82nd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 50th Session - Part 1

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06-Dec-1995 00:59:54
Assembly acts on reports of Fourth Committee, adopts 25 resolutions, five decisions at 82rd meeting.

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The General Assembly this morning deplored Israeli policies and practices which violate the human rights of the Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories and expressed the hope that, in light of recent positive political developments, those violations would end immediately.

In one of four resolutions on Israeli practices adopted this morning, the Assembly, by a vote of 69 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 80 abstentions, commended the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices for its impartiality, asked it to continue its work and demanded that Israel cooperate. (For details of voting, see Annex VII.)

Overall this morning the Assembly took action on 25 draft resolutions and 5 draft decisions as recommended by its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization). In addition to Israeli practices, the Fourth Committee submitted reports on decolonization, atomic radiation, international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space and peace-keeping operations. Other reports presented by the Rapporteur of the Committee were on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and on information questions.

Adopting another text on Israeli practices by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 7 abstentions (Argentina, Marshall Islands, Federation States of Micronesia, Nicaragua, Panama, Russian Federation, Uruguay) the Assembly noted with satisfaction the return of a number of deportees to the occupied Palestinian territory and called on Israel to facilitate the return of the rest and accelerate the release of all remaining Palestinians arbitrarily detained or imprisoned. Pending the extension of self-government arrangements to the rest of the West Bank, the Assembly called for Israel to completely respect the fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian people (Annex IX).

By a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 4 abstentions (Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nicaragua, Russian Federation) the Assembly demanded that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention to the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and other territories it had occupied since 1967, and comply scrupulously with its provisions (Annex VIII).

In another action, the Assembly called on Israel to "rescind forthwith" its decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan, declaring them "null and void" and without international legal effect. By a recorded vote of 139 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 13 abstentions, it also called on Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and, in particular, from establishing settlements (Annex X).

The representatives of Venezuela and Swaziland spoke in explanation of vote on the drafts on Israeli practices.

Also on the recommendation of its Fourth Committee, the Assembly adopted seven UNRWA resolutions, including one which extended the Agency's mandate until 30 June 1999. By a recorded vote of 145 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 1 abstention (United States), the Assembly noted with "profound concern" that UNRWA's structural deficit problem "portends an almost certain decline in the living conditions of Palestine refugees, possibly with consequences for the peace process." (Annex I).

By that text the Assembly called on all governments, as a matter of urgency, to contribute generously to meet the Agency's anticipated needs, including the costs of moving its headquarters to Gaza. Noting the significant success of UNRWA's peace implementation programme, the Assembly urged all Member States to assist the Palestinian people's economic and social development.

In other action, the Assembly reaffirmed the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions. It expressed hope for an accelerated return through the mechanism agreed upon by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in the Declaration of Principles (Annex II).

By a recorded vote of 148 votes in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Russian Federation, Swaziland), the Assembly emphasized the need to strengthen the educational system in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and to establish the proposed university of Jerusalem "Al-Quds". It would once more call on Israel to cooperate and remove the hindrances it had put in the way of that process (Annex VI).

In a related resolution, the Assembly urged all States to provide grants and scholarships for Palestine refugees, in a manner commensurate with their needs for higher education, including vocational training. It appealed strongly for States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to augment their grants and scholarship allocations, and to contribute generously to the Palestinian universities in the occupied territory, including, in due course, the proposed University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees. The text was adopted by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Israel) (Annex III).

By a recorded vote of 146 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Russian Federation), the Assembly called on Israel to respect the safety of the UNRWA's personnel and facilities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. The UNRWA's Commissioner-General was asked to issue identification cards for Palestine refugees and their descendants in the occupied Palestinian territory and called on UNRWA to continue contributing towards the development of economic and social stability there (Annex IV).

In other action, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to take appropriate steps, in consultation with the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, to protect Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel, and to establish a fund for the receipt of income derived therefrom, on behalf of its rightful owners. The text was adopted by a recorded vote of 98 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 48 abstentions (Annex V).

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the overall operation of UNRWA.

The Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted a wide-ranging resolution on all aspects of peace-keeping operations, urged Member States, the Secretariat and relevant United Nations bodies to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the Special Committee on Peace- keeping Operations. Those proposals included the improvement of the safety and security of peace-keepers, the strengthening of peace-keeping training programmes, the completion of a code of conduct for peace-keepers, further progress on stand-by arrangements, and the development of a rapidly deployable Headquarters team of personnel skilled in essential military and civilian functions. The Special Committee was also asked to consider expanding its membership.

Acting without a vote on two draft resolutions on information issues, the Assembly decided to increase the Committee's membership from 88 to 89 members with the appointment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. By a resolution on United Nation Public information policies and activities, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to ensure the involvement of the Department of Public Information (DPI) at the planning stage of future peace-keeping and other field missions. It also decided to consolidate the role of the Committee on Information as the main body mandated to make recommendations relating to DPI's work.

Among its specific mandates, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to continue integrating United Nations information centres with field offices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) whenever feasible, on a case- by-case basis, ensuring that the information functions and autonomy of the centres were not adversely affected.

By the resolution on information in service of humanity, the Assembly urged States and specialized agencies to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of freedom of the press and information. It also urged States and organizations to cooperate to reduce disparities in information flows by increasing assistance to develop communications infrastructures in developing countries and that journalists be allowed to perform their professional tasks effectively and condemned resolutely all attacks against them.

On decolonization matters, the Assembly adopted 11 texts covering such questions as the activities of foreign economic interests and military activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories, the role of the United Nations specialized agencies, information provided by administering Powers and the specific conditions in individual Territories.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted texts on the situations in Western Sahara, New Caledonia and Gibraltar, as well as one on offers by Member States of study facilities for inhabitants of territories. A resolution dealing with specific and general conditions in the 12 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories was adopted, as a whole, by a vote of 146 in favour to 4 against (Georgia, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 3 abstentions (Argentina, Belgium and France) (Annex XV).

The 12 Territories covered in the resolution are: American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.

In other action on decolonization issues, the Assembly called on administering Powers to ensure there was no discriminatory and unjust wage systems in their Territories. It urged the administering Powers to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of people of the Territories to their natural resources. The text was adopted by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to 51 against, with 3 abstentions (Argentina, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia) (Annex XII).

By a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 48 against, with 4 abstentions (Argentina, Belize, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia), the Assembly reaffirmed that military activities by colonial Powers in Territories under their administration could be an obstacle to the people's exercise of their right to self-determination (Annex XIII).

By another vote of 153 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions, (France, Guinea-Bissau, United Kingdom, United States), the Assembly reaffirmed that until a Non-Self-Governing Territory had attained a full measure of self-government, the administering Power concerned should continue transmitting to the Secretary-General, on a regular basis, information on its economic, social and educational conditions (Annex XI).

The Assembly asked the specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations to examine conditions in each Territory so as to accelerate economic and social progress, to strengthen existing support and to formulate appropriate assistance programmes. The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to none against, with 50 abstentions (Annex XIV).

On the peaceful uses of outer space, the Assembly, acting without a vote, urged all States, particularly those with major space capabilities, to prevent an arms race in outer space and to contribute to an orderly growth of space activities favourable to the socioeconomic advancement of humanity, particularly for people in developing countries.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly asked the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to continue its work to increase knowledge of the levels, effects and risks of ionizing radiation from all sources, and requested the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to continue providing support for the Scientific Committee's work.

The Assembly also adopted two resolutions which were introduced this morning on questions relating to decolonization. The first resolution on dissemination of information on decolonization was adopted by a vote of 133 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 25 abstentions (Annex XVII).

The second resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on decolonization was adopted by a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 4 against (Israel France, United Kingdom, United States), with 26 abstentions. Explanations on the two resolutions were made by the representatives of the United states and the United Kingdom.

In other action recommended by the Fourth Committee, the Assembly decided to defer consideration of the situation in the occupied territories of Croatia and the composition of the relevant organs of the United Nations to its next session.

Also this afternoon, the General Assembly began its consideration of the University for Peace. The representative of Costa Rica introduced a draft resolution which, among other provisions, would request the Secretary-General to consider establishing a cooperation agreement between the United Nations and the University for Peace. Other statements were made by the representatives of Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 7 December, to begin its consideration of implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development as well as of the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace.

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