Beirut Conference, 20 – 21 May:
Arab - International Civil Society Organizations Unite in Solidarity with the Palestinian People
For Immediate Release
No. (E/09/06) 26 April 2006
In a conference that is long overdue, some 150 representatives of civil society organizations from Arab countries, Europe, South Africa, North America and Palestine will convene in Beirut, in order to ensure effective coordination and action, across the globe, against US- and Israel-led unilateralism and isolation of the Palestinian people. Experts and activist delegates from over 15 countries have already confirmed their participation.
The “Arab-International Conference in Solidarity with the Rights of Return and Self-Determination of the Palestinian People” is organized by the Coalition of Lebanese Civil Society Organizations in Support of the Palestinian Intifada and Resistance, in partnership with the Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition, and is part of a series of activities undertaken in May 2006 in order to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba of 1948.
Organizers and participants in this Conference aim to demonstrate that civil society organizations are able to overcome walls and barriers erected by governments to separate Arab and western people, in order to continue the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Guided by an agenda squarely based on international law, the Conference will highlight Israel's ongoing denial of return and self-determination of the Palestinian people as the root cause of the protracted conflict and examine Israel's regime in the light of the international instruments and measures applied against South Africa's apartheid regime.
The Conference will serve as a platform to activate and strengthen cooperation between Arab and Western civil societies. It will strive towards the establishment of an Arab-international network of civil society representatives who identify and agree upon a plan of action to defend and campaign for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, in particular: the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it abides by international law; and, a global campaign towards the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba in 2008, which aims to achieve broad public recognition of the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian people for six decades and of the legitimacy and urgency of the Palestinian refugees' quest to return and the right of the Palestinian people to self determination.