8 October 2020
Seventy-fifth Session, Organizational Meeting (AM)

Fourth Committee Approves Work Programme for Coronavirus-Affected Seventy-fifth General Assembly Session, as Chair Highlights ‘One-Time’ Anti-pandemic Measure

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved today its work programme for the seventy‑fifth session of the General Assembly, covering the decolonization of the 17 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, peacekeeping operations, the plight of Palestine refugees and Israel’s practices affecting the human rights of Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories, among several agenda items.

Committee Chair Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana) said physical distancing precautions due to the COVID-19 crisis will prevent the Committee from holding a full session in 2020.  All alterations to the standard Committee protocols should be understood as a one-time measure, he added.

According to the work programme (documents A/C.4/75/1 and A/C.4/75/L.1), the Committee will hold a virtual informal meeting on 9 October to hear introductory statements on the effects of atomic radiation and decolonization questions.  At the same meeting, it will take up introductory statements and hold a question-and-answer session on 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.  The Committee will also hear introductory statements and hold an interactive dialogue on special political missions.

On 12 October, the Committee will hold another virtual informal meeting to hear introductory statements and hold interactive dialogues on the peaceful uses of outer space, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), peacekeeping operations and questions relating to information.

Between 14 October and 9 November, the Committee will hold general debates on all the aforementioned agenda items.  It is expected to take action on all proposals and outstanding agenda items on 10 November.

At the outset of today’s meeting Chair Kelapile (Botswana) introduced the rest of the Bureau:  Vice-Chairs Paul Hussar (Romania), José Osvaldo Sanabria Rivarola (Paraguay) and Darren Camilleri (Malta), as well as Jassim Sayar A. J. al-Maawda (Qatar), who will serve as Rapporteur.

Iran’s representative, also speaking on behalf of Cuba, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela, said the host country continues to discriminate and undermine the sovereign rights of States by imposing travel restrictions, violating diplomatic properties and illegally expelling Permanent Representatives to prevent them from voting on Committee matters.  As such, he called upon the Secretary-General to ensure equity among States and appealed to the Committee Chair to follow up on the issue.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Friday, 9 October.

For information media. Not an official record.