Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
Summary record of the 16th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 16 October 2009, at 10 a.m.
Chairperson: Mr. Penke .................................................................................. (Latvia)
Agenda item 65: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)
(a) Promotion and protection of the rights of children (continued)
(b) Follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children (continued)
58. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said she was deeply distressed that, despite the international community’s promises, the rights of the child continued to be violated throughout the world. The significant gap between international legal standards pertaining to the rights of the child and the implementation of measures to promote and safeguard those rights meant that the culprits went unpunished, thus perpetuating the suffering of children. Such suffering had short- and long-term consequences for the whole of society and damaged the prospects for peace and development.
59. In Palestine, nearly all the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law and human rights law were constantly being violated by the occupying Power, Israel. In the refugee camps or in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, millions of Palestinian children lived in poverty, insecurity, oppression, discrimination, humiliation and terror and were the targets of excessive, indiscriminate and lethal acts of violence committed by Israeli forces. That situation had never been more evident than during the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip in 2008, where a third of the Palestinians killed were children, and where hundreds of them had been injured. Civilian neighbourhoods and property had been directly targeted by the occupying Power, which had also attacked humanitarian workers, wantonly destroyed civilian infrastructure, blocked humanitarian aid and access to medical treatment for the wounded and sick and deprived the people of their fundamental rights to food and water. Those acts were not only serious, systematic violations of international law but also war crimes, for which accountability must be pursued. Moreover, Palestinian children continued to suffer from collective punishment in Gaza, where the situation was already dire before the Israeli attack, owing to the long siege during which Israel had deliberately blocked humanitarian access and the movement of persons and goods, considerably aggravating the existing humanitarian crisis.
60. Given that independent inquiries into Israel’s assault on Gaza confirmed that Israel had committed grave breaches of international law, the international community should take the necessary steps to pursue accountability for those crimes; otherwise it would be impossible to heal the wounds of the Palestinian people and reconcile the ideals of a world fit for children with the realities of the Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.
64. Ms. Simovich (Israel) ...
66. Although it already had a set of laws and policies protecting the rights of minors, Israel had recently begun a reform of the way minors were dealt with in the criminal justice system, stressing rehabilitation over punitive measures. Special arrangements were made for children with disabilities, with the goal of integrating them into regular schools. Convinced of the importance of education in exposing children to a pluralistic environment, Israel had established a number of multicultural schools. Government efforts were complemented by civil society initiatives such as the Peres Center for Peace, which organized extracurricular programmes for Israeli and Palestinian children.
67. Unfortunately, some children were growing up under the threat of terrorism or were the victims of terrorism. A growing number of children, as noted in the report by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, were being recruited to carry out acts of terrorism, including suicide bombings, the worst imaginable form of child exploitation. Israel was disappointed that the Special Representative’s report gave barely any mention of the practices of indoctrination and incitement to violence instilled by schools and the media. The international community must work together to abolish all practices that victimized children and, in the meanwhile, do everything in its power to protect them.
68. Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) ...
71. Unreservedly supporting the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and the extension of her mandate to all forms of violence against children in armed conflicts, his delegation hoped that the systematic violations of Palestinian children’s rights, as confirmed in a number of international reports, would be noted when the Special Representatives presented their reports and taken into account in future reports.
93. Ms. Al Kendi (United Arab Emirates) ...
97. Many children were living in deplorable conditions and were deprived of their basic rights because of poverty, armed conflict or foreign occupation. The plight of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip was of particular concern. As the situation of children reflected that of society in general, it was important to provide sustained assistance to countries suffering from such problems, in order to enable them to provide for the well-being of their children.
The meeting rose at 1 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.