[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
At the request of Member States, the President of the General Assembly has announced that an emergency special session of the General Assembly to consider the ongoing humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory will take place at 5:30 p.m. today, Thursday, 8 January 2009.
President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann will hold a press conference on Thursday at 1 p.m. to answer questions from the media.
The Secretary-General, the Security Council, the President of the General Assembly and various parts of the UN system working in the Middle East -- in particular UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) -- have been actively involved in trying to end the violence in Gaza and to assist the people there.
A statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General was issued today.
The 9th special session of the Human Rights Council, "The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the occupied Gaza Strip," is scheduled for Friday, 9 January 2009, in Geneva.
The UN News Centre's Middle East News Focus web site includes links to key resources including statements, resolutions and reports.
Some 4.6 million Palestine refugees in UNRWA's five fields of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – are eligible for Agency services, including education, healthcare, social services, shelter, micro-credit loans and emergency aid. UNRWA employs nearly 30,000 staff, the vast majority of whom are Palestine refugees.
UNRWA's operations are financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions from donors. The Agency's regular budget for 2008-2009 is $1.1 billion, which covers the recurrent costs of the Agency's education, health and relief and social services activities. UNRWA's headquarters are in Gaza City and Amman.
About Emergency Special Sessions
Special and emergency special sessions of the General Assembly may be convened in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly (A/520/Rev.17).
An emergency special session may be called within 24 hours of a request by the Security Council on the vote of any nine of its members, or by a majority of the United Nations members.
Information about and document symbols relating to emergency special sessions is available online.
Other emergency special sessions have been called on the Occupied Arab Territories (Golan Heights), Namibia, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Hungary and Suez.