Sunday, April 27, 2008

UN International Conference on Palestine Refugees

The Displacement of Jews From Arab Countries: 1948-2005 (Justiceforjews)

to be held in Paris, 29 - 30 April

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris on 29 and 30 April, in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 62/80 and 62/81 of 10 December 2007.

The objective of the Conference is to assess the present situation of Palestine refugees and examine the role of the United Nations in alleviating their plight. It will also examine efforts at finding an agreed, just and fair solution to the refugee issue in keeping with relevant United Nations resolutions as a prerequisite for resolving the question of Palestine and achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Invited to the Conference are experts on the Palestine refugee issue, including Israeli and Palestinian, representatives of United Nations Member States and Observers, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies, parliamentarians, members of the academic community and representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.

The opening session will take place on Tuesday, 29 April, at 10 a.m. in Conference Room IV. It will open with a message by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, followed by a message by Director-General of UNESCO Koïchiro Matsuura. Statements will also be made by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee, and Zakaria Al-Agha, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Head of the PLO Refugees Department, representative of Palestine. The opening session will be followed by the screening of a documentary on Palestine refugees at 1:45 p.m., also in Conference Room IV.

Plenary I will start at 3 p.m. in the same room and will discuss the theme “ Palestine refugees -- the longest running humanitarian problem in today’s world”. Among the confirmed speakers are Michael Fischbach, Professor of History, Randolph-Macon College, Salman Abu-Sitta, researcher and former Palestine National Council member; Daud Abdullah, Researcher, Palestine ReturnCentre, London; Souheil El-Natour, Head, Humanitarian Development Center for Palestinians, Beirut; and Wajih Atallah, Secretary, Union of Youth Activity Centres in the West Bank and Gaza, Qalandia.
Plenary II, entitled “The United Nations and Palestine refugees”, will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 30 April, also in Conference Room IV. Among the confirmed speakers are Susan Akram, Professor, Boston University School of Law; Mazen Masri, lecturer, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto; Lex Takkenberg, General Counsel and Ethics Officer, Department of Legal Affairs, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Jerusalem; Rasmi Khader Almallah, Jordanian Senator; Sylviane de Wangen, a lawyer with the French Platform of NGOs for Palestine; and Usama Halabi, lawyer and law researcher.
Plenary II will be followed at 1 p.m. by a press conference given by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the InalienableRights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Badji, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations in New York, and Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations in New York, also in Conference Room IV.
Plenary III will start at 3 p.m. Presentations on the theme of “International and regional efforts to promote a solution of the Palestine refugee issue” will be made by Michaél Chiller-Glaus, journalist and author, Neue Zürcher Zeitung; Menachem Klein, Professor of Political Science, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; Géraud de la Pradelle, Professor of International Law, University of Paris X – Nanterre; and Terry Rempel, research fellow, University of Exeter, and founding member of the BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. The closing session, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the introduction of the final document, will conclude the Conference.

All media representatives without regular UNESCO identification are requested to obtain badges by presenting media identification cards prior to entering the Conference Room. A registration desk at the Monaco lobby of the UNESCO building, entrance: 125 avenue de Suffren, will be operating from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 28 April. On 29 April, registration starts at 9 a.m. If you arrive at any other time, please contact the Information Desk in the foyer. Kindly take advantage of the advance registration in order to avoid delays on Tuesday morning.
The report of the Conference will be issued as a publication of the Division in due course. (Link)


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