"In an Age of Information, the United Nations Should Appear as a Transparent Institution.'

Article excerpt

The General Assembly on 3 December welcomed the signing on 23 October 1998 of the Wye River Memorandum between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority. As it adopted a resolution on the subject-1 of 24 texts recommended by its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the Assembly said it viewed the Israeli settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace, and again demanded that Israel cease all settlement activity in the occupied territory. It also denounced illegal Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs in the occupied territories.

The Assembly reaffirmed the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and to the other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967. It deplored Israeli policies and practices which violated the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs in the occupied territories, and expressed concern that, as a result of those practices, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory had deteriorated and impeded the Middle East peace process. Israel was also called upon to desist from establishing settlements and changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the Syrian Golan.

The structural deficit problem confronting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was seen as posing a serious threat to the peace process. Strongly urging all Governments to make the most generous efforts possible to meet the anticipated needs of the Agency, the Assembly adopted seven resolutions relating to UNRWA.

Among decolonization matters, the Assembly adopted an omnibus resolution that dealt with specific and general conditions in the 11 Non-Self-Governing Territories of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, and United States Virgin Islands. It urged the administering Powers to take all necessary steps to enable the peoples of the Territories concerned to exercise fully, as soon as possible, their right to self-determination, including independence.

On questions relating to information, the Assembly adopted without a vote a two-part resolution on strengthening the freedom of information in the service of humanity and on the role of United Nations public information policies and activities. …

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