Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

10 June 2000

General Assembly Plenary
Twenty-third Special Session
10th Meeting (PM, Night & Resumed)
and Round-up of Session


Adopts Political Declaration, ‘Further Actions and Initiatives’;
Assembly President Notes ‘No Backward Movement’ on Language of Beijing

The twenty-third special session of the General Assembly “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century” concluded today, with governments reaffirming their commitment to the goals and objectives contained in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.

Adopting its outcome document, containing a Political Declaration and “Further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action", delegates agreed that, although significant positive elements could be identified, barriers remained, and they pledged to take further action to ensure the full and accelerated implementation of the Platform.


HUSSEIN HASSOUNA, Chairman of the observer delegation of the League of Arab States: The implementation of the Platform for Action in the region has brought Arab women closer to their aspirations. Considerable achievements have been made and positive steps taken to improve their status. The Department of Women’s Affairs, part of the Arab League, is responsible for implementing relevant decisions and national strategies, such as the recruitment of women to decision-making positions. However, in spite of those gains, the progress of Arab women has had some failures. A number of global political, economic and social factors have affected governments, and certain objectives to ensure the equality of women have not been given international priority.

Under those circumstances, necessary measures to safeguard women and to create an enabling environment for them must be adopted. Attempts must be made to alleviate poverty and to create decent living standards. Attempts must also continue towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. All prisoners of war and conflict must be freed. Furthermore, a successful outcome of this event must be achieved while respecting differences between cultures and values.


HODA BADRAN, Chairperson, Alliance for Arab Women: Efforts are still needed to achieve equality in, among others, the following areas: ensuring freedom of NGOs and providing the necessary support for their work; reviewing and changing the existing legislation, including family laws, existing textbooks and media messages to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women; and the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol.

We call for more democracy -- socially, economically and politically -- to allow women to participate effectively in all public decisions. We need protection for women activists and intellectuals against violence and reactionary campaigns, and against intimidation of free-thinking. Resources to address women's needs have to be increased nationally and internationally.

The region has witnessed immense problems causing suffering of its women and affecting governments' efforts to implement the Platform for Action. Palestinian women have suffered and are still suffering from displacement, and along with Syrian women are in distress from Israeli occupation. Iraqi, Sudanese and Libyan women are suffering from economic sanctions and embargoes. We demand the honouring of United Nations resolutions and real, just peace, the lifting of sanctions and freeing of prisoners from Israeli and Arab prisons.

The meeting was then suspended.

* *** *

For information media - not an official record