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Push to give Palestinian rights group official UN status

Palestinian Return Centre, a London-based organisation advocating full rights to Palestinian refugees, wants to join UN body as NGO with consultative status
Palestinians cross the Qalandia checkpoint on their way to the Al-Aqsa mosque to attend the third Friday prayer of the month of Ramadan, on 3 July 2015 (AA)

Support is growing in Europe to give a Palestinian refugee rights group official status at the UN in the face of Israeli and US objections.

The vice president of the European Parliament, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, has backed the Palestine Return Centre's request to be given advisory status at the United Nations, following a majority vote at the UN in favour of the move last month.

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) is an organisation focused on the historical, political and legal issues of Palestinian refugees which offers expert advise to agencies and individuals. Its request to join the UN as a non-governmental organisation with consultative status was backed by a key UN committee last month.

Papadimoulis stressed to the member states on the UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR) the necessity to back the PRC's request, on the basis of it being one of the few associations that seeks to find a solution for the Palestinian people that encompasses their rights, especially those of refugees.

The vice president also emphasised the importance of member states' support for the PRC at UN meetings that will take place next week in New York, where it is very likely Israel will attempt to block the UNCESCR’s recommendation to grant the organisation consultative status.

The recommendation was voted for last month by 12 countries out of 19, with Israel, the United States and Uruguay opposing.

PRC has also received support from scores of European and British parliamentarians. A petition sent to the UN on the same topic was signed by 115 deputies in the European Parliament, in addition to letters of support from England, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.