|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
UN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN SUPPORT
OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE IN BRUSSELS, 30-31 aUGUST
NEW YORK, 28 August (Department of Political Affairs) -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace at the European Parliament premises in Brussels on 30 and 31 August 2007. Its theme is “Civil society and parliamentarians working together for peace in the Middle East”.
The Conference will provide a timely opportunity to discuss the situation on the ground, with particular attention given to the role of elected representatives in advancing the cause of Middle East peace in concert with civil society. It will build on the results of the previous international conferences, giving civil society representatives and other participants from all regions of the world, and especially from Europe, an opportunity to highlight their work and coordinate their response to the recent developments. It is envisaged that a plan of action will be adopted by civil society participants at the close of the Conference.
The opening session will be held on Thursday, 30 August, at 10:00 a.m. in Conference Room PHS 03C050. Statements are expected to be made by Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations; Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Leila Shahid, General Delegate of Palestine to Belgium and the European Union and Representative of Palestine; and Pierre Galand, Chairman of the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) and Representative of the International Coordinating Network for Palestine (ICNP). The opening session will be followed by a plenary session during which experts will make presentations followed by a discussion period. In two rounds of workshops, non-governmental organization representatives will discuss civil society actions, plans and concerns. The proceedings and conclusions of the workshops will be summarized in the second plenary session. The official languages of the Conference will be English and French. Documentation will be available, to the extent possible, in these languages.
Plenary session I, “The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and civil society response” will begin in the morning of Thursday, 30 August 2007, at 11.15 a.m. in Conference Room PHS 03C050. The session will assess the impact of the occupation on the situation on the ground, and discuss humanitarian emergency and action by the international community, as well as action by civil society organizations working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Speakers will include: Waseem Khazmo, Communications Advisor at the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization; Danny Rubinstein, Editorial Board Member of Ha’aretz; Clare Short, Member of the British Parliament for Birmingham (Ladywood Party); Nadia Hilou, Member of Knesset (Labour – Meimad); Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and Raymond Dolphin, Consultant on access issues for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The first round of workshops will take place in Conference Rooms PHS 03C050, ASP 03G002 and ASP 03C003 from 3.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Workshop I (Conference Room ASP 03G002) will reflect on action taken by civil society in connection with the fortieth anniversary of the occupation and consider how to build on it and to move forward. The workshop will also look into ways to connect civil action related to Israeli-Palestinian conflict with worldwide peace and social movements. Resource persons will include: Jamal Juma, Coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign; Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Coordinator at the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; Doris Musalem, Professor at the University Autonoma Metropolitana of Mexico; Na’eem Jeenah, Spokesperson for the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa and President of the Muslim Youth Movement; and Betty Hunter, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London.
Workshop II (Conference Room PHS 03C050) will discuss the role of parliaments and parliamentarians, mainstream parties and movements, elected local officials and trade unionists in promoting just and lasting peace in the Middle East and ways to engage them in civil action movement towards that end. Resource persons will include: Pierre Galand, Chairman of the ECCP; Jordi Pedret, Member of the Spanish Parliament; Nadia Hilou, Member of Knesset (Labour – Meimad); Bassam Al-Salhi, General Secretary of the Palestinian People’s Party and PLC Member; Carlos Carnero González, Member of the European Parliament, and Christopher Doyle, Director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding.
Workshop III (Conference Room ASP 03G003) will be dedicated to campaigns to uphold international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the construction of the wall. Resource persons will include: Andreas van Agt, Professor and former Prime Minister of The Netherlands; Abdullah Abdullah, PLC Member; Sayyeda Salam, Coordinator of One Voice Movement in London; and Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip (PCHR).
The second round of workshops will take place on Friday, 31 August, from 10.00 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
Workshop IV (Conference Room ASP 03G003) will consider European contribution to international peace efforts and ways to enhance it, including in connection with the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008. Resource persons will include: Richard Kuper, Spokesperson for European Jews for a Just Peace; Abdelaziz Aboughosh, Ambassador of Palestine to Malaysia; and Eoin Murray, Coordinator at Trócaire (CARITAS).
Workshop V (Conference Room PHS 03C050) will discuss ways to strengthen campaigns to end the occupation, in particular grassroots campaigns against the wall, rallying around Bil’in, and campaigns to realize the inalienable rights ofthe Palestinian people, including the right of return. Resource persons will include: Phyllis Bennis, ICNP Co-Chair and Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies; Mohammed Khatib, Principal organizer of the village of Bil'in; Arlene Clemesha, Professor of Arab Culture at the University of São Paulo and Director of International Relations at the Institute for Arab Culture; Victor Makari, Coordinator at the Office for the Middle East and Asia Minor of the Presbyterian Church (USA); Muhammad Jaradat, Coordinator at the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; and Tobias Schnebli, Member of Collectif Urgence Palestine.
Workshop VI (Conference Room ASP 03G002) will be dedicated to empowering women and women’s organizations with a view for them to play a decisive role in promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Resource persons will include: Luisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Wafa’ Abdel Rahman, Founder and Director of the Filastiniyat Organization and Member of the International Women’s Commission for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian Peace; Sari Bashi, Director of Gisha – Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement; Ivonne Mansbach, Member of Machsom Watch; and Ghada Zughayar, Assistant to the General Director for External Relations at the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees.
Plenary II (Conference Room PHS 03C050), “Civil society support for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, will hear reports from the workshops and discuss the role and strategies of the ICNP. The plan of action will be discussed and adopted. Speakers will include: Mustafa Barghouti, President of the Palestinian National Initiative and PLC Member; Raji Sourani, PCHR Director; Jennifer Loewenstein, Board Member of the Israeli Committee against Home Demolitions and Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Michael Warschawski, Founder and Director of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem.
The closing session of the Conference will take place on Friday, 31 August 2007, at 5.30 p.m. in Conference Room PHS 03C050. Statements are expected to be made by Na'eem Jeenah, ICNP Co Chair; Luisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations and Representative of Palestine, and Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The report of the Conference will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.
Invitations to participate in the Conference have been sent to civil society organizations on the mailing list of the Division for Palestinian Rights. Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies, as well as media, have been invited to attend as observers. To date, more than one hundred non-governmental organizations registered with the secretariat, as did 35 governments. Members of the European Parliament are expected to participate in all sessions.
Registered participants are requested to obtain badges from the Secretariat at the registration desk set up at the main entrance to the European Parliament’s Paul Henri Spaak building, rue Wiertz/Wiertzstraat, 60. The Secretariat can be reached at tel. (02) 283-1703 or 283-1732, fax (02) 283-1607, and email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.