UNISPAL Home

Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

Commission on Human Rights
MORNING
HR/CN/05/34
6 April 2005

COMMISSION HEARS FROM SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS
ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS, UN ADVISER ON GENDER ISSUES

Continues General Debate on Integration of Human Rights of Women
and the Gender Perspective, Including Violence against Women


The Commission on Human Rights this morning continued its consideration of the integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective, hearing presentations by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children; and the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women.


Yakin Erturk, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, said the number of women living with HIV had increased in every region of the world, and women's vulnerability to the pandemic remained largely rooted in pervasive gender inequality and discrimination, which was often manifested in multiple forms of violence. Her report included recommendations in five key areas: ending violence against women; addressing the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS and associated stigma; ensuring women's equal access to healthcare; empowering women for full enjoyment of all human rights; and promoting a global coalition against HIV/AIDS. She also spoke about her missions to El Salvador, Guatemala, the occupied Palestinian territories and Sudan.


...


Israel said this was the time to welcome the Special Rapporteur's call to the Palestinian authorities for zero tolerance regarding terrorism. Some of the observations made by the Special Rapporteur had been noted, and would be considered attentively. On the substance of the report, Israel was in agreement with some aspects of the Special Rapporteur's conclusions, while with others, it was not. All were aware of the negative impact of any conflict on any population at any time, nevertheless, Israel could not acquiesce in the Special Rapporteur's conclusion that the social maladies affecting women in the Palestinian territories, and more specifically, the elevated degree of violence against women, emanated all from the occupation


Palestine said Palestinian women suffered countless forms of violence under Israeli occupation, which systematically violated their fundamental rights to live in freedom, security and dignity. Destruction of property and consequent homelessness, hunger and despair had exacerbated the vulnerability of Palestinian women and overburdened them with heavy responsibilities within their households to an extent that they were gradually stripped of their capacity to cope with their adverse realities. Despite these deterring challenges, Palestinian women continued to be pro-active members of their communities, as evidenced in their high electoral participation.


...


Documents on Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective

Under its agenda item "integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective: violence against women", the Commission has before it several documents.


...

There is the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk (E/CN.4/2005/72), which summarizes the activities of the Special Rapporteur in 2004 and contains a study of the intersection of violence against women and HIV/AIDS. The report analyses the interconnections between violence against women and HIV/AIDS, considering violence both as a cause and a consequence of HIV. It examines how the various types of violence to which women are subject, from the domicile to the transnational arena, increase the risks of transmission of HIV; the ways in which stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence are experienced by women living with HIV, as well as the obstacles to women's access to medical care and justice. It notes that States have yet to create integrated and effective responses dealing with gender inequality as the root cause and consequence of the gender-specific manifestations of the disease. The report ends with recommendations for an effective and integrated strategy to fight the spread of the deadly disease in the context of the intersections between violence against women and HIV under five broad categories: gender-based violence; the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS; women's access to health care; empowerment of women; and the global coalition against HIV/AIDS.

The first addendum to the report (Add.1) contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of general individual allegations, as well as urgent appeals transmitted to Governments between 1 January to 31 December 2004, as well as replies received during the same period. During the period under review, the report notes, the Special Rapporteur transmitted 113 communications on behalf of 338 people to the Governments of 44 countries.


...


The fourth addendum to the report (Add.4) is on the mission of the Special Rapporteur to the occupied Palestinian territory in June 2004. The report highlights the role of Israeli security measures on human rights and humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory. Within such a disenabling environment, an integrated system of violence at the intersection of occupation and patriarchy subjugates women through a continuum of violence linking all spheres of life. Women experience violence as a direct and indirect effect of security measures, as well as violence within the family and community that is heightened as a result of the security situation. In creating an enabling environment to combat violence in the territory, it is important that Israel immediately cease its violations of international law and that a sustainable resolution of the conflict be reached. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government of Israel to observe international law to ensure the rights and protection of Palestinian civilians, with particular emphasis on the right to health and the provision for expectant mothers and the ill to receive immediate access to medical care. She also calls on the Palestinian Authority to adopt a policy of zero tolerance to all forms of violence, including terrorism; to work toward the development of a democratic, secular State that protects women's rights, among other things.

...


Presentation by Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

YAKIN ERTURK,
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, said ...

...

... On the visit to the occupied Palestinian territories: the direct and indirect impact of security measures often had specific and compounded consequences for women, while gender inequality was often more pronounced in conflict and crisis situations.

...


Response by Concerned Countries

...


ITZHAK LEVANON (Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said the Special Rapporteur on violence against women had conducted her work in a manner to be commended, trying to reflect the reality on the ground in an objective manner. Not all aspects of this reality had been clarified, basically due to the inherent patriarchal nature of the society being dealt with. This was the time to welcome the Special Rapporteur's call to the Palestinian authorities for zero tolerance regarding terrorism. Some of the observations made by the Special Rapporteur had been noted, and would be considered attentively. On the substance of the report, Israel was in agreement with some aspects of the Special Rapporteur's conclusions, while with others, it was not. All were aware of the negative impact of any conflict on any population at any time, nevertheless, Israel could not acquiesce in the Special Rapporteur's conclusion that the social maladies affecting women in the Palestinian territories, and more specifically, the elevated degree of violence against women, emanated all from the occupation. There were other factors that played a preponderant role, and which deserved to be considered in the report.

There was no doubt that an objective analysis of the circumstances and their resulting effects on daily life would demonstrate that violence against women in many parts of the world was despairing and there was a need for substantial improvement. The encouraging process between Israelis and Palestinians after the summit of Sharm el- Sheikh would impact on the situation of Palestinian and Israeli women, and the tangible improvements on the ground would generate a new climate, the direct expression of which would be a marked improvement in their lives.


NADINE HASSASSIAN (
Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said Palestinian women suffered countless forms of violence under Israeli occupation, which systematically violated their fundamental rights to live in freedom, security and dignity. Killings, arrests and detentions, dispersion, restrictions on movement, house demolitions and expropriation of property were amongst a list of Israeli practices which made the lives of Palestinian women extremely unbearable and insecure. The deteriorating economic and social conditions brought about by the Israeli closure regime and the wall led to abject poverty and an alarmingly high unemployment rate, thus rendering many women increasingly dependent on emergency assistance including food aid. Destruction of property and consequent homelessness, hunger and despair had exacerbated the vulnerability of Palestinian women and overburdened them with heavy responsibilities within their households to an extent that they were gradually stripped of their capacity to cope with their adverse realities. Moreover, Israeli aggression and oppression had put Palestinian mothers under extensive physical and psychological stress, which adversely impacted the health and development of their children.

Despite these deterring challenges, Palestinian women continued to be pro-active members of their communities, as evidenced in their high electoral participation. In fact, the Palestinian National Authority had enacted legislation with positive discrimination to promote women's involvement in various leading positions, and had established a fully-fledged ministry which devised strategies towards women's development and actively contributed to the legislation process. International instruments and covenants emphasised the rights of women and children, and these had been established with a clear understanding that they were to be applied to all nations, and international bodies relentlessly affirmed their applicability to the Palestinian people. The time was ripe for these bodies to actively redress Israeli breaches of these rights. Reiterating and asserting the rights of Palestinian women and children and condemning Israeli violations of these rights was not enough to bring about justice and freedom to Palestinian women and their families. What was now desperately needed from the international community was to move beyond reporting and to put pressure on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and to end its decades of occupation.

...

General Debate on the Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective

...

NAJAT AL-HAJJAJI (Libya, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group), ...

...

Arab countries had adopted various strategies and had taken a number of measures aimed at developing women's capacities in the enjoyment of equal opportunities with men. However, regional conflicts and violence had been an obstacle to the full enjoyment of the rights of women and remained a challenge to some Arab women. Palestinian women continued to suffer from the different forms of violence by the Israeli occupation forces, including violations of the right to life. The suffering to which the Palestinian women were subjected had considerably increased, notably over the past five years. It was imperative to provide protection to women in all circumstances, including women affected by armed conflicts, political prisoners, and women living under occupation, and to ensure the right of female refugees, displaced persons and migrants to return. The international community should put pressure on Israel in order it respect its international obligations.


...



* *** *


For use of information media; not an official record
______________________________________________________________________
For information media - not an official record