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


WOM/1050
16 March 1998


Commission on the Status of Women
Forty-second Session
13th Meeting (Night) and
Round-up of Session


COMMISSION ON STATUS OF WOMEN URGES STATES TO ACCORD FULL AND EQUAL
RIGHTS TO WOMEN TO OWN LAND AND OTHER PROPERTY

Approves 11 Other Texts, Including Draft Conclusions on Major
Areas of Concern of 1995 World Women's Conference; Concludes Session


The Commission on the Status of Women concluded its forty-second session
on Friday night, 13 March, by adopting 12 texts, including "draft
conclusions' on four of the critical areas of concern contained in the
Beijing Platform for Action, the outcome of the 1995 Fourth World
Conference on Women.

...

By a vote of 34 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 5
abstentions (Lebanon, Lesotho, Norway, Rwanda, Uganda), the Commission
approved a resolution on Palestinian women, to be submitted to the
Economic and Social Council for adoption -- the only resolution approved by
vote. (See Annex for details of the vote.)

By terms of that text, the Council would reaffirm that the Israeli
occupation remains a major obstacle to Palestinian women's advancement,
selfreliance and integration in the development planning of their society.
Israel would be called on to facilitate the return of all refugees and
displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties in
the occupied Palestinian territory.

...

A draft resolution on Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/1998/L.9),
recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council, was sponsored
by Indonesia, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and
China. By that text, the Council would stress its support for the Middle
East peace process and the need for speedy and full implementation of the
agreements already reached between the parties. It would reaffirm that the
Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle to Palestinian women's
advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development planning of
their society. It calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all
refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and
properties in the occupied Palestinian territory.

...

Next, the Commission took up the draft resolution on Palestinian women
(document E/CN.6/1998/L.9).

The Commission Chairman, Ms. FLOR (Germany), said a recorded vote had
been requested on the draft resolution.

Speaking before the vote, the representative of the United States said
parts of the resolution were unacceptable because they addressed the status
of issues that the parties had agreed would be the subject of direct
negotiations in the Middle East peace process. The other language was one-
sided, not objective and would not advance the status or well-being of
women in society -- the intended beneficiaries of the resolution.

The observer of Israel said the resolution was blatantly politicized and
flagrantly one-sided, to the extent that it damaged the credibility of the
Commission as an advocate for women around the world. The resolution
unfairly and without justification singled out Israel and stood in marked
contrast to the high principles upon which the Commission was established.
The Commission was not the forum for such discussion.

He said Israeli and Palestinian women's organizations met with each other
and were in the process of building a greater degree of confidence between
the parties. It was not through such dialogue that a new, peaceful co-
existence between their two peoples would emerge. The draft resolution
would serve no purpose other than to hamper the positive measures currently
in place.

The draft text was approved, as orally revised, by a vote of 34 in
favour to 1 against (United States), with 5 abstentions (Lebanon, Lesotho,
Norway, Rwanda, Uganda). (For details of the vote, see Annex.)

Speaking after the vote, the representative of Lebanon said the text did
not mention commitments Israel had not respected. His delegation had
abstained, but Lebanon supported the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian
people.

The representative of Norway said her country shared the concern for the
difficult situation for Palestinian women and their families, as described
in the draft resolution. That concern was the underlying basis for the
considerable efforts her Government had made and continued to make in
providing assistance to the Palestinian people.

Since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, she said Norway had
transferred funds amounting to a total of approximately $180 million to the
Palestinian people. Special attention was paid to involving Palestinian
women in the development process. Norway remained strongly committed to
that process. The Commission was not the right forum for addressing the
problems pertaining to the Middle East peace process. Norway had,
therefore, abstained on the present resolution.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he had supported the
draft. His delegation believed its provisions reminded all of the need for
progress in the Middle East peace process. It was important that decisions
and resolutions help resolve the stalemate that had emerged in that
process.

The observer of Palestine expressed thanks for the introduction of the
text by Indonesia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. He said the
large vote in support of the draft showed the support of the international
community for the struggle of the Palestinian people. He looked forward to
the day Palestine would participate fully as a member in the Commission's
work.

The representative of Syria reiterated his country's support for the
struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation. He urged
the United Nations to support the Palestinian people, particularly
Palestinian women until they recovered their legitimate rights and gained
their independence.


ANNEX


Vote on Palestinian Women

The draft resolution on Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/1998/L.9) was
adopted by a recorded vote of 34 in favour to 1 against, with 5
abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Angola, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Cote
d'Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India,
Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay,
Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation,
Rwanda, Slovakia, Sudan, Swaziland, Thailand, Togo, United Kingdom.

Against: United States.

Abstain: Lebanon, Lesotho, Norway, Rwanda, Uganda.




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For information media - not an official record