COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 130th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 25 April 1986, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Adoption of the agenda
Report of the Working Group
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.
Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.
The meeting was called to order at 3.30 p.m.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
1. The agenda was adopted.
REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP
2. Ms. KUNADI (India), Vice-Chairman of the Working Group, informed the Committee that the Working Group, at its 4th and 5th meetings, held on 4 and 23 April 1986, had continued considering the organizational arrangements for the various seminars and symposia scheduled for 1986. It had also reviewed the proposals contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the financial crisis of the United Nations as they affected the Committee's programme of work. In his report (A/40/1102), the Secretary-General proposed a reduction from six to four in the number of meetings scheduled for 1986, as well as the discontinuance of summary records for the Committee and verbatim records covering the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Secretary-General hoped that those proposals would be seen as a package, the purpose of which was to provide immediately needed short-term relief. The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary
Questions, for its part, had made the same recommendation.
3. The members of the Working Group, while expressing a desire to respond
favourably to the Secretary-General's appeal, had also stressed that economy
measures should not be detrimental to the Committee's future programme of work or to its goals, which remained of primary importance to the international community. The Committee had already taken a number of cost-cutting measures and had undertaken a detailed cost-benefit analysis of its work. The Working Group had therefore concluded that the best solution would be to combine certain events and defer those for which preparations had not yet begun.
4. With those considerations in mind, the Working Group recommended that the
Committee should postpone until 1987 the Latin American NGO Symposium, and hold at Vienna, from 30 June to 1 July and from 2 to 4 July respectively, the European NGO Symposium and the International NGO Meeting. The two events, which would maintain their separate identities, would be held one after the other, in accordance with the wishes of the non-governmental organizations. As to the arrangements for the two events, the Working Group recommended that there should be 10 panellists for the International Meeting and 6 for the European Symposium. The Secretariat had been asked to review the relevant working papers (WP.3/Rev.2 and WP.4/Rev.1) in the light of the new dates proposed.
5. The majority opinion was that the Committee should continue to receive summary records of its regular meetings, since they were an essential tool in maintaining a historical account of the consideration of the question of Palestine at the United Nations. On the other hand, verbatim records for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People could be dispensed with, since a full account of the proceedings was contained in the special bulletin issued by the Division for Palestinian Rights on the observance of the Day. Efforts should be made, however, to issue the bulletin sooner.
6. With respect to arrangements for the other activities scheduled for 1986, the Working Group recommended that the North American Seminar should have the same agenda as in 1985, that panellists invited to the Symposium might also be panellists at the Seminar, and that Seminar panellists should be observers at the Symposium (WP.6). The non-governmental organizations invited to the Symposium should be allowed to attend the Seminar as observers. The Working Group also recommended that the Committee should approve the names of the three new panellists contained in the working paper on the North American NGO Symposium (WP.2/Rev.1), and that the reference to the West Bank under Panel 1 should be amended to include Gaza as well.
7. The Working Group had also considered the list of new non-governmental
organizations which wished to co-operate with the Committee (WP.5/Rev.1). It
believed that if those organizations subscribed to the criteria established by the Committee at the time of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, they should be approved. The information supplied by them showed that they did in fact accept the criteria.
8. The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that he had met with the Secretary-General, who had conveyed his deep concern at the financial crisis of the United Nations. The Secretary-General had requested the Committee's co-operation so that the measures proposed, which affected all the organs of the United Nations, might meet with a favourable response.
9. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the
Secretary-General had apparently been ill-advised in so far as his proposed changes affected two issues, Namibia and Palestine, which had been before the United Nations since its establishment. The question was whether those proposals were inspired by political rather than financial considerations.
10. According to paragraph 7 (I) of annex IV to the Secretary-General's report, the meeting of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories would be deferred to 1987. Had Israel put a temporary end to its practices? Recently, 120 dunums of land had been confiscated in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas of the world, and students at Hebron University had been on hunger strike for several days. Had the Secretary-General been advised to cast a veil of silence over such developments? As to the seminars and symposia on the question of Palestine, reducing their number from six to four was tantamount to reducing the Committee's activities by one third, which would not be a proper reflection of the importance accorded by the international community to the question of Palestine.
11. In finalizing its programme of work in October, the Committee had done its utmost to economize. At the European Seminar held at Istanbul, for example, the Committee had, with the co-operation of participants, saved $50,000 by using only English as a working language. Any further reduction would make the Committee inactive, which was perhaps the political objective sought.
12. Mr. BUSH (German Democratic Republic) said he agreed that the United Nations faced serious financial problems, but believed that they were caused by imperialist forces which, supporting Israel and denying the Palestinian people their inalienable rights, had long been trying to halt the work of the Committee. The latter's mandate was to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people and to seek a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the problem through the concerted efforts of the international community and within the framework of an international peace conference on the Middle East, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C. That was the basic objective of the Committee's many activities. He therefore agreed with the Observer for the PLO that any reduction affecting the Committee's substantive work was unacceptable. As recommended by the Working Group, the International NGO Meeting and the European Symposium could be held one after the other, and the Latin American Symposium could be postponed until 1987; but those measures should not constitute a precedent. Summary records of the Committee's meetings must be maintained, and the document issued on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, far from being discontinued, should include not only messages from heads of State, but also, as proposed by the Ukrainian representative, messages from ministers for foreign affairs.
13. Mr. GLAIEL (Syrian Arab Republic) reaffirmed his country's willingness to
co-operate with the Committee in its work and, in general, to co-operate in solving the Organization's financial crisis. The question was whether there was really a financial crisis. In any event, it would hardly be reasonable to be too hasty in accepting proposals affecting such important and priority issues as the question of Namibia and the question of Palestine, for there was a danger that the United Nations might progressively shelve those issues.
14. With regard to the symposia and meetings, not all the proposed non-governmental organizations and personalities had a well-established reputation in defending the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Certain organizations were described as based in Israel, which was unacceptable. It was important to apply strictly the criteria established at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, held at Geneva in 1983. Organizations or personalities with links to zionism or Israel must not be invited.
15. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had always been concerned over the
financial well-being of the Organization. It was currently requested to contribute to a general effort. It was his view that the Committee should examine how it could respond to that request without compromising its principles. If he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee adopted the recommendation to defer the Latin American NGO Symposium to 1987.
16. It was so decided.
17. The CHAIRMAN said that if he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee adopted the recommendation to hold one after the other the European NGO Symposium and the International NGO Meeting at Vienna from 30 June to 4 July.
18. It was so decided.
19. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) stressed that the
mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the
Palestinian People included the defence of the Palestinian people, who were
struggling for their self-determination, and consequently also included the
question of Israeli practices in the occupied territories. He noted with concern that the Secretary-General, in his report, proposed to defer to 1987 the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories. In view of the seriousness of the situation in the occupied territories, he suggested that the Committee should oppose that recommendation.
20. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the
Secretary-General had only suggested deferring the scheduled Geneva meeting at
which the Special Committee was to consider its report. The Special Committee
itself was willing to accept that.
21. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said the
Secretary-General had not indicated that the meeting would be concerned only with the report in question. He therefore proposed to request clarification from the Secretary-General on that point.
22. The CHAIRMAN said that the matter raised by the Observer for the PLO posed a legal problem. From the legal standpoint, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People could not take a decision on behalf of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, and certainly not before the Special Committee itself had made its own views known on the subject.
23. Mr. DIMITRIJEVIC (Yugoslavia) said that the PLO Observer's position was based on political arguments; he had expressed a legitimate concern and only wanted clarification.
24. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said that if the meeting of the Special Committee was deferred to 1987, it would not be able to produce a report for 1986. The PLO Observer's request was therefore justified. In the light of events in the occupied territories, steps should be taken to ensure that the report on the situation in those territories was issued. The General Assembly had established a list of priorities, which included the question of Palestine. That question had to be taken into account. He therefore hoped that the meeting of the Special Committee would not be deferred. Neither the activities undertaken to defend the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination nor those undertaken for the independence of Namibia should be curtailed.
25. The CHAIRMAN said that since it could not decide for the Special Committee, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People could do no more than give an opinion. He therefore proposed attaching to the Committee's conclusions on the Secretary-General's proposals a letter recalling the cost-cutting measures taken by the Committee and expressing its serious concern about the proposal in paragraph 7 (I) of annex IV to the Secretary-General's report (A/40/1102). If he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee adopted the proposal concerning a letter to the Secretary-General.
26. It was so decided.
27. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the
decision to hold one after the other at Vienna the European NGO Symposium
(30 June-1 July) and the International NGO Meeting (2-4 July) would make it
possible to reduce the total number of participants and workshops, and would
therefore entail programme changes. The meeting scheduled for Monday, 30 June on the International Peace Conference on the Middle East had been cancelled since it would duplicate the Wednesday meeting. If the Committee agreed, the two events would be conducted in English and French only.
28. With regard to the North American Symposium, he suggested that three more
panellists should be invited and that a member of the Committee should participate in the discussions on the International Peace Conference.
29. In response to a question posed in the Working Group, he informed the
Committee that a summary record in six languages of a meeting of two to three hours (approximately 15 pages) would cost $7,120 and a verbatim record (approximately 45 pages) $13,150.
30. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that once they were combined, the Vienna Symposium and International Meeting should be viewed only as a single event. He therefore suggested changing the title of the meeting dealing with the International Conference to read: "Europe and its Responsibilities for the Installation of a Comprehensive, Just and Durable Peace in the Middle East (United Nations Efforts)" (WP.4/Rev.2). The list of invitees in working papers No. 6 and No. 2/Rev.1 seemed acceptable, on condition that a member of the Committee also took part in the discussions.
31. The CHAIRMAN proposed that working papers No. 4/Rev.2 and No. 3/Rev.3 on the European NGO Symposium and on the International NGO Meeting should be adopted, as orally amended.
32. It was so decided.
33. The CHAIRMAN proposed that working papers No. 2/Rev.1 and No. 6 on the North American Symposium and Seminar should be adopted.
34. It was so decided.
35. The CHAIRMAN proposed that working paper No. 5/Rev.1 containing the list of non-governmental organizations which wished to co-operate with the Committee, should be adopted.
36. It was so decided.
37. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) asked whether a
seminar would be held at Nairobi.
38. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee was waiting for an answer from the Kenyan Government.
39. The CHAIRMAN read out, for the information of the Committee, invitations
received for the following: the Fourteenth Council of Afro-Asian People's
Solidarity Organization, to be held in Moscow from 14 to 17 May 1986; two meetings organized by the Special Committee against Apartheid, namely the seminar on the growing military power of South Africa, acts of aggression committed by that country and the arms embargo, to be held in London from 28 to 30 May 1986, and the World Conference on Sanctions against Racist South Africa, to be held in Paris from 16 to 20 June; and finally the International Conference for the Immediate Independence of Namibia, organized by the Council for Namibia, to be held in Vienna from 7 to 11 July 1986.
40. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that, in order to cut costs, the Committee representative who would be in Vienna until 4 July for the International NGO Meeting should also represent the Committee at the International Conference for the Immediate Independence of Namibia, which would begin on 7 July.
The meeting rose at 4.55 p.m.