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Summary record of the 22nd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 26 October 2001, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Ms. Martensson (Vice-Chairman) ....................... (Sweden)
Agenda item 115: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)
In the absence of Mr. Al-Hinai (Oman), Ms. Martensson (Sweden), Vice Chairman, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
Agenda item 115: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued ) (A/56/203, A/56/222-S/2001/736, A/56/342-S/2001/852, A/56/453 and 488)
26. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that children were the most vulnerable sector of society and their vulnerability increased in situations of extreme poverty, violence and armed conflict, including foreign occupation. It was therefore necessary to ensure the full implementation of the Plan of Action of the World Summit for Children. The special session on children would be an effective means of achieving that end.
27. Her delegation regretted the failure of the report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (A/56/453) to recognize the suffering of Palestinian children, and was concerned that the Secretariat increasingly appeared to be ignoring that important issue and the corresponding resolutions of the General Assembly. It wished to bring the Committee’s attention to the ongoing, systematic denial and violation of the rights of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation, which endangered their survival and impeded their development.
28. Since 28 September 2000, the situation on the ground had seriously deteriorated, worsening the already miserable living conditions of the Palestinian people, particularly the children. The Israeli military campaign had resulted in loss of life, serious injuries, the destruction of property and the restriction of the movement of persons and goods within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Many of the children affected would be permanently disabled owing to the severity of their injuries.
29. The measures taken by the occupying forces constituted violations of international humanitarian law, including the various conventions relating to children. Moreover, Israeli policies and actions were in grave violation of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which was applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. The international community should exert pressure on Israel to comply with those conventions in order to ensure the protection of Palestinian children.
51. Mr. Abdul Jabar (Malaysia) ...
54. He bewailed the fact that the plight of Palestinian children and of children under foreign occupation had been all but forgotten for lack of a political solution to the Middle East problem. Only if that problem was addressed could there be any meaningful discussion of the subject. He attributed that state of affairs to both the Security Council’s paralysis with regard to that issue and the Special Representative’s over-emphasis on armed conflict in Africa.
58. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic) ...
60. She was extremely disappointed that neither the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Children (A/S-27/3) nor that of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (A/56/453) made any reference to children under foreign occupation, an omission that called their accuracy and objectivity into question.
61. The Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan since 1967 negated all human rights, especially those of children; while Palestinian children were martyrs in the eyes of the world. Since children were the adults of the future, it was important for issues concerning them to be addressed without equivocation or double standards. In conclusion, Syria set great store by the success of the special session on children, which it hoped would assess implementation of the commitments made at the World Summit for Children.
72. Mr. Millo (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that children were the world’s most precious possession and should be protected from sickness, poverty, violence, neglect and the horrors of war. To that end, it was particularly necessary to teach them moral values and instruct them in human rights, tolerance and democracy.
73. Children were especially vulnerable and should be sheltered from conflicts and political disputes. Urging them to participate in violence, using them as human shields during violent protests, training them to be holy warriors and glorifying martyrdom through educational programmes was immoral and illegal, under every code of law. The Palestinian leadership should be aware that children who resorted to violence would grow up in a society of terror. More than 95 per cent of Palestinians did not live under Israeli control; they already lived under the Palestinian Authority.
74. The death of any child was a tragedy and Israel deeply regretted casualties among innocent Palestinian civilians killed unintentionally in crossfire. For too many years, Israeli children had been victims of terrorism: they had been deliberately targeted by Palestinian snipers and suicide bombers, and slaughtered and stoned by terrorists. It was necessary to find a way of making the world free from terrorism and fit for children.
75. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the statement by the representative of Israel was full of distortions. He claimed that the interests and education of children were a priority of the Israeli Government. The principal way to protect children, particularly Palestinian children, was to end the occupation.
76. Israel had repeated countless times that more than 95 per cent of Palestinians lived under the Palestinian Authority; but all of Palestine, including Jerusalem, was occupied territory, because there were Israeli tanks in Palestinian cities and villages throughout the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, known as Area A.
77. In that regard, two days earlier, Israeli forces had occupied an area under the Palestinian Authority and seized the village of Beit Rima, using full military force. They had killed a number of Palestinians, injured many others and abducted several individuals. The exact number remained unclear because the Israeli occupying forces had cordoned off the village and, according to ICRC, had prevented ambulances from entering. That added an act of State terrorism to Israeli war crimes, despite all the calls for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from the areas that it had recently occupied.
The meeting rose at 12.30 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.