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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/C.12/2001/SR.35
22 August 2001

Original: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

Twenty-sixth (extraordinary) session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 35th MEETING

Held at the Palais Wilson, Geneva,

on Wednesday, 15 August 2001, at 3 p.m.

Chairperson: Ms. BONOAN-DANDAN

CONTENTS


CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS:

(a) REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT (continued)

Third periodic report of the Syrian Arab Republic (continued)



The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
/...

19. Mr. SALLOUM (Syrian Arab Republic) said that he was not familiar with CDF and that information provided by that organization was likely to be inaccurate or even totally false, such as the statistics on the percentage of the population living below the poverty line. Apparently all Committee members were using the same source of information, yet those who visited the country would realize that the real situation was being misrepresented. In response to comments made about the difficulty Syrians had in earning an adequate living, he acknowledged that wages were not as high as the Government would wish, for the reasons outlined earlier. He had not complained about the high population growth, but had merely stated the facts. There were family planning programmes, as a result of which the rate of population growth had decreased from 3.8 per cent to 2.45 per cent. However, some 250,000 new children were entering school each year, which was clearly a burden on the education system. Reforms had been introduced to cope with the situation.

20. A further problem was that since 1948 Syria had suffered the consequences of its relations with Israel, which had deteriorated with the occupation of Syrian territory in 1967 during the Six Day War. Eighty-five per cent of the population had been expelled from that territory. Syria also provided a home for some 400,000 Palestinian refugees, who enjoyed the same rights as Syrian citizens, save access to a diplomatic career. Under the relevant United Nations resolutions those refugees should be able to return to their homeland. The Syrian authorities would look into the possibility of granting the few remaining rights they were currently deprived of for those who opted to stay in Syria.

/...

The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.

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