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        General Assembly
21 January 1994


Third Committee
37th meeting
held on
Thursday, 18 November 1993
at 10 a.m.
New York


Chairman: Mr. KUKAN (Slovakia)





The meeting was called to order at 10.40 a.m.


AGENDA ITEM 111: ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN (conclusion) (A/48/3 (chap. VII.C), A/48/38, 98, A/48/124-S/25506, A/48/182, A/48/187-E/1993/76, A/48/279, 301, 338, 354, 359, 413, 513, 546, and 591; A/C.3/48/6, A/C.3/48/10, A/C.3/48/L.5)

4. Mrs. BARGHOUTI (Observer for Palestine) said that she was convinced that the development of any society depended greatly on the level of the advancement of women. The Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace, to be held in September 1995, would permit review of the situation of women and adoption of a new strategy and plan of action aimed at improving their condition at all levels. Its success would depend largely on the preparatory process, particularly the regional and local conferences. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by consensus at the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993, considered that the human rights of women were an inalienable and integral part of universal human rights. The Declaration stated that "the full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex were priority objectives of the international community.

5. The advancement of women, their integration in development and their achievement of full equality were objectives that could not be realized unless peace, freedom and democracy prevailed. Therefore, it was urgent to bring an end to the sufferings which they still endured as a result of war, apartheid, occupation and foreign domination. While women's problems varied from one society to another, certain issues were common to most women and should receive greater attention: discrimination, violence, extreme poverty and the situation of women living under colonial or foreign domination, apartheid and occupation.

6. The only way to improve the situation of Palestinian women, who were still being denied their fundamental rights, was to end the Israeli occupation. The Palestinians could thus exercise their right to self-determination and independence, which would facilitate the integration and participation of Palestinian women in the development of their society. The United Nations had a responsibility to find a just solution to the question of Palestine. In that regard, the Palestinian delegation thanked the Secretary-General for the report on the situation of Palestinian women in the occupied territory (E/CN.6/1993/10). He had noted that the situation of Palestinian women in the occupied territory remained characterized by the state of military occupation, and all women were affected by the political consequences of the occupation. He noted that many Palestinian women had been administratively detained without being charged, while many others were subjected to torture and various forms of harassment. As for Palestinian children, few had not suffered ill-treatment, both physical and psychological, at the hands of the Israelis. The report of the Secretary-General, however, did not address sufficiently the problem of the expulsion of women or men married to Palestinians but who did not have residency in the occupied territory. The Israeli authorities seemed to consider that family reunification was not a right, but a privilege to be granted at their discretion.

7. The positive developments in the situation in the Middle East, particularly the signing of the Declaration of Principles and the exchange of mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, gave the Palestinian delegation strong cause to hope for a return to normality in the Middle East. Until it had been achieved, the international community, particularly the United Nations, should exert more efforts to assist and protect the Palestinian people. Such assistance was more essential than ever if the implementation of the agreement was to be successful. Her delegation thanked all Governments, non-governmental organizations and the various United Nations organizations and agencies, particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF, WHO and Amnesty International, all of whom had given constant proof of their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The meeting was suspended at 11.30 a.m. and resumed at noon.


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