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  London 16-02-2017   The Balfour Apology Campaign (BAC) has just launched its petition which calls on the British Government to apologise for the Balfour Declaration and lead peace efforts in Palestine. The campaign which is initiated by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) urges the Government to acknowledge responsibility for its colonial crimes in Palestine following the infamous declaration.   The Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917 resulted in the mass displacement of the Palestinian people and a hundred-years suffering.   The Balfour Declaration had no legal authority. It was described by the Jurist Henry Cattan as “legally void, morally wicked and politically mischievous”. BAC invites the British public to join our petition below:   UK must apologise for the Balfour Declaration & lead peace efforts in Palestine We call on Her Majesty’s Government to openly apologise to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration. The colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 led to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation. HMG should recognise its role during the Mandate and now must lead attempts to reach a solution that ensures justice for the Palestinian people. Link to sign: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/184398   The Campaign aims to impact all sections of society through working with politicians, MPs, media, NGOs, Charities, students and members of the public to raise awareness of Britain’s colonial past and its role in creating the longest standing conflict in modern times.   No document in Middle Eastern history has had as much influence as the Balfour Declaration on the current plight of the Palestinian people. The Balfour Declaration, a 67-word statement is contained in the short letter by the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leading English Jew, on November 2, 1917. The declaration “[viewed] with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, without the consent of the inhabitants of the country who were the majority. In 1917, at the time of the declaration, Palestinians constituted over 90% of the total population.   About the Campaign Our mission is to seek an official apology from the British government for issuing the infamous Balfour Declaration. We believe that the British government’s recognition of its destructive colonial past is a necessary step towards achieving peace, justice and reconciliation.
  London, February 8th 2017 The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) denounces the new Israeli law which aims at legalising the already "illegal" Israeli settlements and the process of stealing Palestinian lands across the West Bank. The new Law will allow Israel to legally grab Palestinian private land for the purpose of building Israeli settlements. The new Israeli bill adopted by Israeli Knesset known as ‘Regularization Bill’ is in contravention of international law and the various UN resolutions especially the latest UN Security Council Resolution 2334. The illegal new law targets Palestinians within the West Bank which confirms that Israel is still the occupying power. The centre considers the new Israeli law is an attempt to make Israeli settlement legal and grant a form of immunity to settlements in the occupied West Bank that were built on Palestinian lands. The international community has rejected this Israeli move and considered it as a breach of International law. UN Secretary-General António Guterre regretted the step while Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations' Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process described the action of right wing Israeli government as "Israel has just opened the 'floodgates', and crossed a 'very, very thick red line'." In light of this, PRC invite the International community to take serious steps to hold Israel to account in regard of this flagrant breach. Practical steps should be taken such as suspending the membership of the UN as well as this of the European Union. The Centre reckons that the silence of International community is the motive for the constant Israeli violations of landmark human rights laws, conventions as well as various UN resolutions. The new Israeli law is an apartheid practised that crossed the red lines and remedial actions should be taken by the EU and the UN.
  New York – Friday February 3rd   The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) met with Human Rights Watch in their office at the Empire State Building in New York to discuss possible future collaborations. PRC’s Researcher / Advocacy Coordinator Pietro Stefanini met with Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine Country Director, Middle East and North Africa Division.   The discussion started with introductory remarks where each organisation introduced their agenda and their goals for 2017. Shakir expressed keen interest in collaborating on future research in regards to Palestinian refugees residing inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory.   Stefanini briefed Mr. Shakir on the latest developments regarding Palestinian refugees, especially those fleeing the conflict in Syria.  Future collaborations and advocacy engagements were also discussed ahead of the next Human Rights Council in Geneva.   The PRC welcomes Human Rights Watch interest in working together on issues related to Palestinian refugees.  
  New York- February 2nd 2017 PRC attended Item 3 (c) of the Commission for Social Development which was titled Emerging issues High-level panel discussion on “Promoting Integrated Policies for Poverty Eradication: Youth Development in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”   1-    Background Pursuant to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) decision 2006/18, the Commission for Social Development has included the agenda item ‘Emerging issues’ in its work programme since its 2007 ‐2008 review and policy cycle. Under this agenda item, the Commission addresses current issues affecting social development requiring urgent consideration or new cross‐cutting issues in the context of evolving global development challenges. In selecting the theme in recent years, the Bureau of the Commission also takes into full consideration the annual themes of the Economic and Social Council in order to better align its work with that of the Council, as called for in General Assembly resolution 68/1.   2-    Context There were 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 years globally in 2015, accounting for one out of every six people worldwide. By 2030, the target date for the sustainable development goals, the number of youth is projected to have grown by 7 per cent, to nearly 1.3 billion. In most regions youth populations have stabilized. In contrast, in Asia, home to most youth than any other region, the number of young people is expected to decline in the coming years. In Africa, the number of youth was 226 million in 2015 and is growing rapidly. By 2030, it is projected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent. Africa’s youth population is expected to continue to grow throughout the remainder of the 21st century, more than doubling from current levels by 2055.   3-    Objectives The panel discussion will provide a forum for the open exchange of ideas that are strategically important for youth development and the Commission. Drawing on a Note by the Secretariat on Emerging Issues and the insights of experts, the overall objective of the panel is to discuss the World Programme of Action for Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, examining how existing and newly adopted frameworks for development can contribute to and enhance development efforts and outcomes for youth.   4.     Panellists:  H. E. Ms. Sophie Karmasin, Austrian Federal Minister of Families and Youth Mr. Santiago Soto, National Director of the National Institute of Youth, Ministry of Social Development, Uruguay Ms. Gemma Wood, Youth Development Consultant Ms. Nada Al‐Nashif, Assistant Director‐General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary‐General's Envoy on Youth Ms. Nevena Vukašinović, Secretary General at ENGSO Youth (Serbia)‐Sport   Read more http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/csocd/2017/panel-youth.pdf    
  New York - Friday 3rd February The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) attended a meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York organised by the Division for Social Policy & Development (DSPD)/UNDESA Speaker(s): Bonian Golmohammadi, Secretary-General of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA); Zuzana Vuova, Youth Delegate, Czech Republic; Mohamed Ghedira, Youth Delegate, Tunisia; Penny Morton, First Secretary, Human Rights, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN Details: In 2016, over 65 Youth Delegates from 37 countries participated in the 71st session of the Assembly General of the United Nations. The number of Youth Delegates attending the General Assembly, the Commission for Social Development and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development has been steadily increasing, however, Youth Delegates from the African, Latin American and Caribbean and Asia-Pacific Regional Groups remain underrepresented. The side event aims to bring together interested Permanent Missions, civil society organizations and other interested stakeholders to discuss the value of the programme as an opportunity for youth engagement in the United Nations and to gain further awareness of its various aspects.
  New York, February 6th 2017 The PRC is at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to participate at the 55th Commission for Social Development (CSocD55). This session will take place in conference room 4, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1 to 10 February 2017. The priority theme for the 2017-2018 review and policy cycle would be “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”. PRC will be hosting a side-event on February 9th, titled ‘Palestine Refugees: Poverty, Challenges and Prospects”.
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