|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
328th Meeting (PM)
Palestinian Rights Committee Elects New Chairman, Approves Work Programme
for Upcoming United Nations International Meeting
February Event in Cairo to Consider Plight of Prisoners Held by Israel
Abdou Salam Diallo of Senegal was today elected Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Mr. Diallo’s nomination by Oumar Daou ( Mali) was seconded by Hamidon Ali ( Malaysia) as B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, facilitated the election.
Following his election, the new Chairman thanked Committee members, saying their endorsement was an honour to him, as well as his country. He expressed hope of meeting that expression of confidence, pledging that he would work to ensure that the Committee’s discussions would be as easy as possible. He said the election was an indication of the importance that his country attached to the Palestinian question and of its solidarity with the Palestinian people and leadership, noting that it was also a renewal of their confidence in Senegal.
Mr. Diallo ( Senegal) reiterated the right of the Palestinian people to a State of their own, a road that had seen many difficulties, failures and disappointments. But those disappointments should not end the parties’ determination to pursue dialogue and consultations in order to achieve peace, he stressed, noting that painful concessions and sacrifices had to be made. Calling on the international community, the Security Council and Middle East Quartet to commit themselves to bringing the parties to the negotiating table and helping bring about two States with recognized borders, he said he would “spare no effort” in exploring every possible avenue to reach the objectives assigned by the General Assembly.
Representatives of Cuba, Mali (on behalf of the African Group), Palestine, Egypt and Malaysia welcomed the new Chairman and pledged their full support for him.
In other business, the Committee approved the programme of work for the upcoming United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, to be held in Cairo, Egypt, in February. Under the suggested theme “The urgency of addressing the plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities”, the Meeting would aim to raise awareness of the question and strengthen international support for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would look into current conditions of imprisonment, including the situation of women and minors, discuss the legal aspects of Israel’s arrest and detention of Palestinians, including the occupying Power’s legal claims, responsibilities and use of administrative detentions.
Egypt’s representative said the Meeting would draw special attention to the important issue, recalling that her country had hosted a number of international events under the Committee’s auspices, most recently a 2009 meeting on international assistance to the Palestinian people.
Malaysia’s representative said nearly the entire population of Palestine could be considered to be “in prison” because their land was being occupied while they were deprived of privileges afforded to most human beings. He asked whether the Meeting was meant to be a one-off event, and if so, what its ultimate goal would be.
Responding, the Committee Secretary said the Bureau intended to elevate the focus on Palestinian prisoners at the present crucial stage in the political process between Israel and the Palestinians in order to suggest that the issue become part of the negotiations. Efforts would be made to invite experts in that particular field to the Meeting so they could recommend further action.
A representative of Palestine said the Cairo Meeting was not intended to be a one-time event, pointing out that thousands of political prisoners, including elected officials, were in Israeli jails and detention centres, where they had been subjected to physical and psychological maltreatment and torture. The Meeting was therefore part of an effort to elevate the matter of prisoners to one of the core final-status issues. Enhanced international awareness and dialogue would lead to support for just redress and resolution of the issue, she said, adding that there were plans for other initiatives in follow-up to the Meeting.
* *** *For information media • not an official record