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


WOM/1391
6 March 2003

Commission on Status of Women
Forty-seventh Session
7th Meeting (AM & PM)

WOMEN’S ACCESS TO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES NEEDED
TO ERADICATE POVERTY, CREATE ECONOMICALLY JUST,
DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES, WOMEN’S COMMISSION TOLD

Speakers Also Raise Issues of HIV/AIDS Impact,
Vulnerability of Women to Trafficking, Legislation to Advance Rights


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Background

The Commission on the Status of Women met today to conclude its general discussion.

Statements

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RANIA AL-HAJ ALI (Syria) ...

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Discussion of women’s human rights must include all violations of such rights, she stressed.  Israel had continued to violate human rights and international law in the occupied territories.  She urged the Commission to find justice for Palestinian women, using all means it had at its disposal.

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Rights of Reply

The representative of Israel, speaking in right of reply, said he deeply regretted statements during the general debate that had revealed contempt for the objectives delegations were collectively seeking to advance in the Commission.  Those delegates motivated by humanitarian concerns should probably redirect their criticisms towards those who had continued to obstruct peace efforts through terrorist acts.  Israel had consistently shown its readiness to pursue peace, while the Palestinian side had continued a path of violence, which often affected women and children.  He urged the Palestinians to advance the rights of women through peaceful dialogue with Israel.

The observer of Palestine, exercising her right of reply, highlighted two points that she believed important, since the Israeli delegation seemed to have a short memory.  First of all, the Palestinian leadership had condemned all recent bombings.  At the same time, Israel was occupying entire regions and was systematically violating human rights.  She wanted to hear, if only once, Israel condemning its own systematic violations of human rights.  Second, the issue of the plight of the Palestinian women had been on the agenda of the Commission for 20 years.  It was the United Nations responsibility to solve the situation of Palestinian women.  Therefore, talking about their situation was in no way politicizing the work of the Commission.

The representative of Israel said he regretted the loss of lives, whether they were Israeli or Palestinian.  The idea that they had been premeditated or planned was an audacity.  Israel had an urgent need to protect its citizens.  Palestinian terrorists were nurtured by the current leadership.  Those individuals who had expressed regret for Israeli lives were the same ones who gave orders causing the loss of Israeli lives.  Israel must attempt to ensure that its citizens had the greatest right of all –- the right to life.  Its efforts had been severely hindered by Palestinian terrorists who had launched attacks against Israel.  He urged Palestinians to fight terrorists, rather than engaging in the time-consuming and fruitless endeavour of attacking Israel in a United Nations forum.

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For information media - not an official record