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Update:European Campaign

Right of Return Advocacy Week (Brussels, 7 - 14 May 2000) (A joint effort by BADIL, ECCP, Oxfam Solidarity): As Palestinian refugees in the Middle East commemorated the 52nd anniversary of their eviction by Israel and rallied for the implementation of their right to return to homes and properties in accordance with UN Resolution 194,

 BADIL and European partner organizations conducted a series of briefings of European and Belgian policy makers in Brussels in order to convey the same message: There will be no peace in the Middle East without recognition of Palestinian refugees' right of return, because Palestinian refugees, i.e. two-thirds of the Palestinian people, reject a solution of the Palestinian refugee question which does not meet the standards set by international law and UN Resolution 194.

The delegation, composed of BADIL Program Coordinator Muhammad Jaradat and international refugee law expert Susan Akram, was hosted and assisted by Brussels-based Oxfam Solidarity, the European Coordinating Committee on Palestine (ECCP), and by the Palestine working groups in the Belgian and European parliament.

The political program of the "Right of Return Advocacy Week" included meetings with EU Special Envoy Tomas Dupla del Moral and the Belgian Foreign Affairs Office, interviews in the Belgian press, and the preparation of a draft resolution calling for an active role of the Belgian government in the solution of the Palestinian refugee question according to UN Resolution 194. This resolution is scheduled for vote in the Belgian parliament before the summer recess.

The legal program of the delegation included a working meeting with eight leading Belgian experts of international law who agreed to cooperate in the establishment of a permanent legal support team. Starting from July 2000, this team will assist Palestinian refugees in the preparation of legal petitions for return and restitution to be submitted to international and European human rights fora, and form a professional lobby for international legal protection of Palestinian refugees. In a meeting between the delegation and ENIP (European Inter- Network Group coordinating all major NGO networks), European NGOs expressed their interest and support for this Palestinian-European Campaign for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights

Proposal for Resolution Concerning the Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees (Belgian Parliament)
The Senate, I. considering that a durable peace, which has to put an end to the conflict between the Israeli and the Palestinian people, can only be achieved if there is a just solution for the Palestinian refugees; II. considering that the Palestinian refugee problem has to be solved according to the UN Resolutions and the principles of international law: including UNResolution 194/1948, the Statute of the UNHCR  (1950), the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and its Protocol (1967),

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949); III. considering that the principles outlined in the above mentioned international instruments have served as leading principles for the solution of refugee problems in other parts of the world such as Vietnam, El Salvador, Guatemala, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor etcÂ…Requests the government:
To raise this problem immediately in the Cabinet Council of the European Union and in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Right of Return: Greens/European Free Alliance (European Parliament)
No doubt that the Greens/EFA group supports the Right of Palestinian Refugees to return as it did many times in various situations for other refugees. The right to return is one of the basic rights recognized by many international convenants and should never be questioned. I understand, therefore, your concern for the hundred thousands Palestinian refugees who are still waiting to be given the opportunity to go back to their properties and you can count on our willingness to express whenever necessary our concrete support for this just cause.
Best regards Paolo Bergamashchi
Adviser on Foreign Affairs
Greens/EFA Group in the EP