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5th International Conference on Jerusalem Opens in Rabat

By Dana LegerRabat – At the opening of the Fifth International Conference on Jerusalem in Rabat, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has delivered King Mohammed VI’s statement on the challenges in Jerusalem in light of recent developments. The conference, which opened Tuesday, June 26, is jointly hosted by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Morocco upholds Palestinian rightsThe King’s letter condemned the US’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14 and to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. “The American decision is a step outside the bounds of international legitimacy; it undermines the frame of reference set by the relevant resolutions, diminishes the stature of the United Nations and puts security and stability at risk in the region and beyond.”The King pledged “Morocco’s full solidarity and its strong commitment to exert all possible efforts to rally international support to uphold the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to an independent State, with East Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.”The letter said narrow-minded perceptions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, coupled with misleading ideas and actions, have intensified an already complex issue. A need for binding international resolutionsThe King went on to tell of the peaceful demonstrations of the Great March of Return at the Gaza border in which, “Israeli occupation forces reacted to them by firing live bullets directly at the demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians.”King Mohammed VI concluded his letter with, “I believe Al-Quds needs greater rallying of diplomatic efforts to secure binding international resolutions that protect the city and safeguard its spiritual, cultural and legal character. It also needs action on the ground to promote development in social and humanitarian fields to help Palestinians resist policies of displacement, eviction and expulsion applied against them.”The opening was attended by Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing; Miroslav Jen?a, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Fodé Seck, representative of CEIRPP; and Samir Bakr, representative of OIC.The conference will continue until June 28 and is held under the theme “The Question of Jerusalem after 50 years of Occupation and 25 years of the Oslo Accords.” In the following days, the event will include discussions from Palestinian, Israeli, and international experts on East Jerusalem. It will also provide a platform for youth from East Jerusalem to voice their concerns to the international community and for participants to identify actionable solutions to the challenges confronting the youth. read more

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UN refugee official to visit Chad as new refugees arrive everyday

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that this would be the first mission for Judy Cheng-Hopkins, who took up her post earlier this month, adding that “it’s an important one given the many concerns we’re facing in Chad and in the region as a whole.”“The Assistant High Commissioner will review our operations both in eastern Chad, where we have 12 camps and more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur, as well as in southern Chad where we continue to see a worrisome influx of thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR),” Ron Redmond told a press briefing.“Our teams report that at least 100 persons are still crossing on a daily basis” from the CAR, Mr. Redmond said, fleeing attacks by rebel groups and Government forces, although he added that this figure was down from about 200 daily at the start of the week.Ms. Cheng-Hopkins would first visit Abeche and Bahai, in eastern Chad, to assess the agency’s field operations in the camps for Darfur refugees, who have fled the killings in that region of neighbouring Sudan, and she would hold meetings with local Chadian officials at all of her stops.After these visits she will move to southern Chad, “where we continue to see a steady flow of refugee arrivals from the northern Central African Republic,” Mr. Redmond said.UNHCR said it was discussing with Chadian authorities the opening of a new refugee site because of the anticipation of more refugees fleeing violence in the CAR. read more