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Summary record of the 17th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 16 October 2006, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Ballesteros (Vice-Chairman) .......................................... (Costa Rica)
later: Mr. Al-Bayati (Chairman) ....................................................................... (Iraq)
Agenda item 63: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)
(a) Promotion and protection of the rights of children (continued)
(b) Follow-up to the special session on children (continued)
10. Ms. Hastaie (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that despite progress made in some areas, the goals of the special session on children, which reinforced the Millennium Development Goals, remained to be accomplished. One important issue which thus far had received little attention was the increased demand for the commercial sexual exploitation of children. A holistic approach was needed, as the demand factors went hand in hand with reasons which pushed children into that form of exploitation, varying from poverty to family disintegration to social inequality at the local level and economic disparity at the global level. Another area of concern, the situation of children in armed conflict, needed further attention, in particular the situation of Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territories.
25. Mr. Israeli (Israel) ...
27. Regrettably, Israeli children had grown accustomed to living under the constant threat of terrorism. Children in the southern city of Sderot and other villages in the area were under threat of rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. It was therefore disheartening to note that the representative of Lebanon, who had spoken the previous week, had blamed Israel for the suffering of Lebanese children. He related the aggressions committed by Hezbullah against Israel, during which one million Israelis, one third of them children, had been forced to flee their homes, and described the devastation and displacement caused to all civilians, including children, caught in the crossfire on both sides.
42. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that the safety and well-being of children had been gravely endangered during the many years that the Palestinian people had been living under occupation. In the past six years, Israeli forces had killed over 900 Palestinian children. Many others had been injured, detained or orphaned. Palestinian children lived under constant threat, owing to the violence of the occupying Power. Many of the children killed were from Gaza, even after Israel’s so-called disengagement.
43. Even more disturbing was that the deaths of Palestinian children at the hands of Israeli occupying forces were usually given only a cursory investigation, if any. Indictments for the killing of civilians were rare, and convictions almost unheard of. That had fostered a culture of impunity among those forces and heightened their perception that they would not be held accountable. Given that attitude, it was unsurprising that they often shot excessively and indiscriminately.
44. A stark example of the Israeli indifference to the Palestinian child’s right to life was the decision in 2005 to clear an Israeli commander of charges after he had shot an already-injured 13-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl. Occupying forces in the watchtower had quickly identified the girl, dressed in a school uniform, as “a girl of about ten”. As she was running away, she had been shot and had fallen to the ground. The commander had stood directly over her body and had shot her many times. Yet he had been awarded payment of his legal expenses and had even received a promotion. The girl’s family, however, had received only grief and heartache.
45. Such actions were a blatant violation of the right to life, a right which States parties must expressly recognize under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Israel had violated numerous rights set out in the Convention and other international legal instruments, including the fourth Geneva Convention. Measures had to be taken to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice; otherwise the culture of impunity would grow with disastrous consequences. The situation worsened each year, and there was little room for hope. It was impossible for children to focus on their physical, emotional and social development when they faced every day the consequences of foreign occupation and a lack of even the most basic needs. Palestinian children under occupation were far from living in “a world fit for children”.
The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.
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