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33. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that, despite progress made, millions of women were still deprived of their human rights, which limited their opportunities, thereby hindering the development of their societies. The international community must ensure promotion of women’s rights through implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Conference and the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. She deplored the tragic human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, which was directly attributable to the longest military occupation in modern history. The toll of systematic human rights violations by Israel, the occupying Power, on Palestinian women and their families could not be over-emphasized. Palestinian society had been shredded and families devastated. While Palestinian women, like women everywhere, continued to fight inequality and discrimination in their society, the occupation and its effects further aggravated the obstacles to women’s social, economic and political adv ancement.
34. Palestinian women strived to live in a free, democratic and secure environment for themselves and their families in the face of some of the cruellest practices of the occupying Power: loved ones killed; homes bulldozed; lands destroyed; orchards uprooted; ever-expanding settlements; and the unlawful separation wall. Restrictions on Palestinians’ movements within the occupied Palestinian territory, with more than 600 checkpoints, were a special hardship for Palestinian women. Since 2000, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 69 women had given birth at Israeli checkpoints, leading to 35 miscarriages and many deaths of pregnant women.
35. The international community must prevail on Israel to facilitate access by pregnant women to medical care, as required by international humanitarian law and hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and crimes against Palestinian women. In that context she noted that inadequate medical care during pregnancy was the third cause of mortality among Palestinian women of reproductive age; 18,000 of the 117,000 pregnant women in the occupied Palestinian territory would suffer poor pregnancy outcomes due to the lack of adequate health care.
36. Illegal Israeli policies had devastated the Palestinian economy, placing an exceptional burden on Palestinian women. As a result of the Israeli occupation and physical, institutional and administrative restrictions, the Palestinian economy was in a precipitous decline. Poverty and unemployment were rampant, especially in the Gaza Strip, where 1.1 million of 1.5 million people were dependent on food aid. Access to medical care, food, clean water and fuel continued to be obstructed. Urgent assistance must be provided to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, in particular women and their children. The international community must demand that Israel meet its obligations in that regard.
37. Despite the relaunching of the peace process in Annapolis in 2007, Israeli human rights violations continued and some had intensified. Palestinian women looked to the international community and international law to protect their rights and act as guarantors of the peace and security that they aspired to. Israel must however cease its illegal practices, end its occupation and allow for an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Only then could real progress be made towards the advancement of all women in the region.
The meeting rose at 12 noon.
1 To be issued.
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.