Mustafa Abdel Aziz, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, made a statement on behalf of Egypt, the host country. A statement on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General was ready out by his representative, Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, Under-Secretary-General and United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Statements were also made by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and Mr. Nabil Shaath, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Palestinian Authority.

The Seminar began with a plenary session entitled “Planning Palestinian national development: challenges and prospects.” Statements were made by representatives of organizations and entities of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.

Subsequently, three round-table discussions moderated by experts were conducted, as follows:

I. Goals, strategies and priorities of national development

Mr. Ali Shaath, Assistant Deputy Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, Palestinian Authority; Mr. Jonathan Paris, Fellow, US/Mideast Project, Council for Foreign Relations, New York; and Ms. Ghania Malhees, Director-General for Economic Affairs, League of Arab States.

II. Gathering information for future planning: the results of the Palestinian census

Mr. Hassan Abu Libdeh, President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics of the Palestinian Authority; and Mr. Marwan Khawaja, Professor of Sociology, Bir Zeit University.

III. Overcoming obstacles: the role of the international community

Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories; Mr. Joseph G. Bock, Country Representative, Catholic Relief Services, Jerusalem; Mr. Simcha Bahiri, Co-Chairman, Israel/Palestine Centre for Research and Information, Tel Aviv; and Mr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Director of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem.

In his concluding remarks, the Chairman noted that the Seminar, and the International NGO Meeting that had preceded it, had many elements in common: that economic measures by themselves could not resolve fundamental political issues and that political action required a favourable economic environment in order to succeed. There was consensus among the participants on the responsibility of the international community, including the United Nations, Member States and intergovernmental organizations, for ending the 30 years of occupation and 50 years of dispossession of the Palestinian people. The Committee was encouraged that many speakers at the Seminar had expressed the view that the establishment of a Palestinian State was inevitable, and expressed their support for it as the only viable solution.

Subsequently, the Chairman submitted the report of the Seminar to the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council for circulation as a document of those organs. The report will also be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights (see A/53/152-E/1998/71).


IV. UNITED NATIONS LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN SEMINAR
AND NGO SYMPOSIUM, HELD IN SANTIAGO
FROM 26 TO 29 MAY 1998

The United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine on the theme “Achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine: the role of Latin America and the Caribbean” was held in Santiago from 26 to 29 May 1998, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolutions 52/49 and 52/50 of 9 December 1997.

The Committee was represented by a delegation comprising Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman; Mr. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (Cuba), Vice-Chairman; and Mr. George Saliba (Malta), Rapporteur; Mr. Sotirios Zackheos (Cyprus), who acted as Vice-Chairman of the meeting; and Mr. Nasser M. Al-Kidwa (Palestine).

The meeting was attended by 33 Governments, 2 United Nations bodies and agencies, and 35 non-governmental organizations, 10 of them as observers, as well as 2 NGO coordinating committees and special guests of the host country, representatives of the media, universities and institutes. Presentations were made by 22 experts from Latin America, the Caribbean and other regions. Each panel was followed by a discussion open to all participants.

At the opening session, a statement was made by Mr. Juan Martabit Scaff, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile. A statement on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations was read out by his representative, Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Statements were also made by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Mr. Fathi Arafat, Member of the Palestine National Council and President of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society; Mr. José Felix Ferreyra, Chairman of the Latin American and Caribbean Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine; and Mr. José Elias A., Representative of the Confederation of Palestinian Communities in Latin America and the Caribbean and President of the Palestinian Federation of Chile (COPLAC).

Three panel discussions were conducted, with the participation of experts, as follows:

I. Briefings on the current political situation: Mr. Ahmed Soboh, Director-General for International Organizations, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Palestinian Authority; Mr. Dedi Zucker, Member of the Knesset; Mr. Richard Curtiss, Executive Editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; and Mr. Juan Abugattas, Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Marcos and the University of Lima.

II. Briefings on the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem: Mr. Ghassan Andoni, Lecturer of Physics at Bir Zeit University and President of Rapprochement - Center for Dialogue and Understanding; Ms. Sarah Kaminker, Planning Consultant, Jerusalem: Mr. Marzouq Bishara Hanna Marzouqa, Member of the Municipal Council of Bethlehem; Mr. Latif Dori, Secretary, Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue in Tel Aviv; Mr. Jaber Omar, Professor of Economics, Catholic University of Pelotas, and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; and Mr. Fathi Arafat.


III. The role of Latin America and the Caribbean in promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine through solidarity and assistance: Mr. Ivan Moreira Barros, Member of the Chilean Parliament; Ms. Jandira Feghali, Member of the Brazilian Parliament; Mr. Airton Soares, Lawyer, former Member of Parliament and former Secretary-General of the Arab-Brazilian Parliamentary League; Mr. Mario Nazal Momares, President, Palestinian-Chilean Chamber of Commerce; and General Gastón Ibañez O’Brien, former Minister for Industry and Tourism, contributor to the newspaper Expreso (Lima).

An NGO workshop entitled “Mobilization and networking of Latin American and Caribbean NGOs in support of a just and comprehensive solution of the question of Palestine” was conducted. The participating NGOs also elected a new Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine to facilitate their follow-up activities.

A final document approved by the participants at the concluding session summarized the proceedings as follows:

Final document

1. Participants expressed their utmost appreciation to the Government and the people of Chile for providing a venue for the Latin American and Caribbean Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine and for the excellent facilities, courtesies and warm hospitality extended to them.

2. Participants welcomed the convening of the Latin American and Caribbean Seminar and NGO Symposium from 26 to 29 May 1998, as an important contribution to continuing international efforts to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. They emphasized the significance of the role that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean had played, and continue to play, towards this objective. They particularly welcomed the holding of the meeting in Chile because of its prominent role in the region and in international bodies, the presence of many Chileans of Palestinian descent, and its support for Palestinian rights as demonstrated by the fact that it was the first country in the region to open a consular office in the territory under the Palestinian Authority.

3. Participants commended the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for this significant initiative at a time of great importance for future peace efforts, and expressed the view that this kind of meeting should continue to be held in all regions.

4. Participants drew the attention of the international community, and in particular that of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, to the fact that more than 50 years after the decision of partition of Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly and the creation of Israel as the Jewish State, the Arab State has still not come into being. Participants reaffirmed their support for the continuing efforts of the international community and the Palestinian people to achieve its inalienable rights, including the right to establish, alongside Israel, the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds), as its capital.

5. Participants expressed their support for the Middle East peace process launched at Madrid in October 1991, and the historical agreements reached with the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles in September 1993 and subsequently. They also emphasized that those agreements represent an essential step on the path towards the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and all other relevant United Nations resolutions, the reconciliation between the parties based on a two-State solution and the establishment of peaceful and cooperative relationships throughout the region. They stressed that there is no alternative to the peace process, and stressed the need for the full and effective implementation of the agreements reached.

6. At the same time, participants expressed their grave concern over the prolonged deadlock in the peace process, resulting from the policies of the present Government of Israel as well as its practices that are contrary to its obligations as the occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. These illegal practices violate the letter and spirit of the agreements signed by both parties and undermine the peace process.

7. In particular, participants expressed grave concern at the intensification of land confiscation and the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and especially the construction of the settlement on Jabal Abu Ghneim. They stressed that settlements contravene international law and Security Council resolutions. Participants agreed that settlements create facts on the ground that seriously jeopardize the attainment of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and constitute the greatest obstacle to the achievement of a just and lasting peace. They called upon Israel to stop all settlement activities. They called for the cessation of all forms of assistance and support for those and other illegal Israeli activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and called in particular for a boycott of goods manufactured in the settlements.

8. Participants expressed appreciation for the work done by the Israeli peace camp and encouraged them to continue their efforts within the Israeli society in building support for the establishment of the independent Palestinian State.

9. Participants emphasized that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, in view of their experience in the struggle for political and economic independence and development, their long-standing solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with their tradition of harmonious relations between Palestinian and Jewish communities, can contribute to advance the peace process and to Palestinian nation-building.

10. Participants called upon the Latin American and Caribbean Governments to play an important role in promoting Palestinian efforts to achieve independence and sovereignty, in particular by establishing diplomatic representation in the area under the Palestinian Authority and by supporting the upgrading of the status of Palestine in the United Nations. The NGOs reaffirmed that 1999 is the Year of the State of Palestine and pledged to work with their constituencies and the public to prepare them for the declaration of the independent State by the Palestinian Authority.

11. In the economic sphere, Latin American and Caribbean countries could contribute, together with the international community, to the efforts to help undo the negative effects of the years of occupation, restore the deteriorating Palestinian economy and improve living conditions for Palestinians. Participants encouraged various economic initiatives aimed at granting preferential treatment to Palestinian products, as well as transfer of technology, assistance in the fields of health, housing and education.

12. Participants called on the civil society organizations to create a fund in their respective countries that would provide assistance to specific projects in the social field to help the Palestinian people in this critical phase. The NGOs decided that their work for the next years will be focused on humanitarian, social and cultural assistance to the Palestinian people.

13. Participants stressed the importance of the “Bethlehem 2000" project launched by the Palestinian Authority through the Bethlehem 2000 Committee in cooperation with the Bethlehem Municipality. They urged the Governments and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, both for cultural and religious reasons, to participate actively in the millennial celebrations and to assist the Palestinian people in the successful implementation of that project.

14. Participants stressed the importance of dialogue and joint activities by the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Latin America and the Caribbean with the objective of achieving better mutual understanding and promoting support for the peace process, and called for moral and material support by the United Nations.

15. Participants also pointed out that widespread dissemination of impartial and accurate information about the Arab-Israeli conflict, the problem of Palestine refugees, the Palestinian experience of dispossession and the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, is essential in order to heighten awareness and to mobilize public opinion further in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The Division for Palestinian Rights was requested to explore modalities for enhancing electronic communication with NGOs, and to ensure the preparation and issuance of updated and easy-to-read publications and audio-visual materials on the most important aspects of the question of Palestine in the languages of the region.

A public event, which was organized by the Palestinian Federation of Chile, was held on 29 May. It was attended by representatives of the Arab communities in the region as well as representatives of academia and the media. The speakers at this meeting included Mr. Sotirios Zackheos, Mr. José Antonio Viera-Gallo, Senator of Chile; Mr. Airton Soares; Dr. Fernando Lolas, Vice-Rector of the University of Chile; Mr. Hussein Abdelkhaliq, representative of Palestine in Chile; Mr. Dedi Zucker; and Mr. Fathi Arafat.

The report of the Seminar and NGO Symposium will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.


V. SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUES STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE
IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

The following is a press release issued on 15 May 1998 by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan (see SG/SM/6562):

The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed over the outbreak of violence in the occupied territories leading to numerous deaths and injuries among the Palestinian population, including children. This tragic event underscores once more the importance of finding a way of moving the peace process forward without delay. In the meantime, it is essential for the parties to exercise maximum restraint.

The Secretary-General expresses his sympathy and condolences to the bereaved families.


VI. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EXPRESSES DEEP
REGRET OVER VIOLENCE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

The following is a statement on 15 May 1998 by Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (see HR/98/34):

I have learned with deep regret of the incidents which took place yesterday, during which at least eight Palestinians were reported killed and several hundreds injured by Israeli forces during demonstrations in the occupied territories.

I remain profoundly concerned by the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied territories, and call upon the Government of Israel to respect the right of peaceful assembly, to avoid the excessive use of force, and ensure the full compliance of its police, security and military forces with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and with the United Nations Guidelines on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

My thoughts today are with the families of the victims, and, more than ever, with the urgent imperative of peace.


VII. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TAKES UP ITEMS RELATING TO THE QUESTION
OF PALESTINE; ADOPTS FOUR RESOLUTIONS

The Commission on Human Rights held its fifty-fourth session in Geneva from 16 March to 24 April 1998. The Commission considered issues relating to the question of Palestine under items 4 and 7 of the agenda entitled “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine” and “The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation”.

Under item 4, the Commission had before it a note by the Secretary-General listing United Nations reports issued between sessions of the Commission that deal with the living conditions of the population of the Palestinian and other Arab territories under the Israeli occupation (E/CN.4/1998/19) and a report by the Secretary-General on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (E/CN.4/1998/20). The Commission also heard the report by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Hannu Halinen, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/2 A of 19 February 1993. Excerpts from the Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations are given below (see E/CN.4/1998/17):

“...

“66. The overall assessment of the human rights situation in the occupied territories again remains disturbing. Some positive developments can be recognized, particularly regarding work permits and certain other economic measures as well as treatment of medical cases. The main concerns related to the Israeli Government - as described above - stay, however, unchanged. The Palestinian Authority and the Legislative Council have continued their work towards the building of civil society and rule of law. In addition to some concerns mentioned before, further efforts need to be made regarding transparency and accountability, functioning of the judiciary, as well as freedom of the press and opinion.

“67. There are references - however few in number and short in substance - to human rights and the rule of law in the so-called Oslo Agreements. Their implementation, or at least an ongoing follow-up discussion on their contents, is first and foremost in the hands of the parties themselves. This discussion has still to be commenced. There are two reasons for this: firstly, the peace process itself is undergoing severe difficulties and, secondly, the examination and implementation of the human rights clauses in the interim agreements has not even begun. The international community, and particularly the Commission on Human Rights, has the responsibility to consider, in a holistic and action-oriented manner, the human rights situation in the area, with a view to encouraging the parties to engage themselves in a discussion on human rights.

“...

“72. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur, as it stands, is exceptional. It puts Israel in a different position compared to other countries subjected to the scrutiny of a special rapporteur. The mandate prejudges the outcome of the investigation. The consideration of the human rights situation in the area on the basis of the mandate is limited only to Israel’s violations of international law. And the mandate, unlike all the other mandates under the Commission on Human Rights, is not reviewed periodically. The main reason given for the unique mandate is the foreign occupation, which is said to constitute a situation unique in the world.

“73. It has been the consistent view of the Special Rapporteur that the mandate has to be reviewed. The only reason for amending the mandate is the respect for human rights; the Special Rapporteur has to have a sufficiently broad mandate to contribute to achieving that goal. To that effect the Special Rapporteur - as an independent expert -needs to be given equal treatment with other special rapporteurs.

“74. As far as the review of the mandate is concerned, the matter is in the hands of the Commission. An early consideration is to be hoped for. Meanwhile, the Special Rapporteur, the parties concerned and the Commission on Human Rights have to decide what is the best and most effective way to proceed in preventing human rights violations and improving the respect for human rights. There are basically three choices: to continue under the present mandate and follow it strictly; to consider the human rights situation broadly, exploiting all avenues in attempting to improve it; or to quit. In considering each of these alternatives one has to ask the question: What effect would it have on the human rights situation?

“75. The position of the Special Rapporteur is clear: every effort has to be made to increase awareness of all aspects of human rights in order to find, together, solutions to the prevailing problems. If the mandate is imperfect in certain ways, giving up is not the answer. Widening mutual understanding and widening the common ground is the answer.

“76. Full credit is to be given to the Palestinian Authority and people for their openness in discussing the human rights situation and for the cooperation extended to the Special Rapporteur. Some serious human rights concerns exist in the Palestinian society, partly based on the occupation, partly on their own. The Palestinian Authority has never referred to the mandate as a restriction in their discussions concerning the overall human rights situation in the occupied territories. On the contrary, there is a broad willingness on the part of the Authority and the Legislative Council, supported enthusiastically by the non-governmental organizations and the Palestinian people, to discuss human rights problems in a transparent manner and to find concrete ways to manifest their de facto respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Towards that end, all contributions and support by the international community to the Palestinians in orienting their society towards democracy and rule of law are highly appreciated.

“77. The Government of Israel has so far refused to receive the Special Rapporteur for reasons connected with the mandate. Israel is already an established society with a free press and other democratic structures. As such, Israel also should have the courage to look beyond the mandate, to cooperate fully with the international human rights mechanisms and to participate actively in the substantive debate in this respect.

“78. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, as the leading international body on human rights, could certainly improve its methods of work, including its agenda and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. The human rights situation in the Middle East, however, cannot wait for the outcome of the already lengthy deliberations in this context. The human rights situation, furthermore, cannot be held hostage to the political discussions on the ground. The clear and unequivocal mandate of the Commission - which the Special Rapporteur strongly supports - is to conduct an in-depth human rights debate regarding the occupied territories, and on that basis find ways and means to improve the situation. From the debate so far it appears that the emphasis in a large number of contributions has been on the political situation. This limits the scope of the debate and demonstrates an incomplete understanding of the need for human rights to be considered in the broader context. It is therefore indispensable that the significance of human rights and their interrelationship with other topics referred to in the discussion be further clarified.

“79. The consideration of the human rights situation in the occupied territories would also greatly benefit from the discussion of other items on the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights. In the interest of achieving substantive improvement of the human rights situation, it is not conceivable to separate the item from other relevant subsequent items on the agenda. This is, undoubtedly, at the same time a question of principle, one concerning better and more efficient interaction between all items on the agenda, as well as between all parts of the United Nations human rights mechanisms in general. The consideration of the question of the Middle East, which now is as a separate country situation the first substantive item on the agenda, requires urgent attention in this respect ...”

Under item 7, the Commission on Human Rights also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the situation on the occupied Palestinian territories prepared pursuant to a request of the Commission, which stated that no reply from Israel had been received at the time of the preparation of the report (E/CN.4/1998/30).

On 27 March, the Commission adopted four resolutions. The full texts of the resolutions are given below:


1998/1. Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine

The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as by the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Guided also by the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

Taking into consideration the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and the provisions of Additional Protocol I thereto, and the Hague Convention IV of 1907,

Recalling the resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights related to the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to the Occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories,

Recalling also the General Assembly resolutions on Israeli violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967 and noting Assembly resolution ES-10/4 of 13 November 1997 in which the Assembly reiterated its recommendation that the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1 of the Geneva Conventions,

Recalling further the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993 (A/CONF.157/23),

Taking note of the report (E/CN.4/1998/17) of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Hannu Halinen, regarding his mission undertaken in accordance with Commission resolution 1993/2 A of 19 February 1993,

Taking note also of the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories submitted to the General Assembly since 1968, including the latest (A/52/131 and Add.1 and 2),

Noting with great concern the continued Israeli refusal to abide by the resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights calling upon Israel to put an end to the violations of human rights and affirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Gravely concerned at the stagnation of the peace process because of the contempt of the Government of Israel for the principles on which this process was based, and its refusal to carry out its commitments in line with the agreements its signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization,

Recalling all its previous resolutions on the subject, including the latest, resolution 1997/1 of 26 March 1997,

1. Condemns the continued violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in particular the continuation of acts of wounding and killing such as that which took place on 10 March 1998 when Israeli occupation soldiers shot dead three Palestinian workers and wounded nine others, one of them seriously, and the subsequent opening of fire on Palestinian civilians after the incidents of the following days, in addition to the detention of thousands of Palestinians without trial, the continuation of the confiscation of Palestinian lands, the extension and the establishment of Israeli settlements thereon, the confiscation of Palestinians' property and expropriation of their land, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of fruit trees, and calls upon Israel to cease these acts immediately since these practices constitute a major obstacle in the way of peace;

2. Also condemns the opening of a tunnel under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the continuation of the building of an Israeli settlement on Jabal Abu Ghneim in Occupied East Jerusalem in addition to other settlements in the West Bank, the expropriation of Palestinian homes in the Al-Amoud district in Jerusalem, the revocation of identity cards of the citizens of the Palestinian City of Jerusalem and forcing them to live outside their home with the aim of the Judaization of Jerusalem, and calls upon the Government of Israel to close the tunnel and to put an end immediately to these practices;

3. Further condemns the use of torture against Palestinians during interrogation, which the Israeli High Court of Justice has legitimized, and calls upon the Government of Israel to refrain immediately from the current interrogation practices and to work on abolishing the above-mentioned legitimization;

4. Reaffirms that all the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and should be dismantled in order to achieve a just, permanent and comprehensive peace in the region of the Middle East;

5. Also reaffirm that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, is applicable to the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and considers any change in the geographical and demographic status of the City of East Jerusalem from its situation prior to the June 1967 war to be illegal and void;

6. Further reaffirms the great importance of the convening of a conference by the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, in accordance with General Assembly resolution ES-10/4;

7. Calls upon Israel to cease immediately its policy of enforcing collective punishments, such as demolition of houses and closure of the Palestinian territory, measures which constitute flagrant violation of international law and international humanitarian law, endanger the lives of the Palestinians and also constitute a major obstacle in the way of peace;

8. Calls once more upon Israel, the occupying Power, to desist from all forms of violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories, and to respect the bases of international law, the principles of international humanitarian law, its international commitments and the agreements it signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization;

9. Also calls upon Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories occupied since 1967, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Commission on Human Rights;

10. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of the Government of Israel and all other Governments, the competent United Nations organs, the specialized agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations, to disseminate it on the widest possible scale, and to report on its implementation by the Government of Israel to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth session;

11. Also requests the Secretary-General to provide the Commission on Human Rights with all United Nations reports issued between sessions of the Commission that deal with the conditions in which the citizens of the Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories are living under the Israeli occupation;

12. Decides to consider the question at its fifty-fifth session, as a matter of high priority.


20th meeting
27 March 1998
Adopted by a roll-call vote of 31 votes to 1,
with 20 abstentions.



1998/2. Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan

The Commission on Human Rights,

Deeply concerned at the suffering of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan due to the violation of their fundamental and human rights since the Israeli military occupation of 1967,

Recalling Security Council resolution 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling also all relevant General Assembly resolutions, including the latest, resolution 52/68 of 10 December 1997, in which the Assembly, inter alia, called upon Israel to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981), to put an end to its practices violating the rights of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to put an end to its occupation of the occupied Syrian Golan,

Reaffirming once more the illegality of Israel's decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan, which has resulted in the effective annexation of that territory,

Reaffirming the principle of non-acquisition of territory by force in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law,

Taking note with deep concern of the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/52/131/Add.2) and, in this connection, deploring the Israeli settlement in the occupied Arab territories and regretting Israeli's constant refusal to cooperate with and to receive the Special Committee,

Guided by the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and the relevant provisions of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, on the occupied Syrian Golan,

Reaffirming the importance of the peace process which started in Madrid on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) and the principle of land for peace, which aims at the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East,

Expressing its concern about the stoppage of the peace process on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks, and hoping that commitments and guarantees reached during the previous talks will be respected in order that the talks may resume as soon as possible on both tracks,

Reaffirming its previous relevant resolutions, the most recent being resolution 1997/2 of 26 March 1997,

1. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council, particularly resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council, inter alia, decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel should rescind forthwith its decision;

2. Also calls upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and emphasizes that the displaced persons of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their properties;

3. Further calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to desist from its repressive measures against them, and from all other practices mentioned in the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories;

4. Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the occupying Power, that purport to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan are null and void, constitute a flagrant violation of international law and of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and have no legal effect;

5. Calls once again upon Member States not to recognize any of the legislative or administrative measures and actions referred to in the present resolution;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Governments, the competent United Nations organs, the specialized agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations and to give it the widest possible publicity, and to report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fifth session;

7. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fifth session, as a matter of high priority, the item entitled "Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine".


20th meeting
27 March 1998
Adopted by a roll-call vote of 33 votes to 1,
with 19 abstentions



1998/3. Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories

The Commission on Human Rights,

Reaffirming that all member States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms as stated in the Charter of the United Nations and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,

Mindful that Israel is a party to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to Palestinian and all Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling its previous resolutions, most recently resolution 1997/3 of 26 March 1997, in which, inter alia, it reaffirmed the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories,

1. Welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (E/CN.4/1998/17);

2. Expresses its grave concern:

(a) At the Israeli settlement activities, including the expansion of the settlements, the installation of settlers in the occupied territories, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation of property, the expulsion of local residents and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, since they are illegal, constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and are a major obstacle to peace;

(b) At and strongly condemns all acts of terrorism, whilst calling upon all parties not to allow any acts of terrorism to affect the ongoing peace process negatively;

3. Calls upon the Government of Israel:

(a) To comply fully with the previous Commission resolutions on the subject, most recently resolution 1997/3 of 26 March 1997;

(b) To match its stated commitment to the peace process with concrete actions to fulfil its obligations and cease completely its policy of expanding the settlements and related activities in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem;

(c) To forgo and prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories.

20th meeting
27 March 1998
Adopted by a vote of 51 votes to 1


1998/4. Situation in occupied Palestine

The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the provisions of Articles 1 and 55 thereof, which affirm the right of peoples to self-determination, and scrupulous respect of the principle of refraining in international relations from the threat or use of force, as specified in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Guided also by the provisions of article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which affirm that all peoples have the right to self-determination,

Taking into consideration the provisions of the Declarations on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960,

Guided by the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993 (A/CONF.157/23), and in particular Part I, paragraphs 2 and 3, relating to the right to self-determination of all peoples and especially those subject to foreign occupation,

Recalling Security Council resolutions 183 (1963) of 11 December 1963 and 218 (1965) of 23 November 1965, which affirmed the interpretation of the principle of self-determination as laid down in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV),

Recalling also General Assembly resolutions 181 A and B (II) of 29 November 1947 and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, as well as all other resolutions which confirm and define the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, particularly their right to self-determination without external interference and to the establishment of their independent State on their national soil, especially Assembly resolutions ES-7/2 of 29 July 1980 and 37/86 E of 20 December 1982,

Reaffirming its previous resolutions in this regard, including the latest, resolution 1997/4 of 26 March 1997,

Bearing in mind the continued reports and recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People submitted to the Security Council and the General Assembly,

Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the relevant United Nations resolutions and declarations, and the provisions of international covenants and instruments relating to the right to self-determination as an international principle and as a right of all peoples in the world, as it is a jus cogens in international law,

Recalling that the foreign occupation by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State constitutes an obstacle to and a grave violation of human rights according to Part I, paragraph 30, of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and an act of aggression and a crime against the peace and security of mankind according to General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974,

Affirming that the peace process, which aims to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, aims at the same time to enable the Palestinian people to achieve their national rights and, principally, their right to self-determination free of external intervention as a basic condition for establishing the long-sought peace,

1. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination without external interference;

2. Calls upon Israel to comply with its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, and to withdraw from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories which it has occupied since 1967 by military force, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, so as to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their universally recognized right to self-determination;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit the present resolution to the Government of Israel and all other Governments, to distribute it on the widest possible scale and to make available to the Commission on Human Rights, prior to the convening of its fifty-fifth session, all information pertaining to the implementation of the present resolution by the Government of Israel;

4. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fifth session the item entitled "The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation" and to consider the situation in occupied Palestine under that item, as a matter of high priority.

20th meeting
27 March 1998
Adopted by a roll-call vote of 34 votes to 1,
with 18 abstentions.


VIII. COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE REVIEWS REPORT
BY ISRAEL; ISSUES CONCLUSIONS

The Committee against Torture held its twentieth session in Geneva from 4 to 22 May 1998. The Committee reviewed the second periodic report submitted by Israel (CAT/C/33/Add.3) and issued conclusions and recommendations relating also to the treatment of Palestinians from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 held in Israeli prisons. The following are excerpts from a DPI press release issued on 22 May 1998 (see HR/CAT/98/27):

In the course of its work, the Committee ... urged, as last year, that Israel end practices and interrogation methods applied to terrorism suspects such as violent shaking, handcuffing in uncomfortable positions, hooding for long periods, and sleep deprivation. ...

Among positive aspects to the report of Israel, the Committee said the Government had embarked upon a number of reforms, such as the creation of the Office of Public Defender; creation of the Kremnitzer Committee to recommend oversight of

police violence, and ministerial review of several security-service interrogation practices.

The Committee expressed concern, among other things, over the continued use of the “Landau rules” of interrogation permitting physical pressure, based as they were upon domestic judicial adoption of the justification of necessity, a justification not allowed by the Convention; the resort to administrative detention in the Occupied Territories for inordinately lengthy periods; the lack of application of several domestic reforms to the Occupied Territories; and the apparent failure of Israel to implement any of the recommendations of the Committee in response to Israel's first periodic report and special report. The Committee recommended, as previously, that hooding, shackling in painful positions, sleep deprivation and shaking of detainees be ceased immediately, asserting that they were in conflict with articles 1, 2, and 16 of the Convention; that Israel should consider withdrawing its reservations to article 20 and declaring in favour of articles 21 and 22; that interrogation procedures pursuant to the “Landau rules” should in any event be published in full, and that the practice of administrative detention in the Occupied Territories should be reviewed in order to ensure conformity with article 16 of the Convention.


IX. UNESCO GRANTS SPECIAL MENTION TO HEBRON MAYOR IN
AWARD CEREMONIES; PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI
LEADERS SUPPORT UNESCO PROJECT

On 31 March 1998, UNESCO’s Cities for Peace Prizes and Special Mentions were awarded to eight mayors from all regions of the world by UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor at the Town Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Mayor said the awards “honoured the struggle against urban violence, poverty and exclusion and celebrated mayors working for the security and dignity for all citizens, especially the most underprivileged”. The Mayor of Hebron, in the Autonomous Palestinian Territories, Mustafa Abdel Nabi Natsche, was given a Special Mention for “his extraordinary contribution to hope, solidarity and the creation of a culture of peace in everyday life” (see UNESCO press release no. 98-62).

The following is the text of a press release issued on 14 April 1998 (no. 98-71):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority, have written to UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor expressing their support for the Organization’s Granada II initiative to promote Israeli-Palestinian understanding and nurture a culture of peace in the Middle East through joint projects in education, science, culture and communication.

“People to people programmes [are] an essential part of the peace process,” Mr Netanyahu writes in his letter, explaining “we believe that this framework, and especially the Granada II initiative, needs to proceed irrespective of any political difficulties.” He also says that “only by influencing the minds of men, by making the culture of peace a reality in the Middle East, can there be a firm foundation for political and diplomatic agreements”.

In his letter, Mr Arafat writes: “I wish to convey my deep gratitude for all your work to prepare the signing of this agreement [Granada II, signed in Ramallah on February 26] initiated by UNESCO, thus demonstrating its will and perseverance to contribute to the culture of peace in the Middle East [...] and for all the initiatives and activities undertaken to this end and in all of UNESCO’s fields of competence.”

Both statesmen express their support for Granada II - launched by Mr. Mayor as a follow-up to the meeting of Israeli and Palestinian artists and intellectuals organized by UNESCO in Granada, Spain, in 1993 - which aims to give a fresh impetus to peace-building in the Middle East by providing a framework for cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level.

UNESCO is presently working to implement approximately a dozen projects within the framework of the agreement signed by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities in February.


X. PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN UNION ISSUES STATEMENT
ON THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

A letter dated 11 May 1998 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Secretary-General transmitted the text of a statement issued by the Presidency of the European Union on 7 May 1998 on the Middle East peace process. The text of the statement is reproduced below (see A/52/901):

The European Union welcomes the efforts of the United States of America in the London talks, and supports the proposals it has put forward. It also welcomes President Yasser Arafat’s acceptance of these proposals. It regrets that it was not possible to reach final agreement on the proposals in London, and encourages the Government of Israel to respond positively to them in order to restore
momentum in the peace process and facilitate the resumption of final status talks.

The European Union offered its assistance to the parties in facilitating the discussions in London, and will continue to do all it can to help carry the process forward, in support of the United States efforts.



XI. EXCERPT FROM THE FINAL COMMUNIQUE ADOPTED BY THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE
OF FOREIGN MINISTERS AT ITS TWENTY-FIFTH SESSION, HELD IN DOHA
FROM 15 TO 17 MARCH 1998

The twenty-fifth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held at Doha from 15 to 17 March 1998. An excerpt on the question of Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem), Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict contained in the final communiqué of the meeting is reproduced below (see A/53/95-S/1998/311):

Question of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict:

27. The Conference called on the Member States to organize symposia, activities and festivals on 15 May to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Palestinian tragedy by sensitizing Islamic peoples and world public opinion to, and increasing awareness of the calamities and displacement suffered by the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation, oppression and terrorism.

28. The Conference stressed that the question of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif is the foremost Islamic cause. It expressed its full solidarity with the Palestine Liberation Organization in its just struggle to achieve the legitimate inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, to return to their homeland and to establish their independent State in their national territories, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. It called on member States to undertake action within the international community to bring Israel to put an end to its occupation of, and withdraw its troops from, all Arab and Palestinian territories, and first of foremost Al-Quds Al-Sharif, in order to enable the Palestinian people to achieve and freely exercise all their rights and in order that peace and stability may prevail in the whole region.

29. The Conference stressed that Al-Quds Al-Sharif is an integral part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and that what applies to the rest of Palestinian territories applies to it, in accordance with relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly. The Conference called for action to put an end to the practices of the Israeli occupation authorities in Al-Quds Al-Sharif aimed at modifying the geographical and demographic situation and desecrating the holy Islamic and Christian places there with a view to Judaizing the Holy City. It stressed the need to exert maximum effort in order to restore the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif to Palestinian sovereignty, as capital of the State of Palestine, for ensuring peace and security in the region.

30. The Conference also called on the international community to avoid any relations with Israeli occupation authorities which might be interpreted by the latter, in any way, as an implicit recognition of the fait accompli imposed by Israel when it declared the City of Al-Quds its capital. It stressed that all legal, administrative, and settlement measures and procedures aimed at modifying the legal status of the Holy city are null and void and contravene international treaties, charters and norms and are contrary to the agreements signed by the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Conference called on the international community, especially the two co-sponsors of the Peace Conference, to prompt Israel not to make any geographical or demographic transformation in the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif during the transitional period, to refrain from any action that might affect the outcome of the negotiations on the final status of the City, and to abide by the relevant international resolutions, especially those issued by the tenth extraordinary session of the General Assembly on the halting of the Jewish settlement of Jebel Abu Ghneim end of all other settlements end to induce Israel also to lift the blockade on the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif to safeguard freedom of worship in it, and to cease destroying houses. withdrawing the identity cards of the Palestinian citizens and emptying the City of its Arab citizens.

31. The Conference affirmed its full support of the peace process in the Middle East and its commitment to its foundations. The Conference called for Israel to respect and implement its commitments, pledges and agreements concluded through this process and in accordance with the principles based on Madrid Conference pursuant to United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), and the land-for-peace formula. All these instruments provide for Israel's withdrawal from all occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the occupied Syrian Golan up to the front line of 4 June 1967, the occupied Southern Lebanon and the Western Bekaa and for the realization of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people. It rejected Israel's attempts at bypassing the requirements of the transitional period and jump directly to negotiations on the final status. It called for the faithful implementation of all the remaining articles in the agreements on the transitional period concluded between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to end Israeli occupation and build Palestinian national institutions on the soil of Palestine.

32. The Conference underlined that Israel's violation of the principles and foundations of the peace process, reneging on the commitments, pledges and agreements concluded within that framework, and procrastination and evasion at the implementation level, have seriously undermined the peace process. The Conference held Israel wholly responsible for this state of affairs.

33. The Conference called on the Islamic States which had taken steps toward establishing relations with Israel within the framework of the peace process, to reconsider such relations by closing missions and bureaux until Israel completes its withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories and guaranties the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish their own independent State on their national territory, Palestine, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

34. The Conference urged the international community, particularly the co-sponsors of the peace process, to pressure Israel to comply with the resolutions of international legality and to end its settlement policy. It called on the Security Council to revive the International Committee for supervising and monitoring the ban on settlements in Al-Quds and the other occupied Palestinian and Arab territories. It also urged the international community and all States providing economic and financial assistance to Israel to stop such assistance which Israel uses to carry out its colonization scheme in the occupied Arab territories, in the occupied Palestine and the occupied Syrian Golan.

35. The Conference called for action by the United Nations and other international organizations to force Israel to release the detainees, return the deportees and put an end to the collective punishments, as well as to the operations of confiscation of land and properties and demolition of houses, and to desist from any acts endangering life and environment in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif. It emphasized the need to convene the meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and to take the necessary enforcement measures for implementing this Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif.

36. The Conference requested the international community and the United Nations Security Council to force Israel to comply with United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and implement the resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

37. The Conference commended the efforts made by the Al-Quds Committee under the Chairmanship of His Majesty Hassan II, King of Morocco, and expressed satisfaction at the entry into operation of Bait-ul-Mal Al-Quds.

38. The Conference commended the resistance of the Syrian Arab citizens of the Golan against occupation and strongly condemned Israel for not complying with Security Council resolution 497 (1981). It stressed that Israel's decision to impose its laws, its sovereignty and its administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is illegal, null and void and without legal effect whatsoever. It condemned Israel for continuing to alter the legal and demographic status and the institutional structure of the occupied Syrian Golan. It reaffirmed the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to the occupied Syrian Golan and called for Israel's total withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the lines of 4 June 1967.

39. The Conference strongly condemned Israel for its continuing occupation of parts of Southern Lebanon and the Western Bekaa and urged the international community to ensure the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978) stipulating Israel’s immediate and unconditional withdrawal from all occupied Lebanese territories to the internationally recognized borders. It called on the international community to take all measures to compel Israel to immediately free all the prisoners and the Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons and in the camps controlled by the forces allied to Israel and to endeavour to put an end to Israel’s aggression and inhuman practices against the defenceless inhabitants in the Lebanese territories. It reiterated its support to the efforts of the State of Lebanon to establish its sovereignty on its entire territory including the area occupied by Israel in Southern Lebanon and the Western Bekaa.


XII. EXCERPTS FROM THE COMMUNIQUE ADOPTED AT THE MINISTERIAL
MEETING OF THE COORDINATING BUREAU OF THE MOVEMENT OF
NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES HELD IN CARTAGENA ON 19 AND 20 MAY 1998

The following are excerpts from the communiqué adopted at the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (CB/MM-doc4 Rev.4):

Middle East
Palestine

154. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation reiterated their traditional long-standing solidarity with the Palestinian people, and noted that these days mark the fiftieth anniversary of the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the uprooting of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from their land, homes and properties. They called for the implementation of all United Nations resolutions on the question of Palestine including, those related to Palestinian refugees. They reiterated their support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to retain their homeland and to have their own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital, and they reiterated their demand for the withdrawal of Israel, the occupying Power, from all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories occupied since 1967.

155. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation reaffirmed their position on occupied East Jerusalem, the illegal Israeli settlements and the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. They demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, implement relevant Security Council resolutions in this regard and abide by its legal obligations. They reiterated their support for the recommendations contained in the resolutions adopted during the tenth emergency special session (ES-10/2, ES-10/3, ES-10/4 and ES-10/5) including, inter alia, the recommendation to convene a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure its respect in fulfilment of their collective responsibility as stipulated in common article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

156. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation expressed support for the draft resolution submitted by the Arab Group and other States to the fifty-second session of the United Nations General Assembly to enable the full participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations and all its subsidiary organs. They reiterated that the Israeli participation in the work of the General Assembly must be in conformity with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

157. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation expressed their deep concern over the current deadlock of the Palestinian-Israeli track of the Middle East peace process as a result of the policies and actions of the Israeli Government, in violation of the existing agreements, including settlement activities, repressive measures and economic suffocation of the Palestinian people. In this regard, they condemned in particular the recent killing and wounding by the Israeli army of scores of Palestinian civilians. They called for increasing efforts to ensure compliance by Israel with the existing agreements and their timely implementation.

...

161. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation reaffirmed the need to achieve comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. They affirmed their determination to strive actively toward the attainment of this objective. They reiterated their support for the Middle East peace process based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) and the principle of land for peace. They further reiterated the need for compliance with and implementation of the agreements reached between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, as well as the fulfilment of the commitments and pledges made in accordance with the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the subsequent negotiations. They expressed grave concern over the current plight of the process, the deadlock of the Palestinian-Israeli track and the total cessation of the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks. They deplored the attempts of the Israeli Government to change the terms of reference of the peace process, to create facts on the ground which are obstacles to peace and to try to develop unacceptable concepts which are contrary to the principle of land for peace and the national rights of the Palestinian people.

162. In view of the urgency and seriousness of the situation, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation request countries of the Non-Aligned Movement to increase pressure and use all available measures at the regional and international levels to ensure Israel’s compliance with the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the land-for-peace principles and its full implementation of all agreements, undertakings and commitments reached by the concerned parties on all tracks during the peace talks. The Ministers also affirmed that failure by the Israeli Government to respond positively would require members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries to take further appropriate measures.


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