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


Fifty-second General Assembly
Third Committee
12th Meeting (AM)
GA/SHC/3421
23 October 1997



LEGISLATION NOT ENOUGH TO OVERCOME CULTURAL ATTITUDES, PRACTICES

INHIBITING EQUAL TREATMENT FOR WOMEN, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD


Committee Concludes Consideration of Women's Advancement,
Implementation of Outcome of 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women


Legislative measures were not enough to overcome social and cultural attitudes and practices that inhibited women from attaining equal treatment, the representative of Malta said this morning, as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) concluded its consideration of issues relating to the advancement of women.

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Statements

OMAR OBEID AL-SHAMSI (United Arab Emirates) ...

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He said that Palestinian and other Arab women were suffering under Israeli occupation and called on the international community to prevail on Israel to end that situation. Muslim law aimed to help Arab women in various ways, including ensuring the rights of mothers. His country's national plan included elements for protection, training and education and for improving the health of women. Concepts which prevented women's full participation in society must be changed. There was a need to implement more programmes and plans for the advancement of women in a way that would help society advance, both regionally and internationally.

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SOMAIA S. BARGHOUTI, observer for Palestine said the Platform for Action gave attention to women living under foreign occupation. Palestinian women strove for peace, freedom and prosperity, yet they faced the harsh reality of the continuing Israeli occupation. That occupation greatly impeded their efforts to improve conditions and advance their status. It continued to affect the daily lives of the Palestinian people, particularly women and children.

Israeli actions included the building and expansion of colonial settlements, ongoing confiscation of land and water and the closure of the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, he said. Those policies had a detrimental effect on the overall conditions of Palestinian women and children and posed real obstacles to their advancement. Furthermore, as the result of the long years of occupation, there had been an increase in the number of refugees and displaced persons, more break-ups of families, a deterioration of health conditions, a decline in education and an increase in unemployment.

Despite such obstacles, Palestinian women continued to participate actively in the international community's efforts on issues relating to the advancement and empowerment of women and specific steps had been taken towards implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, she said. Diligent efforts had been taken at the official and grass-roots levels to produce a national strategy for the advancement of Palestinian women. The development of Palestinian women's political, economic, social and legal status could not be isolated from the general political situation of the Palestinian people as a whole.

The level of their participation in decisions-making positions did not fulfil the aspirations of Palestinian women and did not reflect their determination to attain reach more satisfactory results, she said. It was time for the international community to intensify efforts to increase their assistance to Palestinian women during the current difficult time of their struggle for independence, freedom and prosperity. She cited, in particular, the need to integrate a gender perspective in all policies and programmes of the United Nations system towards the advancement and empowerment of Palestinian women.


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