The Division for Palestinian Rights was established by the UN General Assembly pursuant to resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977. The core functions of the Division are as follows:


Background

Following the establishment of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the General Assembly recognised the need to create an informed public opinion around the world in support of the achievement of those rights. Accordingly, the Assembly mandated the establishment of a Special Unit on Palestinian Rights in the United Nations Secretariat to assist the Committee in its work (resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977). On 12 December 1979, the Assembly redesignated the Unit as the Division for Palestinian Rights (resolution 34/65 D). The Division is part of the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. Its mandate has been renewed annually and expanded several times over the years. It includes the organization of international meetings and conferences, liaison and cooperation with civil society and parliamentarians, implementation of a publications programme, establishment and development of an online information system called the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL), and the holding of an annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority. By resolution 68/13 of 2013, the Assembly renewed the mandate of the Division.

International meetings and conferences

The Division for Palestinian Rights is mandated by the General Assembly to organize international meetings and conferences in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community. They are held to promote constructive analysis and discussion of the various aspects of the question of Palestine and to mobilise international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people.

In recent years, the programme of international meetings and conferences has placed special emphasis on promoting the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, providing support for the political process and encouraging international efforts, such as the Quartet Road Map, towards a peaceful solution of the conflict.

Since 1993, the Committee has convened annual seminars on assistance to the Palestinian people, in either Europe or the Middle East. These events are organised to address the various aspects of the socio-economic and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to promote wide support by the international community for the Palestinian economy and development. More recently, these events have focused on the urgency of bringing humanitarian relief and reconstruction to the Gaza Strip, as well as on State-building efforts of the Palestinian Authority.

Additional information about various Committee-sponsored events is available at http://www.un.org/depts/dpa/qpal/calendar.htm.

Liaison and cooperation with civil society and parliamentarians

On the basis of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with civil society, which started in connection with the preparations for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine held in 1983 in Geneva, the General Assembly mandated the Division to increase its contacts with non-governmental organizations and to convene meetings for non-governmental organizations in various regions in order to heighten awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine – a mandate that has been renewed annually. CSOs are invited to all Committee-sponsored international meetings and conferences.

As the Committee encourages cooperation, coordination and networking among CSOs, the Division maintains contacts with national, regional and international coordinating mechanisms and periodically holds consultations with various organizations and their representatives on ways and means of enhancing cooperation. On occasion, representatives of the Committee or staff members of the Division participate in events organised by CSOs.

The Committee also attaches great importance to developing its liaison and cooperation with national and regional parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations with a view to encouraging law-makers worldwide to work together with their governments and together with the United Nations and the Committee for the achievement of the two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This collaboration takes different forms, including periodic meetings of consultations with representatives of national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations, and organization of joint international events on the most pressing issues. In 2013, the Committee reactivated its working group on cooperation with civil society (www.unpfp.net)

Research, monitoring, publications and the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL)

The Division has been requested to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine. The collection and dissemination of information by the Division are considered by the Committee to be of particular importance to its political advocacy work aimed at making a constructive contribution to the peace process, in support of international efforts aimed at reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

The publications programme of the Division includes the preparation of monthly bulletins on international action on the question of Palestine; monthly chronological media summaries; periodic bulletins on developments related to Middle East peace efforts; and special bulletins on the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Over the years, the Division has also published a number of studies on legal, political and economic aspects of the question of Palestine.

In response to a mandate contained in General Assembly resolution 46/74 B of 11 December 1991 and subsequent annual resolutions, the Division has developed UNISPAL, with a view to creating an electronic facility that would contain, in a full-text format, all significant United Nations documents relating to the question of Palestine. This collection of documents, which is updated daily, is available on the Internet at http://unispal.un.org. The Division also maintains and continues to develop the “Question of Palestine” website at http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal.

Training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority

Since 1996, as requested by the Committee and subsequently mandated by the General Assembly, the Division has conducted an annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority. The programme is carried out at United Nations Headquarters, in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, from September to December each year, in conjunction with the annual sessions of the General Assembly. Focused on capacity-building, it is designed to help staff of the Palestinian Authority to familiarise with and acquire professional expertise in the various aspects of the work of the United Nations and multilateral diplomatic work.

General Assembly resolution 64/17 of 2 December 2009, requested that the Programme be further developed and enhanced “in contribution to Palestinian capacity-building efforts”. In implementation of that resolution, the Division for Palestinian Rights, in September 2010 and 2011 conducted training programmes for staff of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations Office at Geneva in collaboration with and hosted by the Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit of UNCTAD.

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
2014 - International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed annually on or around 29 November, solemnly commemorating the adoption by the Assembly, on 29 November 1947, of resolution 181 (II), which provided for the partition of Palestine into two States. The observance is held at United Nations Headquarters, the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna and elsewhere. The event includes special meetings at which statements on the question of Palestine are made by high-level officials of the United Nations and intergovernmental organizations and representatives of civil society. The observance also includes cultural events. At other locations, various activities are organized by governmental bodies and CSOs in cooperation with United Nations information centres around the world. It is also traditionally the day that the United Nations General Assembly undertakes its annual debate on the question of Palestine. The General Assembly proclaimed 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
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