UN uses speeches, photo exhibit and concert to voice solidarity with Palestinians

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Riyad H. Mansour of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine

30 November 2009 – The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed today at United Nations Headquarters in New York with a special commemorative meeting, a new photographic exhibition and a concert by Maqamat, an orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.

Addressing today’s meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that it is vital that a sovereign State of Palestine is achieved, noting that the Palestinian people continue to struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination – a fundamental, universal human right enjoyed by so many others across the world.

“Vigorous international efforts are essential for advancing the political process, ending the occupation and achieving a solution to all permanent status issues,” he stated.

“Now more than ever, politics must be made credible,” he added. “Those who try to undermine moves toward peace through violence or by changing facts on the ground must not be allowed to set the agenda.

Mr. Ban noted that the international community continues to assist and protect the Palestinian people, including through the work of UN agencies, foremost among them the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

General Assembly President Ali Treki said the Day served as a reminder “that the Question of Palestine remains the oldest unresolved issue at the United Nations.”

He noted that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the Gaza Strip, “jolts us to the human cost of this unresolved conflict borne by Palestinian civilians. Their ordeal will continue until the Question of Palestine is resolved and the occupation is brought to an end.”

As part of the commemoration, UNRWA is presenting a new photo exhibit entitled The United Nations and the Palestine Refugees, 60 Years Later, which opens tonight at UN Headquarters. It features historical photos of the life of the first Palestinian refugees and UNRWA’s working during the early years of its establishment, as well as more recent photos of the agency’s work in the five areas of its operations – Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


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