Vienna, 2 February 2000/P/K/16713c-is

The International Progress Organization (I.P.O.) has joined thousands of Palestinians and their supporters from all over the globe in a Petition for the Right of Return and has declared its affiliation with the recently established Council for Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation (CPRR). The Petition sponsored by the CPRR states "that every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual right to absolute restitution of all his or her property and the right to return to his or her original home." Members of the Advisory Board of the Council for Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation are, among others, Haidar Abdul Shafi, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam Chomsky, and Ibrahim Abu Lughod.

Prior to and immediately after the declaration of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, a deliberate campaign was executed to drive Palestinians from their homes and land. Israel has continued this campaign up to the present day through land confiscation, building on Palestinian land, denial of construction permits to Palestinians in order to prevent natural urban expansion of the Palestinian population, the demolition of homes of Palestinians who refuse to accept this discrimination, the canceling of Palestinian residency rights, the refusal to grant family reunification requests by Palestinians, and the barring of all Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes or property.

The rights of Palestinian victims to their land and property are inalienable individual human rights decreed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to restitution means the return of property to their rightful owners. The right to repatriation means the rights of Palestinians and their heirs to return to the very home (land or town or village) from which they were driven, and all associated rights. The right to reparation refers to all lost income suffered by Palestinians since 1948.

The International Progress Organization, an NGO in consultative status with the United Nations, since 1974 has advocated the Palestinians' right of return to their homeland. The International Committee for Palestinian Human Rights (ICPHR), established under the auspices of the I.P.O., has affirmed the basic rights of Palestinians in several international conferences and in its legal memoranda to the United Nations. A comprehensive legal analysis on "The Palestinian People's Right of Self-determination" was published by the I.P.O. in 1998. The I.P.O. now joins international non-governmental organizations and human rights movements in a worldwide effort to mobilize international public opinion in regard to the basic rights of the people of Palestine that have been neglected in the Oslo Agreement.

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