A United Nations committee probing Israeli practices and their impact on the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories began today a 12-day trip to the Middle East.
The three-member Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories plans to visit Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
Established in 1968, the Special Committee has not been successful in obtaining the cooperation of the Government of Israel or access to the occupied territories, but it has been able to benefit from the cooperation and information provided by officials from Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
During the field mission, the Committee plans to hold hearings in Cairo between 26 and 28 July and in Amman from 30 July to 1 August. Hearings in Damascus have been scheduled from 2 to 4 August.
The information gathered during these hearings - from witnesses relaying first-hand experience of the human rights situation in the occupied territories and from government representatives - is taken into account in the Special Committee's annual reports to the General Assembly. Those reports, which also reflect information appearing in the Israeli and Arab press, contain conclusions and recommendations for action.
The Special Committee is composed of Sri Lanka (Chairman), Senegal and Malaysia.