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        General Assembly
15 November 2004

Original: English

Fifty-ninth session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 20th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 21 October 2004, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine)
later: Ms. Kusangbor (Vice-Chairman) ............................................ (Ghana)



Agenda item 101: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m.


Agenda item 101: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued ) (A/59/41 and Corr.1, A/59/184-S/2004/602, A/59/190, 274 and 331)


12. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic) ...


16. The Syrian Arab Republic could not address the problems of all its children since thousands of them had lived under Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights since 1967 and suffered the oppressive practices of the occupation authorities. Those included closing schools, banning Syrian books and curricula, imposing Israeli curricula, and forcing Israeli citizenship upon them in an attempt to eliminate the sense of national belonging. Indeed, Israeli practices of property seizure and mass expulsion extended to all occupied Arab territories, as was demonstrated by the plight of Palestinian children and the violations of their rights to life and freedom. Syria hoped the Secretary-General’s forthcoming study on violence against children would address the suffering of Syrian children in the Golan Heights.


23. Ms. Kalay-Kleitman (Israel) said that Israel took its commitment to children very seriously. There had been a shift in the paradigm of thought on children’s rights in recent years and Israel had embraced it. Children were seen no longer as objects but as subjects and bearers of rights, and the protection of those rights was crucial for building free and forward-looking societies. The connection between children’s rights and human rights had been strengthened and, as a result, the voices of Israeli children had become increasingly important.

24. In seeking to advance children’s rights, the Government worked in close cooperation with many NGOs. Civil society was keenly aware of worldwide developments in the area of children’s rights and worked hard to ensure that they were reflected within Israel.

25. Israel’s undertaking to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child had gone well beyond merely legislating on the general principles concerning children and the law. It had established a committee to formulate a comprehensive plan for the systematic incorporation of the Convention into law; however, the committee had chosen to enlarge the scope of its mandate in order to bring about fundamental change in the status of children in Israeli society. Israel was now striving to implement its detailed recommendations. One of them sought to promote equality among children from different sectors of the population while respecting their cultural differences.

26. Israel commended the statement by the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF concerning the drafting of international guidelines on children without parental care. Such children were at particular risk and it was necessary to develop guiding principles and methodologies to aid them; however, increased attention should be given to all children at risk. One in every six Israeli children was at risk of abuse or neglect. One project being implemented aimed to reduce the number of children and youth at risk by developing programmes to strengthen families, schools and communities and to improve the lives of children and their families by early intervention with a broader array of better-coordinated services. The vision was to create opportunities for children and families at risk within the community and to help society foster their ability to flourish. That vision was shared by the Government and included in many of its initiatives.

27. Israel was a signatory to the two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and planned to ratify them in the near future.


41. Ms. Majali (Jordan) said that her delegation agreed with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict that it was time to move into an “era of application”. An adequate monitoring and reporting mechanism on the situation of children affected by war was needed in order to improve the capacity to ensure compliance with international standards and commitments undertaken by parties to armed conflict. She also requested that his next report should address the situation of children living under occupation. Developments in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel should remain of deep concern to the international community because of their grave impact on children caught up in the conflict. They must be spared the risk of injury, trauma, displacement, family separation and loss of social services.


47. Mr. Husain (Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)) said that children had the natural right to live and grow in a safe and morally stable family environment, and Governments had the duty and the challenge to frame policies and laws to enable them to realize that God-given right. International, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations therefore had important roles to play in that regard. He shared the view of the Secretary-General that building a world fit for children would be a major step in fulfilling the commitments made in the Millennium Development Goals, seven of which directly and indirectly influenced the rights and interests of children.

48. The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers intended to convene a ministerial conference on the child and social affairs to review the status of implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at the special session of the General Assembly. That document had placed special emphasis on the terrifying effects of armed conflict on children. He reiterated the resolve of OIC to work with the United Nations system and NGOs to aid Governments in providing humanitarian relief to the children victimized by armed conflict in such areas as Kashmir, Palestine, Sierra Leone and the Syrian Golan.

The meeting rose at 12.10 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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