Final Statement
Issued by the Third Annual Meeting of the Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Copenhagen, 12 – 15 December 2002

The third annual meeting was held between 12 –15 December based on the invitation issued by BADIL Resource Center in coordination with the Danish-Palestinian Friendship Association and the Right-of-Return Committee-Denmark and in consultation with all Coalition members in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Europe and the United States.

Participants discussed the working papers submitted by the committees and organizations and, following evaluation of the previous year, suggested a program of action for the year 2003.

1. Political Statement

The 2002 meeting was convened in the shadow of ongoing Israeli aggression, including atrocities committed against Palestinian children, women and men. Destruction of homes and refugee camps, uprooting of trees and Israel’s policies of extra-judicial killing, detention and segregation of Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps threaten the security of the Palestinian people and have resulted in serious economic, social and political hardship. Israeli war crimes, although blatant violations of all UN resolutions on the question of Palestine, are committed with the backing of the US Administration. More so, the US Administration continues to provide Israel with murderous military equipment. At the same time, the official international community refrains from condemning Israeli violence and repression, thereby affirming the lack of recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular the right of return and restitution in accordance with UN Resolution 194.

We call upon the international community to increase its pressure on Israel, to force it to stop its policies of aggression and end its occupation, and to send an international protection force to Palestine, in order to guarantee respect of international law and UN resolutions.

Delegates to the third annual meeting of the Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition extend their greetings to the Palestinian people and embrace their steadfastness in the struggle against occupation – including their rejection of all efforts at causing internal division or fragmentation of the national identity - and for our national rights, freedom, independence and return. Our people has proven, by means of the heroic intifada, that our cause unites historical Palestine and the exile and that it is not possible to divide and fragment our national cause and ignore our legitimate rights.

The current intifada, triggered by the ongoing occupation and humiliation of the Palestinian people, affirms that co-existence with the Israeli occupation is not an option. The colonialist and racist character of the Zionist project is illustrated by the occupation and forceful displacement of our people, and we affirm that there will be no peace in the Middle East without a guarantee for the refugees’ right to return to their homes.

We reject all agreements that do not provide for the implementation of the right of return and condemn the statements issued on occasions – in response to US-American and Israeli pressure - by Palestinian personalities to the effect that the right of return is negotiable. These persons have not been authorized by the Palestinian people to make concessions on our right of return.

We affirm all international law and resolutions, in particular UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which we consider the framework for the solution.

We call upon our people in the homeland and in exile in Arab countries and elsewhere, to focus activities on the right of return by establishing committees to defend the right of return and by developing activities that strengthen the refugee movement as one of the national pillars of the PLO.

We call upon Arab progressive forces and parties to organize conferences and activities in support of Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their homes.

We call upon Arab host countries to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and to facilitate organizing and mobilizing for the right of return. Our special call goes to the Lebanese authorities to lift all measures restricting the lives of the Palestinian refugees, and to strengthen their rejection of re-settlement and emigration by letting them enjoy their civil and social rights until they return to their homes.

We extend our warm greetings to all those international forces, parties, committees and individuals, who strongly stand with our people’s rights, especially its right of return. We call upon the Palestinian communities in the countries of exile to cooperate with this international solidarity movement in building an international position in support of the right of return.

The delegates extend their greetings of solidarity to the Iraqi people exposed to US-American animosity and aggression and condemn all US policies directed against the land and the people of Iraq.


2. Organizational Recommendations

The delegates to the third annual meeting of the Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition call upon:

• BADIL to continue coordination of these annual meetings.

• The Right-of-Return Committees in Denmark and Sweden to contribute to the establishment of additional right-of-return committees in European countries.

• The Right-of-Return Committee - Denmark to establish and administer a special Return Fund and to collect contributions towards the next (fourth) annual meeting.

• All committees and organizations, members of the Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition to widely share in advance information about public events and conferences organized locally, regionally and internationally. This information should be forwarded to Palestine Remembered (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and BADIL (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) who will centralize this information on a special bulletin-board on their websites: www.PalestineRemembered.com and www.badil.org
All committees and organizations are encouraged to inform themselves of upcoming events and ensure participation of its members, in order to raise the issue of Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

• Right-of-Return Committees in the country hosting the annual Coalition meetings to coordinate and contribute to the logistic preparations of the respective meeting.

• To adopt the principle of consultation and coordination regarding projects of material and non-material aid to Palestinian refugees. Such coordination between Coalition partners in the sending and the receiving area is vital both in the stage of need identification and during efficient delivery of emergency aid to the most needy refugee populations.


3. Activity Recommendations

• All Coalition partners are requested to work on/lobby their governments, especially the United States, and the European Union to fulfill their financial commitments towards UNRWA so the latter can implement its obligations towards the Palestinian refugees.

• All Coalition partners are called upon to work on organizing and coordinating visits of delegations, including youth, media, politicians and activists, in order to raise the level of awareness about the situation and rights of Palestinian refugees. Celui-ci a unique logiciel à l'égard de dosage indivisible qui peut vous soutenir à surmonter ces répercussions émotionnelles à l'égard de la dysfonction érectile. Acheter Cialis tadalafil n'est enjambée pareillement fini transformé médicament auprès l'impuissance à l'égard de cette PDE- 5.

• Delegates to the third annual Coalition meeting encourage and support the initiative of the Right-of-Return Committee-Denmark to establish a mobile ethnographic exhibition about destroyed Palestinian villages.

• All Coalition partners are asked for timely responses and feedback to information and requests received from BADIL.

• All Coalition partners are asked to rapidly finalize the debate about a joint Arabic-language magazine so that a final motion can be adopted no later than March 2003.

• Delegates to the third annual meeting support the initiative of centralized and coordinated information gathering and networking, and ask Coalition partners to help grass-roots initiatives utilize PalestineRemembered.com and other tools, including the collection of oral and visual histories.

• All Coalition partners are encouraged to make efforts towards the training of Palestinian cadre in media and public relations work, to support campaigns of Israel boycott and divestment from Israel and the United States, and to increase information and education efforts in order to spread and unify our language about the right of return.

• All Coalition partners are called upon to recognize and act on common dates of commemoration, including Nakba Day (15 May) and to help make 2003 the Year of Al-Nakba Awareness and Al-Awda Activism.

Endorsed by:
Aidun Group – Lebanon
Aidun Group – Syria
Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced, 1948 Palestine/Israel
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Palestine
Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights, Palestine
Coordination Forum of NGOs Working among the Palestinian Community, Lebanon
High Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Jordan
Palestine Right To Return Coalition (http://Al-Awda.org)
Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition, Europe
Popular Committees in the West Bank and Gaza Refugee Camps, Palestine
Union of Youth Activity Centers – Palestinian Refugee Camps, Palestine
Union of Women’s Centers – West Bank Refugee Camps, Palestine
194 Group, Lebanon.