Ministerial Conference of
the Non-Aligned Movement
Tehran, 27-30 July 2008
1. The Ministers of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries,1 met on 29 and 30 July 2008 in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran to review the progress and implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at the 14th Conference of Heads of States or Governments of the Non-Aligned Movement held 15-16 September 2006 in Havana, Cuba, prepare for the upcoming NAM Summit and address urgent matters. In this regard, they reaffirmed and underscored the Movement’s abiding faith in and strong commitment to its Founding Principles,2 ideals and purposes, particularly in establishing a peaceful and prosperous world, a just and equitable world order as well as to the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
2. The Ministers affirmed the continued relevance and validity of all principled positions and decisions of the Movement as contained in the substantive outcome documents3 of the 14th NAM Summit held in Havana, Cuba, 15-16 September 2006 and the preceding thirteen Summit Conferences of the Movement4, as well as all preceding Ministerial Conferences or Meetings of the Movement. Likewise, they expressed their determination to preserve and act in keeping with the Bandung Principles and the purposes and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement in the present international juncture as agreed in the Declaration on the Purposes and Principles and the Role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Present International Juncture5 adopted in the 14th NAM Summit in Havana.
CHAPTER I: GLOBAL ISSUES
Non-Aligned Movement: Role and Methods of Work
12. The Ministers recalled that the Movement has been playing an key active, effective and central role, over the years, on issues of concern and vital importance to its members, such as decolonisation, apartheid, the situation in the Middle East including the question of Palestine, the maintenance of international peace and security, and disarmament. After almost half of a century of its existence, and having undergone many challenges and vicissitudes, it is timely and appropriate to sustain and further consolidate the process of strengthening and revitalising the Movement and undertake actions that allow the Movement to effectively and efficiently counter address the main challenges facing us today. In the context of existing and new threats and challenges, it is imperative for the Movement to continue to promote multilateralism, especially by strengthening the central role of the UN, defending the interests of developing countries and preventing their marginalisation.
14. In rededicating the Movement to its principles, ideals and purposes, and consistent with the afore-mentioned principled positions, which should be defended, preserved and promoted through greater efforts by the Movement and the existing mechanisms and arrangements of the Movement, the Ministers agreed to undertake the following measures, among others:
14.5 Continue to review and redefine the role of the Movement in the context of current realities and improve its structure and methods of work, including through strengthening existing mechanisms and arrangements8 and, creating new ones, as appropriate, and utilising them to the fullest, convening of regular meetings of such mechanisms and arrangements, generating a more focused and concise documentation, strengthening the role of the Chair as spokesperson of the Movement, working towards establishing a Back-up mechanism to assist the Chair, with the aim to continues promoting a more coordinated, effective and efficient Movement capable of responding in a timely manner to international developments affecting it and its Member Countries;
United Nations: Institutional Reform
I. Review of Mandates of United Nations Programmes and Activities
82. The Ministers reiterated their rejection of efforts by some parties to pursue the integration of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. They maintainedthat the mandates and objectives of the two Agencies differ and that the mere intention to merge them is completely rejected in light of the long-standing and unique situation of the Palestine refugees. The Ministers affirmed that the UNRWA, since its establishment by General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949, has played an essential role in ameliorating the plight of the Palestine refugees and that its continued operation is essential for the well-being of the Palestine refugees throughout the region as well as for the stability of the region as a whole, pending the achievement of a just resolution to the question of the Palestine refugees. In this regard, they further affirmed that the critical issue of the functioning of UNRWA involves not only the provision of vital humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees throughout the host countries but also a complex political dimension. The Ministers thus reaffirmed their strong and continued support for the mandate of UNRWA until the achievement of a just and lasting resolution to the plight of the Palestine refugees in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.
CHAPTER II: REGIONAL AND SUB-REGIONAL POLITICAL ISSUES
163. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Middle East peace process based on Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 425, 1397 and 1515, the Madrid terms of reference and the principle of land for peace. They rejected attempts to alter the terms of reference of the peace process and further rejected the imposition of unilateral measures and schemes by Israel, the occupying Power, aimed at forcibly and illegally imposing a unilateral solution. In this regard, they stressed the need for intensified and coordinated efforts by the international community to support the peace process as well as to ensure respect for international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, the key to a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole.
164. The Ministers stressed the need for the advancement and resumption of substantial negotiations between the parties on all tracks of the peace process for the achievement of a comprehensive, just, lasting and peaceful settlement, based on the relevant U.N. resolutions and in accordance with the rules and principles of international law enshrined therein. In this regard, they reiterated the necessity and urgency of ending the prolonged and unlawful Israeli occupation of all of the Arab territories occupied since 1967. They further reaffirmed their long-standing position in support of the establishment of the independent State of Palestine in all of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem as its capital.
165. The Ministers took note of the international conferences held at Annapolis in November 2007 and at Paris in December 2007 and called for serious follow-up and further intense efforts by the international community for the genuine resumption and advancement of the peace process on all tracks towards attainment of a just and comprehensive peace and regional stability. They specifically stressed in the role and responsibilities undertaken by the members of the Quartet and called upon the Quartet to exert serious efforts and actions to support and promote the negotiations between the parties on final status issues, including serious and sincere implementation of the Road Map for a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They also called upon the Security Council to engage the Quartet, considering the Council’s Charter authority and responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and called on the members of the NAM Caucus of the Council to remain active in this regard.
166. The Ministers also reaffirmed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted by the XIV Arab Summit in Beirut in March 2002, and reaffirmed by the 19th Arab summit in Riyadh in March 2007, and welcomed the XX Arab Summit in Damascus in March 2008, which reaffirmed the commitment by all Arab States to the Arab Peace Initiative and stressed that such commitment is subject to adherence by Israel to its obligations under the terms of reference for achieving peace in the region, and called for intensification of efforts in this regard. They urged the Security Council to act upon the Initiative, and on the basis of its own resolutions, towards achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, particularly in light of the recent deterioration of the situation and the current urgent circumstances in the region.
Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
167. The Ministers reaffirmed their adherence to the positions concerning Palestine adopted by the XIV Summit of Heads of State or Government held in Havana in September 2006, as well as by the XIV Ministerial Conference of NAM, held in Durban in August 2004, and by the NAM at the Ministerial Meeting in Putrajaya in May 2006, which constitute the guidelines for the Non-Aligned Countries on the question of Palestine. In this regard, they further reaffirmed their adherence to the principled positions set forth in the Declaration on Palestine adopted by the Committee on Palestine during the XIV Summit in September 2006 and by the Ministerial Meeting of the NAM Coordinating Bureau in New York in September 2007.
168. The Ministers expressed their deep regret that sixty years have passed since the 1948 Al-Nakba23 that befell the Palestinian people, by which they became a stateless and dispossessed people, displaced and dispersed from their homeland of Palestine, and that more than half of the Palestinian people continue to live in exile in refugee camps throughout the region and in the Diaspora. The Ministers also expressed their deep regret that since 1967, for forty-one years now, the Palestinian people have continuously suffered under the brutal Israeli military occupation of their land and continue to be denied their fundamental human rights, including the right to self-determination and the right of the Palestine refugees to return.
169. The Ministers reiterated their regret at the lack of progress made, despite renewed international efforts and a resumption of the peace process, to address the major issues and follow-up core positions regarding the question of Palestine. They also expressed their grave concern in particular about the serious deterioration of the situation and critical political, economic, social and humanitarian conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as a result of ongoing unlawful policies and practices by Israel, the occupying Power. They condemned the continuing brutal Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip, by which the occupying Power has continued to commit grave human rights violations and reported war crimes, including the killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians, including children, by use of excessive and indiscriminate force and extrajudicial executions, and the vast destruction of properties, infrastructure and agricultural lands. They condemned also Israel’s detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children and numerous elected officials, and called for their immediate release. They reiterated the demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all such violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law.
170. The Ministers also condemned Israel’s continued imposition of collective punishment upon the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They condemned in particular Israel’s inhumane closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the virtual imprisonment of the entire Palestinian civilian population there and the deepening of the economic, social and humanitarian deprivation and crisis due to the occupying Power’s obstruction of access to food, medicines, fuel and electricity, building materials and other basic human necessities as well as the obstruction of movement of humanitarian personnel and sick persons requiring medical treatment outside of Gaza. The Ministers stressed that, in addition to violating countless provisions of human rights law, such collective punishment measures by Israel are tantamount to grave breaches of international humanitarian law, by which it is bound as the occupying Power and with which it must scrupulously comply. They called upon Israel to cease such illegal practices against the Palestinian people and to immediately and permanently end its illegal closure of the Gaza Strip and to allow for the opening of all of the Gaza Strip’s border crossings for the movement of persons and goods into and out of the Territory. In this regard, they reiterated their support for the Palestinian Authority’s proposal to assume responsibility for the operation of the Palestinian side of the Gaza Strip’s border crossings, and called upon the parties to resume the application of internationally-agreed arrangements to ensure their speedy reopening and to ease the isolation and suffering of the civilian population.
171. The Ministers also condemned Israel’s imposition of severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods via closures, hundreds of checkpoints and the Wall and its associated permit regime. They expressed alarm that such unlawful Israeli practices are destroying the Palestinian economy and society, are physically severing the northern, central and southern parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory into separate areas and isolating East Jerusalem, and are gravely undermining the Territory’s contiguity, integrity and unity. In this connection, they reiterated their strong condemnation of Israel’s continuing intensive campaign of settler colonialism, including vast land confiscations and the construction and expansion of illegal settlements, especially in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, as well as its attempts to illegally annex the Jordan Valley. They reaffirmed all relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including those relating to Jerusalem and confirming that it is an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory; demanded their implementation; and considered that all Israeli measures aimed at altering the legal, geographic and demographic character and status of Jerusalem and of the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a whole are null and void. They reiterated the illegality and dangers of such Israeli unilateral measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and reaffirmed that these unlawful measures cannot alter the terms of reference of the peace process nor negate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
172. Further in this connection, the Ministers reiterated their condemnation of Israel’s continuing construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, in flagrant defiance of international law, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004. They expressed their deep concern at the physical, economic and social devastation being caused by the Wall, which is also dissecting the Territory into several walled, and isolated cantons and further isolating Occupied East They warned that, if completed, the Wall, along with Israel’s illegal settlements and its fortification of illegal checkpoints, will destroy the contiguity, integrity and unity of the Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and will thus render the two-State solution physically impossible to achieve. They thus stressed the urgency and necessity of respect for and compliance with obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as with the Advisory Opinion and resolution ES-10/15 by Israel, the occupying power, by Member States and by the UN. They welcomed the establishment of the “United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and called for its expeditious operation and the speedy fulfilment of its mandate.
173. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and emphasized the importance of maintaining and protecting the national and democratic institutions of the Palestinian Authority, including the Palestinian legislative council which shall constitute a vital foundation for the future independent Palestinian State. The Ministers also called for the speedy restoration of the situation in the Gaza Strip to that which existed prior to the events of June 2007 to pave the way for Palestinian dialogue to achieve national reconciliation and unity, and, in this regard, expressed support for the Yemeni Initiative and called for its implementation.
174. The Ministers called for intensification of efforts by the Quartet and the entire international community, in particular the Security Council, to address the current political and humanitarian crisis, in order to ameliorate the situation on the ground and to help advance peace process negotiations between the two sides towards ending the occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, that began in 1967, and thus realising the establishment of the sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine and the promotion of peace and security. They called upon the Security Council to actively engage the, Quartet, considering the Council’s Charter authority for the maintenance of international peace and security. They stressed the continuing importance of the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Road Map and called for its full and honest implementation.
175. The Ministers reaffirmed the necessity of upholding international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter with regard to the question of Palestine under all circumstances. They also reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the UN towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all its aspects on the basis of international law, including a just resolution to the plight of the refugees in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 194 (III). They once more called upon the UN not to reward illegal actions and intransigence and to increase its efforts towards the attainment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement, based on the two-State solution, and the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. In this context, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the right of the Palestinian people to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in their independent State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
176. Consistent with and guided by the afore-mentioned principled positions and affirming the need to defend, preserve and promote these positions, the Ministers agreed to undertake the following measures:
176.1 Continue holding meetings at ministerial level of the NAM Committee on Palestine, within the framework of the Coordinating Bureau Ministerial Meetings that take place at the outset of UNGA ordinary sessions, as well as during any other Ministerial Meetings of the Movement, whenever necessary and in accordance with the developments on this issue.
176.2 Maintain regular contacts and dialogue at ministerial level between NAM Ministerial Delegation on Palestine and the members of the Quartet and the Members of the UN Security Council, with a view to enhancing the role played by NAM in the international efforts seeking a solution to the question of Palestine and lasting peace in the region.
176.3 Continue to actively participate in UN Security Council, including via a revitalized role of the NAM Caucus of the Council, and General Assembly meetings addressing the question of Palestine.
176.4 Convene a parallel forum of civil society in 2008, preferably within UN premises, intended to mobilize international public opinion on this issue and thus make a substantial contribution to attaining a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
CHAPTER III: DEVELOPMENT, SOCIAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms26
318. The Ministers reaffirmed the validity and relevance of the Movement's principled positions concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms, as follows:
318.12 The Ministers underlined their growing concern and dismay at the flagrant disregard for life and the accompanying wanton destruction of property, as recently evidenced in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, including the occupied Syrian Golan and Lebanon. The Ministers welcomed the adoption of Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, whereby it decided to include the “Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” as a permanent agenda item in the Council;
1 The list of NAM Member Countries appears in Annex I.
2 The ten Founding Principles of NAM appears in Annex II.
3 The substantive documents adopted at the 14th NAM Summit in Havana are: the Final Document; Declaration on the Purposes and Principles and the Role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Present International Juncture; the Document on the Methodology of the Non-Aligned Movement; the Declaration on Palestine; the Statement on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Issue and the Plan of Action of the Non-Aligned Movement (2006-2009). All these documents can be downloaded from www.cubanoal.cu.
4 The preceding thirteen NAM Summit Conferences were held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1961; Cairo, United Arab Republic in 1964; Lusaka, Zambia in 1970; Algiers, Algeria in 1973; Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1976; Havana, Cuba in 1979; New Delhi, India in 1983; Harare, Zimbabwe in 1986; Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1989; Jakarta, Indonesia in 1992; Cartagena de Indias, Colombia in 1995, Durban, South Africa in 1998 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2003, and Havana, Cuba in 2006. All the substantive outcome documents of these Summit Conferences can be downloaded from www.cubanoal.cu.
5 The principles enshrined in the Declaration on the Purposes and Principles and the Role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Present International Juncture appear in Annex III.
8 The existing mechanisms and arrangements include the Former Chair Countries and Troika (at the Summit, Ministerial and Ambassadorial levels); the Committee on Palestine (at the Ministerial and Ambassadorial level); the Coordinating Bureau in New York and its subsidiary bodies (Working Groups on Disarmament, Human Rights, Legal Matters, Peacekeeping Operations, Reform of the UN and GA Revitalisation, Reform of the Security Council, Review of Mandates of the UN programmes and activities, and Information); the Chapters in Geneva, The Hague and Vienna and UNESCO; and the Caucuses in the Security Council and in the Peace Building Commission.
23 This is the term commonly used to refer to the catastrophe and tragedy that befell the Palestinian people in 1948, by which they lost their homeland and by which the majority of Palestinians were forcibly uprooted from their homes and displaced, becoming refugees, whose plight continues until this day.
26 This section should be read in conjunction with the section on Democracy under Chapter I of the document.
Document Type: Final document
Document Sources: Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)(See also - Committee on Palestine)
Subject: Fence, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Jerusalem, Palestine question, Peace process, Road Map, Separation barrier, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem, Wall
Publication Date: 30/07/2008