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22nd plenary meeting
Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 10 a.m.
In the absence of the President, Mr. Mavroyiannis (Cyprus), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.
Agenda item 109 (continued)
Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization (A/62/1)
The Acting President: I now give the floor to the observer of Palestine.
Mr. Hijazi (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic ): Allow me at the outset to express our thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his report on the work of the Organization (A/62/1), which comes at a time when countries of the world look to the United Nations for progressive actions in facing challenging conditions, noting that the United Nations is the best universal instrument for collective efforts to face the challenges of our world.
The Palestinian delegation expresses its support for the ambitious plans to reform the Organization and to strengthen constructive cooperation between the General Assembly and the Secretariat in the context of transparency, confidence. We seek a more vital role for the Organization in the field of disarmament and other spheres and note the central role played by the Secretary-General in conducting the Dialogue among Civilizations and the High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace, and his continued efforts to improve the Organization.
The Palestinian people also look to the United Nations to help them end their tragedy and find a comprehensive and lasting solution to their problem, which is as old as the Organization and which is closely related to it. This Organization, as a peace organization, has assumed the major responsible role concerning that question pending its comprehensive solution.
The United Nations plays a major role in dealing with the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. United Nations resolutions are the legal and fundamental references for solving the Palestinian question and for the peace process in the Middle East. The United Nations is also a member of the Quartet, which is seeking to find a just and comprehensive international solution to the Palestinian question.
The United Nations organs and agencies, notably the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), have a basic and important role in supporting and assisting the Palestinian people to overcome their humanitarian plight. The United Nations has adopted many resolutions and decisions that emphasize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the duty to protect them.
There is international consensus on the dangers to international peace and security as a result of the continued absence of a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, especially to the stability of the Middle East region. Continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, which has now lasted more than 40 years, the refugee problem, which has lasted more than 60 years, continued violation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by the occupying Power and the failure of the international community to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, are true, moral and serious challenge to all of the principles and rules on which the Organization was founded.
The issues dealt with in the report include the Millennium Development Goals, climate change, sustainable development, conflict prevention, peace and peacekeeping, human rights, the rule of law and humanitarian affairs, all of which are unavailable in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, because of the foreign occupation and its illegal practices. Yet, the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization does not deal with the question in a suitable manner within the context of the role and responsibilities of the United Nations. In that context, we wish to emphasize the following.
First, the Palestinian question is the most longstanding issue without a solution on the United Nations agenda. The responsibility of the United Nations towards this question is ongoing and, until such time that it is solved in all its aspects, the credibility of this Organization will be jeopardized.
Secondly, the Palestinian question is of special importance as regards human rights issues in the world, as was emphasized by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Mr. John Dugard. The issue of human rights in Palestine has been on the United Nations agenda for 60 years. It is a real test for the United Nations, a test of the Organization’s degree of commitment to protecting human rights in Palestine. If the United Nations and the international community fail to put an end to the violations to which the Palestinian people are subjected, the international movement for human rights — which is considered a major accomplishment of humanity during the past 60 years — faces a grave danger.
Thirdly, in this context, we would like to emphasize the need to strengthen the role of the Organization in maintaining and protecting international law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, relative to the protection of civilians during times of war, which is a basic principle underlying the responsibility to protect.
Fourthly, we emphasize the importance of strengthening the role of the Human Rights Council and respect for and implementation of its resolutions in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/251, which established the Council, and with the Charter.
In conclusion, the delegation of Palestine reiterates its thanks and gratitude to the Secretary-General for his valuable report. We wish to assure him of our support for his efforts to promote human rights, to uphold international law, to bring justice and freedom to all peoples of the world, especially to those who are still under occupation.
The Acting President : We have heard the last speaker on the debate on this agenda item. May I take it that the Assembly takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization contained in document A/62/1?
It was so decided.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.