The 25th Special Session of the General Assembly (Habitat II) ConvenesThe 25th Special Session of the General Assembly for an Overall Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), adopted the final "Declaration on cities and other human settlements in the new millennium" on Saturday, 9 June 2001, following all night negotiations, which were facilitated by the President of the General Assembly, on two paragraphs presented by the Group of 77.
The two proposed paragraphs dealt with the issue of illegal settlement activities and the transfer of civilian population into occupied territory, as well as the issue of the right of refugees to return voluntarily to their homes. The main opposition to the inclusion of these paragraphs came from the delegations of Israel and the United States. However, the outcome of the negotiations which allowed for the adoption of the final declaration by consensus, included three paragraphs dealing with the rights of people living under colonial and foreign occupation; the protection of civilians in conformity with international humanitarian law, in particular with the Fourth Geneva Convention, including Article 49, which prohibits the illegal transfer of civilian population of the occupying Power into occupied territory; and the right of the refugees to return voluntary to their homes. Moreover, a fourth paragraph was included as part of the compromise dealing with international terrorism. The three paragraphs of particular importance to Palestine are as follows: