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        General Assembly
9 November 2001

Original: English

General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
Official Records
Third Committee

Summary record of the 23rd meeting

Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 29 October 2001, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Al-Hinai ................................................................. (Oman)


Agenda item 115: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.20 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)

Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

12. Ms. Al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that the report of the Special Representative focused on certain areas of the world when dealing with the impact of armed conflict on children to the exclusion of others, and it would be interesting to know why it had only looked at countries such as Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and the Congo when there was armed conflict in many other areas of Africa.

13. Her delegation considered that children were not being forcibly recruited. They joined the armed conflict for other reasons, some of which were mentioned in both the report of the Secretary-General and that of the Special Representative: absence of work, lack of family ties, poverty and ill-understood ideologies. It would have been useful if the Special Representative had commented on the impact of the armed conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and on the pain inflicted on the children of Iraq and Afghanistan; those cases should be included in his next report.


17. Mr. Otunnu (Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict) ...


21. Lastly, with regard to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the killing and victimization of children was of special concern to his Office. As for children affected by the sanctions regime in Iraq, in previous reports he had referred specifically to that case and others, urging the Security Council and other entities responsible for sanctions to do more to ensure that children were not the most-affected parties, in particular with regard to their education, nutrition and health. To date, it had not been possible to target sanctions in such a way as to spare innocent children.


25. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic), echoing the view expressed at a previous meeting by the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, said that the report of the Special Representative (A/56/453) showed evidence of selectivity in that it had yet again failed to mention the situation of children living under foreign occupation. Ignoring the problem would hardly help relieve the plight of such children.


32. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) joined with previous speakers in regretting that the reports before the Committee — like other reports prepared by the Secretariat — systematically ignored the plight of children living under foreign occupation. Although the issue had been addressed in United Nations resolutions, little attention was given to the implementation of those resolutions. In the previous year alone, over 200 Palestinian children had been killed at the hands of the occupying force. Palestinians could not even bring a single tin of milk into the territory without the approval of the Israeli authorities. The international community must not eschew its responsibilities in respect of Palestinian children.


33. The Chairman invited the Committee to resume its general discussion of agenda item 115.


79. Mr. Gabay (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that certain delegations had used the general discussion of the protection of children’ s rights to politicize the debate and level criticism at Israel. Israeli children, too, were victims of terrorism. Delegation after delegation had taken issue with the absence of any mention of children under foreign occupation in the Special Representative’s report, and had obviously not been satisfied by his replies.

80. Children in many regions suffered from the impact of armed conflict. However, the conflict in the Middle East had arisen from a situation imposed on Israel. He did not deny that children in the occupied territories suffered, but indoctrination would not alleviate their suffering, nor would inculcating in them a hatred of Jews or encouraging them to engage in bloody demonstrations organized by the Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah or Hamas. Their suffering might, however, be alleviated through basic education imparted in official schools. Their suffering was the direct consequence of the climate of terror prevailing in the region, which naturally led to armed responses, just as the Israeli delegation had been obliged to invoke the right of reply in the Committee in order to defend itself against attacks.

81. Tuesday, 11 September, had taught all the world about the horrors of terrorism, which Israel had known since its creation. Palestinians had been responsible for the first aeroplane hijackings as early as the 1960s, not to mention the attacks on Jewish centres, schools and embassies, hostage-taking and the explosion of “human bombs” among civilians.

82. He suggested that the Secretary-General should include in his next report the situation of children under the influence of terrorism, which was more than likely to escalate, and the physical and moral impact it had on their future and basic rights. Israel would never yield to terrorism. Only when Israeli children’s passion for life had ended such violence would peace come to the Middle East.


The meeting rose at 1.15 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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