UN conference to tackle Palestinian crisis to be held in Paris

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The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People says it will convene a UN International conference on the Palestinian refugees to be held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, according to a UNESCO statement, issued in the French capital.

According to the statement, the conference will hold 29-30 April in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolutions 62/80 and 62/81 of 10 December 2007.

The objective of the conference is to assess the present condition of Palestinian refugees and examine the role of the UN in alleviating their plight.

It will also examine efforts at finding an agreed, just and fair solution to the problem in keeping with relevant UN 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 Palestinian refugee issue, including Israeli and Palestinian experts, representatives of UN member states and observers, intergovernmental organizations and UN agencies, parliamentarians, members of the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.

The conference will open with messages from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.

Zakaria Al-Agha, member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee, is also expected to address the opening session.

Topics for discussion at the conference include Palestine refugees — the longest running humanitarian problem in today’s world; The UN and Palestine refugees; and International and regional efforts to promote a solution for the Palestine refugee issue.

Lecturers at the conference include Michael Fischbach, Professor of History at t he Randolph-Macon College, Susan Akram, Professor at Boston University School of Law, Salman Abu-Sitta, Researcher and former Palestine National Council member, Souheil El-Natour, Head, Humanitarian Development Center for Palestinians, Beirut , and Wajih Atallah, Secretary, Union of Youth Activity Centres in the West Bank a nd Gaza, Qalandia.

Others are Mazen Masri, lecturer, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Lex Takkenberg, General Counsel and Ethics Officer, Department of Legal Affairs, UNRWA, Jerusalem, and Sylviane de Wangen, a lawyer with the French Platform of NGOs for Palestine.

At the end of the conference, its report would be issued as a UNESCO publication.

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