Swiss Memorandum to High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention on Conference

The Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the 4th Geneva Convention, and following receipt of a letter from the Permanent Delegation of the League of Arab States in Geneva and the adoption of resolution ES-10/7 of the 10th emergency special session of the General Assembly, sent a note to all the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, submitting the Arab proposal to reconvene the Conference of the High Contracting Parties on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The note recalled that paragraph 10 of resolution ES-10/7, inter alia, "invites the depositary of the 4th Geneva Convention to consult on the development of the humanitarian situation in the field, in accordance with the statement adopted on 15 July 1999 by the above-mentioned Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Convention, with the aim of ensuring respect for the Convention in all circumstances in accordance with common article 1 of the four Conventions."

In this connection, Switzerland’s note seeks the views of the High Contracting Parties as to whether they deem the convening of such a meeting appropriate in light of the development of the humanitarian situation on the ground. It also seeks to ascertain their views on the possible objectives of once more convening the Conference. The note requests that responses be communicated to the depositary by 31 December 2000.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation has made contacts to encourage High Contracting Parties to respond positively to the proposal made for reconvening the Conference of High Contracting Parties in the light of the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. In this regard, it was emphasized that the objective of reconvening the Conference is to ensure respect of the 4th Geneva Convention, in accordance with common article 1 of the Conventions, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. Similarly, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the U.N. recently circulated, through the Non-Aligned Movement, a memorandum providing a brief background summary on the efforts to convene the Conference and encouraging Member States to respond positively to the Swiss note.