Organisation in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council since 2015

  London – Tuesday 31th January 2017   As part of its efforts to reach out for the different UK political parties, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) met last week with Conservative MP Philip Hollobone.   PRC delegation which met with Hollbone comprised head of Communication Sameh Habeeb and Researcher Pietro Stefanini.   The meeting discussed the current political developments affecting the Arab-Israeli conflict in light of the regional and internal changes.   Mr. Habeeb expressed concerns over the ongoing and rapid "illegal" Israeli settlement activities which confiscated massive shared from the West Bank. Habeeb added that the current Conservatives government is demanded more than ever to pressure Israel to halt such activities and abide by International and the UN resolutions.   The Centre thanked Philip Hollbopne MP for his positive stances on Palestine and the many balanced statements he said earlier.    It is worth noting that PRC have met with dozens of MPs over the past few weeks to brief on the latest developments in the occupied Palestinian territories. Meetings were held with Caroline Lucas MP, Alex Cunningham MP, John Pugh MP, Stephen Kinnock MP, Ben Bradshaw MP, Mark Williams MP, Desmond Swayne MP, the office of Julian Brazier MP and Mark Hendrick MP.
  London – Wednesday 25th January 2017   The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) has presented an honorary plaque to Green Party’s co-leader Caroline Lucas for her support to the centre’s bid to be recognised as an NGO with special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.   The Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion expressed her solidarity with PRC and Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination. PRC briefed her on the dire worsening situation in the Occupied Gaza Strip and asked her to raise this issue in Parliament. Ms. Lucas reassured the centre that she would make efforts to raise this particular issue.   In May 2016, Ms Lucas spoke at a cross-party event in Parliament organised by the centre and co-sponsored by Labour Friends of Palestine (LFPME), SNP Friends of Palestine (SNPFP) and Lib Dems Friends of Palestine (LDFP) to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, when over 750,000 Palestinians were displaced by Zionist militias and created the Palestinian refugee problem. Currently there are over 7 million Palestinian refugees displaced around the world that are denied by Israel their internationally recognised right to return.
  London – Tuesday 24th January 2017   The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) met with Labour MP for Stockton North Mr. Alex Cunningham to present him with an honorary plaque for his support to the centre’s bid to gain UN ECOSOC status. PRC thanked Mr. Cunningham for his important contribution in defending and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees.   PRC briefed Mr. Cunningham about past activities at the UN and in the UK parliament. The past year the PRC has been actively engaging with UN mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The centre has also been very active in the UK parliament hosting many events and briefing MPs on issues relating to Palestinian refugees.   Mr. Cunningham expressed his support towards PRC’s activities and shared his willingness to continue to engage with the Palestinian issue. PRC also briefed Mr. Cunningham on recent settlements expansion activities in Occupied East Jerusalem.   In 2014, Mr. Cunningham voted in support of the motion on recognition of Palestinian statehood. In 2016, Mr. Cunningham criticised the Conservative government’s attempts to block public bodies from boycotting and divesting form companies involved in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
  London – January 23 rd 2017   On Wednesday 18 th January the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) met with John Pugh MP (Liberal Democrats) to present him with an award for his support during our bid to join the UN ECOSOC as an NGO in special consultative status and to thank him for his support in defending the rights of Palestinian refugees.       Mr. Pugh was proud to receive this award and was keen to listen about PRC’s activities at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Mr. Pugh and PRC discussed ways forward to continue to engage in promoting and defending the rights of the Palestinian people.       In 2014, John Pugh was one of 28 Lib Dem MPs backing the motion to recognize the state of Palestine. In October 2016 Mr.Pugh signed an Early Day Motions (EDM) titled ‘Access to PayPal in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ which was raised concerns notes with concerns and surprise that the worldwide online payment system, PayPal, is not available to use for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, despite it being available to users in Israel and Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank.
On September 23rd the Palestinian Return Centre addressed the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council during the general debate of Item 7 which covers the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab territories.  The debate featured statements from many countries strongly critizing Israel's ongoing occupation and the related human rights violations committed against Palestinians. However, notable was the non-engagement from the European bloc, which for the second session in a row has remained silent during the debate.  See blow the full transcript of PRC's statement: "Mr. President, members of the Council, The question of Palestine has been on the agenda of the United Nations for almost seven decades with the Palestinian people continuing to suffer under the untenable conditions of occupation, apartheid and settler colonisation. The continuing Israeli settlement activity, security measures adopted to protect settlers and their movement, and the violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property are behind most of the human rights violations against those in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In Gaza Palestinians continue to suffer from collective punishment and extreme violence due to repeated indiscriminate attacks on civilians. And they surviving merely because of humanitarian aid in what is a man made catastrophe. But Palestinians are not just in need of humanitarian assistance, they have legitimate political claims. Any mechanism of humanitarian intervention applied without ending the blockade and the occupation is not only inefficient but is complicit with the Occupying Power. Humanitarian assistance from the European Union continues to be targeted and destroyed by the Occupying power. Third states cannot continue to absolve themselves from responsibility, they have the legal duty to seek accountability for violations of international humanitarian law. Finally, there has been for some time a coordinated campaign targeting Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders seeking justice and accountability. We urge the council and member states to issue public statements condemning the incidents and assert the need to protect human rights defenders working to uphold the values of international law. Thank you"  
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