200 EX/PX/DR.26.3
PARIS, 11 October 2016
Original: English

PROGRAMME AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS COMMISSION (PX)

Item 26: IMPLEMENTATION OF 38 C/RESOLUTION 72 AND 199 EX/DECISION 20.2 CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

DRAFT DECISION

Submitted by: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan

I. OCCUPIED PALESTINE

The Executive Board,

1. Recalling 185 EX/Decision 36 and 38 C/Resolution 72 as well as Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with regard to the right to education, Articles 4, 50 and 94 of the Fourth Geneva Convention with regard to the denial of the right of children to education, as well as the Hague Convention (1954) and its related Protocols and the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), also recalling the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on the legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory",

2. Having examined documents 200 EX/26 and 200 EX/25,

3. Committed to the safeguarding of monuments, works of art, manuscripts, books and other historical and cultural properties to be protected in the event of conflict, as well as the safeguarding of schools and all educational facilities,

4. Deplores the damaging impact of the military confrontations on the fields of competence of UNESCO in and around the Gaza Strip where several hundreds of educational and cultural facilities have been destroyed or damaged, affecting more than 500,000 schoolchildren and students as reflected in United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and UNESCO reports, as well as the severe damage inflicted on cultural heritage sites and cultural institutions, and also deplores breaches of the inviolability of UNRWA schools;

5. Reaffirms, in this regard, that schools, universities and cultural heritage sites enjoy special protection and should not be targeted in situations of armed conflict;

6. Expresses its growing concern about the harmful impact of the Wall and of other practices on the activities of educational and cultural institutions, as well as obstacles resulting therefrom which prevent Palestinian schoolchildren and students from being an integral part of their social fabric and from exercising fully their right to education, and calls for the observance of the provisions of relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;

7. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all of its settlement activities, the construction of the Wall and other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which, inter alia, have a negative impact on Palestinian schoolchildren's ability to fully exercise their right to education;

8. Also demands, in this regard, that the Israeli authorities renounce the extension of the Wall through Beit Jala and the Cremisan Monastery in the Bethlehem Governorate;

9. Notes with deep concern the Israeli censorship of the Palestinian curricula of schools and universities in East Jerusalem, and urges the Israeli authorities to immediately halt this censorship;

10. Expresses its appreciation for the substantial contributions of all concerned Member States and intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to UNESCO's action in Palestine, and appeals to them to continue assisting UNESCO in this endeavour;

11. Expresses further appreciation to all donors for their generous contributions for the development of educational infrastructure in Palestine, and in this regard notes the contributions by Belgium and France for the building of schools for Palestinian children such as the school of Tana near Nablus and the two schools of Khan Al-Ahmar and Abu Nuwar near Jerusalem;

12. Deeply regrets the destruction, by the Israeli authorities, of the schools, including the school Abu Nuwar and the school of Tana, and calls on the Israeli authorities to halt plans for further demolition, including the school in Khan Al Ahmar;

13. Thanks the Director-General for the results that have been obtained in relation to the implementation of a number of current educational and cultural activities, and invites her to strengthen UNESCO's assistance to the Palestinian educational and cultural institutions in order to address new needs;

14. Encourages the Director-General to continue to reinforce her action in favour of the protection, reconstruction, rehabilitation and restoration of the Palestinian archaeological sites and cultural heritage, and invites her to address the needs for capacity building in all UNESCO's fields of competence by expanding the financial assistance programme for Palestinian students;

15. Requests the Director-General to organize, as soon as possible, the ninth meeting of the Joint UNESCO-Palestine Committee;

II. OCCUPIED SYRIAN GOLAN

16. Also invites the Director-General:

(a) to continue the efforts she is making to preserve the human, social and cultural fabric of the occupied Syrian Golan, in accordance with the relevant provisions of its decisions;
(b) to undertake efforts to offer appropriate curricula, and to provide more grants and adequate assistance to the educational and cultural institutions of the occupied Syrian Golan;
(c) to dispatch an expert to assess and evaluate the needs of the educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Syrian Golan and report to her before the 201st session of the Executive Board;

17. Decides to include this item in the agenda of the Executive Board at its 201st session, and invites the Director-General to submit to it a progress report thereon.