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


Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Third Committee
16th Meeting (AM)
GA/SHC/3698
11 October 2002



VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN LINKED TO POVERTY, ARMED CONFLICT, THIRD COMMITTEE
TOLD, AS DISCUSSION OF WOMEN’S ISSUES CONCLUDES


As the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) concluded its consideration of the advancement of women this morning, delegations condemned all forms of violence and discrimination against women, including social injustices like domestic violence, rape, trafficking in women, and killing in the name of honour.  Many speakers highlighted the link between violence against women with poverty and armed conflicts.

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The observer of Palestine also addressed the Committee this morning, as did representatives from the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The representative of Israel and the observer of Palestine exercised their right of reply.

The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. to being its consideration of the promotion and protection of children.

Background

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SAID SHIHAB AHMAD (Iraq) ...

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... Iraq also drew attention to the grave humanitarian situation faced by Palestinian women living under Israeli occupation.  Those women suffered daily violence and degradation.  He called on the international community to ensure that Israel adhered to international human rights instruments and norms.

RANIA AL HAJ ALI (Syria) ...

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... She stressed that the international community must implement all parts of the Beijing platform of action -- rights had to be enjoyed by all women, not only by some.  In this context, women under foreign occupation had their human rights violated.  Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian women living under Israeli occupation were suffering from the occupation of land and a policy of oppression.  Women’s associations in Syria would continue to follow the situation of women in the Syrian Golan.  The occupation must end, or the talk of advancement of women would seem rather pointless. 

NADYA RASHEED, observer of Palestine, said all women aspired to achieve the goals and objectives embodied in the plans of action adopted over the years by the international community.  Palestinian women were no different -- they held the same aspirations.  However, 35 years under Israeli occupation had seriously hampered efforts for their advancement and empowerment.  In addition, as the situation of Palestinian women had deteriorated even more severely in the past two years, any attempts to implement international objectives now appeared nearly impossible.  The situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, had degenerated at an alarming rate, impacting the social, economic, educational, health and cultural life of all Palestinian families.  Since 28 September 2000, the Palestinian people had been subjected to innumerable war crimes, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations by the Israeli occupying forces.

She said in light of all that, any hopes the Palestinian women had to pursue initiatives and national programmes geared towards their advancement and full participation in building the society in which they lived had all but diminished.  Moreover, women's organizations and charitable societies, like all Palestinian NGOs, had suffered considerable financial losses due to the policies and measures imposed by the Israeli occupying forces.  The denial of freedom and the right to self-determination was the major impediment to development of all Palestinians in the occupied territories.  One could not seriously address the advancement of the rights of women forced to live under such conditions.  The international community must take urgent action to bring an end to all Israeli crimes and actions against the Palestinian people and end the occupation.

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Right of Reply

Exercising the right of reply, the representative of Israel recalled a recent incident in which a young women just 28 years old had been blown up by a Palestinian suicide bomber with ten of her friends at a cafe.  That was only one example of a growing list of victims of Palestinian terror.  He added that the international community was witnessing a growing number of Palestinian women committing themselves to acts of terror and suicide bombing -- supporting death rather than life.  The world had also witnessed Palestinian mothers praising the efforts of those children that had been responsible for the killing of innocent civilians.  He would have expected the observer of Palestine to express an unequivocal condemnation of violence in her statement.  Sadly, that had not been the case. 

In reply, the observer of Palestine said not surprisingly, the statement of the Israeli delegation was full of distortion and inaccuracies.  The Palestinian people had always condemned all acts of terror against civilians.  By disregarding that position, Israel had taken the opportunity to continue its military campaign and cycle of violence that had overshadowed any attempts to move toward peace. Even in times of relative calm, Israel had continued its actions.  All had witnessed the killing of some 17 Palestinians by Israeli forces Monday -- many of them had been men and children.  Those actions had been condemned by the Secretary-General, but Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had called the action "a success".  She reasserted her position and conviction that a solution could be reached only thorough diplomatic negotiation.

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