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7 May 2002
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May 8th, 10 AM: PRESS CONFERENCE AT EQUALITY NOW
: Alia Levine, Campaign Director, (212) 586-0906, firstname.lastname@example.org
PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI WOMEN ADDRESS THE UN SECURITY
CALLING FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING FORCE
AND THE INCLUSION OF WOMEN IN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.
NEW YORK, May 8
- Yesterday the United Nations Security Council held an Arria Formula meeting requested by
, an international women's rights organization, with Palestinian
Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shamas
. The two women, accompanied by
and other supporters, jointly addressed the Security Council urging the immediate deployment of an international peacekeeping force to the region and calling for a greater role for women, and for civil society, in the peace process. Chairing the closed session, the Norwegian Ambassador to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ole Peter Kolby, welcomed the initiative, noting that in their extensive recent discussions on the Middle East this was the first opportunity the Security Council had had to hear the views of women from the region.
Equality Now requested this meeting of the Security Council in an effort to bring meaning to Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security, adopted in October 2000. Resolution 1325 affirms the importance of equal participation and the full involvement of women in all efforts in the maintenance of peace.
Yesterday, both Ms. Abu-Dayyeh Shamas and Ms. Greenblatt called for equal (50%) representation of women on all sides in the planned upcoming peace negotiations organized by the so-called Quartet (the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia). The women also urged the Security Council to take the next step and rise to the challenge of creating a means through which women can contribute formally and integrally to Middle East conflict resolution efforts, for example by creating a women's commission of peace activists from both countries and third parties.
"You need us," said Ms. Greenblatt speaking on the role of women, "because we have developed a process that keeps authentic and productive dialogue moving forward, even as the violence escalates and both sides continue to terrorize one another. We have developed the courage to cross the lines of difference drawn between us." Ms. Abu-Dayyeh Shamas urged the Security Council not to give up on the region despite all the setbacks experienced lately. "Peace is made between peoples and not between leaders," she said. "The participation of women in any future peace process is essential. If we leave it only to men we get Israeli generals and Palestinians who will not be defeated and there is no room to negotiate." Following the meeting, upon learning of the latest suicide bombing that day in Israel, the two women underlined the urgency of their plea, noting that incidents of violence accelerate the need for dialogue and must not be allowed to stop efforts for peace from moving forward.
Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shamas
, the Palestinian Founder and Director of Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), in East Jerusalem. Ms. Abu-Dayyeh Shamas is also on the Board of The Jerusalem Center for Women.
, Director of Bat Shalom, an Israeli women's peace organization. Bat Shalom, together with The Jerusalem Center for Women, a Palestinian women's peace organization, comprise The Jerusalem Link, an organization of Israeli and Palestinian women working for peace.
is an international human rights organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of women's rights. With more than 25,000 members in over 100 countries, Equality Now mobilizes public opinion to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, to promote equal access to health, education, employment, and political participation.