Consultations on Conference of High Contracting Parties Continue

The Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the four Geneva Conventions, continued its efforts to consult with the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the reconvening of a Conference of the High Contracting Parties on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The aim of such a Conference, as has been repeatedly reaffirmed, including in the most recent resolution of the 10th Emergency Special Session (ESS) of the General Assembly, resolution ES-10/7 of 20 October 2000, is "ensuring respect for the Convention in all circumstances in accordance with common article 1 of the four Conventions."

In follow up to its last note in November 2000, Switzerland sent another note to all the High Contracting Parties in an effort to ascertain their views as whether they deem the reconvening of such a Conference appropriate in light of the development of the humanitarian situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The note also seeks the Parties’ views on possible objectives of once more convening the Conference. The original date set for receipt of responses, which was 31 December 2000, was extended by Switzerland until 15 February 2001. The extension was made in order to allow for more High Contracting Parties to respond to the Swiss note.

In this connection, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations sent a note to the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), South Africa, for distribution to all members of NAM on the matter. The note - a follow up to its note and background memorandum on the matter to NAM in December - urged all NAM countries to respond to the Swiss note if they had not yet done so by expressing their support for the Conference of High Contracting Parties. An expression of such support would be in line with the decisions taken by the XII NAM Summit and the following ministerial meetings reiterating support for the reconvening of the Conference should the need arise, as reflected by the deterioration of the situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

While the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the U.N. awaits the results of the latest round of Swiss consultations, it will continue to seriously follow up the matter, encouraging the High Contracting Parties to shoulder their responsibility and convene such an important Conference on enforcing the 4th Geneva Convention, which is applicable to all the territory occupied by Israel in 1967, including Jerusalem.