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


GA/10019
9 May 2002

General Assembly
Twenty-seventh Special Session
3rd Meeting (AM)

AS ASSEMBLY CONTINUES SPECIAL SESSION, SPEAKERS ADDRESS

NEGATIVE IMPACT OF ARMED CONFLICT ON CHILDREN


Among the key issues raised this morning as the General Assembly special session on children continued its general debate were the negative impact of armed conflict on children and the need to put an end to their exploitation.

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The President of Bahrain's Supreme Council of Women said that by condemning all offences perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces, the international community would be taking a moral and humanitarian stand that could end Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people. Events in the occupied Palestinian territories not only violated international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, but also constituted a breach of human values.

The observer for Palestine said that the lives of Palestinian children were marked by the systematic denial, by Israel, of even their most basic rights. Hundreds of them were illegally detained in Israeli prisons, tens of thousands had had their education disrupted and thousands had been rendered homeless. However, although Palestinians did not exercise sovereignty over their land, that had not prevented the Palestinian Authority from endorsing and implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Background

The twenty-seventh special session of the General Assembly –- devoted to an end-of-decade review of the follow-up to the 1990 World Summit for Children –- met this morning to continue its general debate.

Statements

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LEVY PATRICK MWANAWASA, President of Zambia, said ...

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RASHID ABDULLAH AL-NOAIMI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said that ...

Pointing out that Israeli forces were killing Palestinian children every day, he asked why the international community, particularly the Security Council, was ignoring international calls to protect those children. He stressed the urgent need for immediate international protection to ensure the safety and well-being of Palestinian children like all others in the world, in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, international law and the Geneva Convention. In the same context, he called for relief from the inhumane suffering imposed on the children of Iraq, who faced daily tragedies as a consequence of the sanctions against their country.

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SHAIKHA SABIKA BINT EBRAHIM AL-KHALIFA, President of the Supreme Council for Women of Bahrain,...

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She called on the international community to condemn all offences perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces, which had caused the death of hundreds of Palestinian children. By doing that, global actors would take a moral and humanitarian stand that could put an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people. What was taking place in the Palestinian occupied territories was not only a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention; it was also a breach of human values that threatened international peace and security.

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EMILE JARJOU’I, Observer for Palestine, said that Palestinian children did not enjoy many of the rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Their lives were marked by the systematic denial by Israel of even their most basic rights. Palestinian children were the only children in the world without a State of their own, living as refugees or under foreign occupation, or both. In the last 19 months, Israeli military forces, acting on the directives of their Government, had indiscriminately killed hundreds of Palestinian children. Those children were killed while they lay asleep in their beds, in the arms of their mothers, while playing and going to school.

As a result of the invasions and closures, which had led to complete socio-economic suffocation of the Palestinian people, over 60 per cent of Palestinian children were now living in poverty, he said. Hundreds of them were still being illegally detained and imprisoned in Israeli prisons and tens of thousands had had their education disrupted. Also, thousands of children had been rendered homeless. That was the state in which Palestinian children found themselves today.

Although Palestinians did not exercise sovereignty over their land, that had not prevented the Palestinian Authority from endorsing and implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among other things, a draft Palestinian child’s rights charter had been prepared that incorporated the Convention and was presently before the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Progress, he said, was not really feasible and sustainable when children lived in situations of war, occupation and poverty. Among the actions that needed to be taken was to work towards providing Palestinian children with a normal life, free from foreign occupation, destruction and fear, in their own State. Also, urgent international actions must be taken to protect Palestinian children now and provide immediate and safe access to health and educational services for them.

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