30 September 2005

Fourth Committee Approves Work Programme, Establishes Working Group on Outer Space, Considers Requests for Hearing by Petitioners

NEW YORK, 29 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) this morning approved its programme of work and timetable for the sixtieth session of the General Assembly.  It also approved its working procedures, established a Working Group of the Whole on Outer Space, and considered requests for hearing by petitioners from Non-Self-Governing Territories.

At the outset of the meeting, Committee Chairman Yashar Aliyev (Azerbaijan) paid tribute to his predecessor, Kyaw Tint Swe (Myanmar) and to members of the previous Bureau.  He also congratulated the new Bureau -- Vice-Chairpersons Subhas Gujadhur (Mauritius), Amparo Anguiano Rodriguez (Mexico) and Alexander Gerts (Netherlands), as well as Rapporteur Shahrul Nizzam Umar (Brunei Darussalam) -- which was elected in June.

According to the work programme (document A/C.4/60/L.1), the Committee's current session will open with issues from its annual roster, the first being the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (item 26), to be considered from 5 to 11 October.  During that time, the Committee will also consider related items such as information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73(e) of the United Nations Charter (item 34); economic and other activities that affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (item 35); implementation of the decolonization Declaration by United Nations specialized agencies and associated international institutions (item 36); and offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories (item 37).

The Committee will consider questions relating to information (item 33) from 12 to 14 October; international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space (item 29) from 17 to 19 October; the effects of atomic radiation (item 74) on 14 and 15 October; and the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects (item 32) from 20 to 25 October.  From 26 to 27 October, it is expected to take up assistance in mine action (item 27) and on 28 October, effects of atomic radiation (item 28).  The Committee will also take up revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (item 116) -- for the sole purpose of approving its programme of work for the next session -- on 28 and 31 October.

From 1 to 3 November, the Committee will consider the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) (item 30), and on 4 November, it will take up the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (item 31).  The Committee expects to conclude its work for the current session on 10 November.

Consideration of the items on information questions, outer space, peacekeeping operations and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will include a panels and interactive dialogue.

With respect to requests for hearing, an aide-memoire (document 1/05) containing 49 requests relating to the questions of Gibraltar, Guam, New Caledonia and Western Sahara was distributed.  There being no comments on those requests, it was decided that they would be circulated as a document for consideration at a later meeting.  The Chairman said he had received communications from the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and from a representative of the Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, who wished to speak before the Committee.

The Fourth Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 October, to take up issues relating to implementation of the decolonization Declaration.

* *** *