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Fourth Committee of the General Assembly: Special Political and

Decolonization
I. Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human
Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
The Israeli practices affecting the human rights of Palestinians and other Arabs in the
occupied territories of Israeli have often been questioned in the past. The Palestinians
often live in conditions in which they have little or no access to basic utilities such as
water, electricity and sanitation services. They also have little or no access to any viable
form of economic activity. These factors lead to very poor living conditions with little or
no chance for personal or economic development. These are clearly violations of human
rights as outlined in the Declaration of Human rights, Articles 15, 17 and 25.
The plight of the Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories has become even more
of a focus of international concern in the recent weeks as the situation in Israel has
markedly worsened. In the time since the provocative actions of Israel regarding the AlHaram Al-Sharif, tensions have risen and the overall situation is escalating into the
exchange of gunfire between Palestinian civilians and Israeli police and troops. The
Security Council has addressed the situation by passing resolution 1322 (2000) which
deplores the actions of Israel at Al-Haram Al-Sharif and condemns the violence and
excessive use of force against the Palestinians. Also, the United Nations Commission on
Human Rights adopted a resolution on October 20, 2000 which will send human rights
experts to the occupied Palestinian territories as part of a human rights inquiry
commission. We voted in favor of this resolution which cited Israels disproportionate
and indiscriminate us of force. These two resolutions are the appropriate action for the
United Nations to take in this situation.
We support any future action which will make Israel accountable for its actions against
the Palestinian people and other Arabs in the occupied territories. The abuses of the
human rights of this minority group in Israel must not go unnoticed. In the future it is
important to consider what can be done to resolve this situation on a more permanent
basis. The option of creating a permanent and sovereign territory for the Palestinian
people is one that must be considered with great attention in order to prevent any future
human rights abuses at the hands of the Israeli government.

II. Participation of Volunteers, White Helmets, in Activities of the UN in the Field of


Humanitarian Relief, Rehabilitation and Technical Cooperation for Development
The creation of the White Helmet Commission or UN Volunteers (UNV) was an
initiative established by the delegation of Argentina. Its purpose is to provide a ready
team of trained, professional volunteers to aid in any area in which their assistance is
requested. This initiative has been very successful in the past in such cases as the
introduction of low-cost housing in Rwanda and the Balkans and the promotion of
sports as a tool for social development in the occupied Palestinian territories.
There are some issues regarding the practical implementation of the projects
undertaken by the WHC/UNV organizations. Often there are insufficient funds to
support the missions assumed by the WHC/UNVs. Also, there is usually a time lapse
between the request for assistance and the actual arrival of UN assistance with the
agencies. Many times there are several organizations involved in trying to aid a country
in need, including NGOs. The coordination of these efforts can be daunting and often
there is a lack of communication between all parties involved. A final problem is that
recently White Helmets and UN Volunteers have been the target of violence while
performing their duties in the field. This is a grievous situation and one which steps
must be taken to prevent.
We see some opportunities for the improvement of operations for the WHC/UNV
programs. There must be an overall improvement in funding for the operation, perhaps
in conjunction with NGOs and private donor organizations. Also, the committee should
focus on past efforts of coordination between the WHC and UNV with other UN
organizations such as UNESCO, the World Food Programme and the Organization of
African Unity. Perhaps we can learn from the successes of these past cooperative efforts
and apply them in the future use of the WHC and UNVs. We join with the international
community as well in calling for greater measures to assure the security of volunteers
working in the field against any possibility of attack. There is much to consider in
drawing a course of future action in regard to the White Helmets and UN Volunteers.

First Committee of the General Assembly: Disarmament and International


Security
I. Relationship between Disarmament and Development
Since World War II, the escalation of violence between and within countries has
increased greatly, lending some people to believe that more people have been killed by
small arms in small conflicts than by major weapons in major wars. As a main organizer
of the World Disarmament Campaign, we have been a leader in nuclear disarmament
and want to maintain that position in small arms disarmament.
Armament is particularly draining on a country because it monopolizes a huge portion
of a countrys budget, making less money available for programs for the social welfare of
a countrys citizens. The UN has seen a correlation between disarmament and
development, even though the decrease in spending on military does not directly
translate into more funds available for development programs.
The pilot Weapons for Development project in Albania shows progress of developing a
program to collect weapons, while assisting in the building of infrastructure in a
developing country. Though this program does not fit all situations in all circumstances,
it can be considered as a base model for further developments. We would like to see
more pilot programs like this one started in countries with similar problems.
Disarmament, unfortunately, has the short-term consequence of high unemployment as
the in-country military-dependant businesses close. To combat this problem, we would
support the UN in the formulation of programs to encourage the creation of nonmilitary dependent industries. Included in these programs should be funds for loans to
people so they can start their own businesses and entrepreneurship classes so people
can learn about what it takes to manage a business. In some countries, the level of
fighting is or was very high, and the combatants have or will have a difficult time
readapting to society. We would the support the UN in the creation of programs to help
incorporate military personnel into mainstream society.
II. Assistance to States in Small Arms Transfers
We strongly agree with the Secretary General in that there is no higher goal than
preventing armed conflict. We regret the violent acts that have submerged peoples in
fratricidal conflicts for years, as our esteemed President Hugo Chavez Frias has

declared in a speech to the General Assembly. Unfortunately, the number of suppliers of


small arms and the number of conflicts around the world are growing as ethnic tensions
rise, leading to a deadly combination. Easy access to weapons leads to violence
undermining state authority as the opposition arms itself. We recognize the urgency of
slowing the transfers of small arms. However, reductions in small arms transfers is an
issue that affects states national security, which has continued to slow discussions at the
UN Conference on Disarmament.
The members of the United Nations have tried to steer countries away from costly
security policies towards disarmament. UN resolutions have created the UN Register of
Conventional Arms, which asks for notification when weapons are destroyed or
transferred in large numbers. Unfortunately, not all countries have notified the register,
and it is losing clout in the international arena. We would like to see more funds
earmarked for decreasing the arms trade by putting resources towards incentives for
developing nations that have found it so hard to find security.
Because we do not have much of an internal problem with arms transfers, illicit or
otherwise, we would prefer to ask states affected what they think would be the best way
to improve the situation, since they are the most involved and have the most at stake.
We are waiting to see the recommendations offered by the Group of Governmental
Experts on Small Arms, but in the mean time, the UN should assist states that ask for
help in curbing illicit arms transfers. Maintaining security while stopping illegal arms is
a problem the UN needs to confront. One solution is to foster collective security
programs between states with similar strategic interests.
One of the root causes of internal conflict in states that leads to proliferation of small
arms is the lack of economic opportunities within a country. We would support the UN
in the creation of programs to foster economic growth, and the cancellation of debt for
heavily indebted countries when they register arms transfers, for example, so they can
focus their available resources to their people and not their interest payments.

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