Press Release

9 April 2003


GENEVA, 9 April (UN Information Service) -- The Commission on Human Rights opened debate this afternoon under its agenda item on "integration of the human rights of women and a gender perspective", hearing a series of countries describe national efforts to eradicate violence against women and improve the situation of women overall.


General Debate on Integration of Human Rights of Women


SOUHEILA ABBAS (Syria) said the Syrian Constitution guaranteed women’s rights and emphasized equity between men and women.  Some pieces of legislation even gave women more rights, protecting them, for example, from physically demanding labour.  Measures had also been taken to ensure that women enjoyed greater economic freedom.  Women were active at all levels of society, including in diplomacy and the judiciary.  Thirty per cent of members of Parliament were women.  Women had a great impact on the development of society, given that they constituted half of society.

Syria had recently hosted a forum called women and development.  The forum, held with the participation of major personalities from the Arab world and promoters of women’s rights, was aimed at improving the situation of women.

The abolition of discrimination against women was essential if sustainable development was to be achieved.  It must be stressed that in several parts of the world women were affected by war and economic blockades.  Women in the Golan were denied basic rights such as the right to health.  The international community was urged to put pressure to bear on Israel to stop its occupation of Arab lands.  Syria also condemned the war waged against Iraq in the name of colonial greed.


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