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The meeting was called to order at 9.10 a.m.
Agenda items 8 and 9 ( continued)
Review of the achievements in the implementation and results of the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in the 1990s
Renewal of commitment and future action for children in the next decade
Draft resolution (A/S-27/L.1)
The President: I now give the floor to Her Excellency Miss Salma Abduljabar, Secretary of Social Affairs of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Miss Abduljabar (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
We must confess that despite all the attention given to children in official statements, the achievements have not measured up to all our hopes and aspirations. There is still a wide gap between official commitments and achievements on the ground. The exploitation of children and the violation of their rights are still manifest, in the form of violence, exploitation, physical and psychological abuse and the lack of basic services and necessities. More than other groups in society, children are still exposed to the destructive impact of wars, conflicts and economic sanctions, among other dangers of modern society.
What we are witnessing on a daily basis in occupied Palestine is clear evidence of such dangers. There, the Israeli occupying forces deliberately kill children, deny the injured access to urgent humanitarian assistance such as food and medicine, destroy civil infrastructures, demolish homes while their inhabitants are still inside, detain and torture children and kill their parents and guardians in front of them, all in flagrant violation of the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. We call on the international community to shoulder its responsibility to stop the crimes against Palestinian children, recognizing that the rights of the children of the world are indivisible. Confronted with such violations of the rights of the child, there is an urgent need for a serious, comprehensive new plan of action for the universal protection of children’s rights and the principles of human rights.
The President: The Assembly will now hear a statement by His Excellency Mr. Fahad Salem Al-Shagra, Minister for Education of Iraq.
Mr. Al-Shagra (Iraq) ( spoke in Arabic): ...
Therefore, on this occasion, we are called upon to denounce the policy of violence against the children of Iraq and Palestine and to condemn all types of sanctions imposed on children in the Arab nation and around the world. Those statements must be contained in a separate paragraph — otherwise, this session’s decisions and recommendations will be like those described in paragraph 11 of the report:
“It is often said that in many United Nations conferences, goals are ever set but never met, and that commitments on paper are rarely translated into action on the ground.”
The President : I now give the floor to Mrs. Siti Zaharah Sulaiman, Minister for National Unity and Social Development of Malaysia.
Mrs. Sulaiman (Malaysia): ...
The plight of Palestinian children and children under foreign occupation remains a deplorable state of affairs as we fail to find any solution, political or otherwise, to the problem of the Middle East. The other area of concern to my delegation is the devastating effect of sanctions on children. We therefore urge that all future sanctions — if they need be invoked at all as a necessary measure of last resort — be imposed only after an in-depth and careful study of their potential impact on civilians, especially children, has been carried out.
The President : The Assembly will now hear a statement by Her Excellency Ms. Nafisa Al-Jaifi, Secretary-General for the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Director of the Child Development Project of Yemen.
Ms. Al-Jaifi (Yemen) (spoke in Arabic): ...
In line with our moral duties as persons and States, in the framework of the United Nations, we are against things such as the presence of children in armed conflict — children must not be exploited as child soldiers — and the presence of children in occupied areas, which is a great tragedy. We call on the international community to put an end to the violence carried out daily against innocent Palestinian children, to put an end to the occupation, to put an end to the spilling of children’s blood that has been occurring for more than 50 years, and to restore peace, safety and tranquillity to children’s innocent hearts. Palestinian children want to experience their childhood in tranquillity and peace, as do other children in the world. We also reiterate that the suffering caused by the unjust economic embargo imposed on Iraq is an immense humanitarian tragedy whose victims include the hundreds of innocent Iraqi children who suffer every day. Therefore, we call for the lifting of the embargo and for an end to the suffering of Iraqi children.
The President : The Assembly will now hear a statement by Her Excellency Ms. Vilma Espí ;n, Member of the State Council and President of the Federation of Cuban Women of Cuba.
Ms. Espín (Cuba) ( spoke in Spanish ): ...
Yet, reality ran entirely counter to these promises. With the loss of the balance of power that the former Soviet Union guaranteed, a new unipolar world emerged dominated by the hegemonic super-Power of the United States, which uses its great economic strength not to improve the quality of life of its citizens in need, but to manufacture and use sophisticated killing devices — smart bombs, unmanned flying bombs, heavy bombs, nuclear devices that contaminate both those who are attacked as well as those who attack, and who knows what else? Many thousands of Yugoslav, Palestinian, Afghan and Iraqi boys, girls and adolescents have been murdered by these weapons. During the past 10 years, many others have also been killed in Iraq, where the Security Council has been used as a tool to deny them full access to food and medicine. To all this, we must add the hegemonic manipulation of United Nations organs and the repeated use and threat of use of the veto by the United States.
For a long time now, the world has witnessed the unyielding defence of the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination and its daily heroic battle against the Israeli occupation army. With horror and indignation we receive daily reports on the numbers of people killed, including boys and girls under the age of 17 and even four-day-old newborns. This savagery must be stopped.
The Acting President ( spoke in Arabic ): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Abderrahim Zouari, Minister for Youth, Childhood and Sports of the Republic of Tunisia.
Mr. Zouari (Tunisia) (spoke in Arabic ): I have the honour to make a statement on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of the Republic of Tunisia.
In many regions around the world, children are still deprived of their most basic rights and face severe difficulties that cannot be ignored. Regardless of whatever priorities are recommended in caring for children during the next decade, an effective translation into fact of international solidarity is likely to bring hope to children who have been deprived of their right to decent living conditions and a sound upbringing. Today, Palestinian children endure the afflictions of occupation. Iraqi children suffer from the effects of the embargo. African children are overwhelmed by poverty, hunger, disease and the problems created by armed conflicts. Many other children worldwide face exploitation and violation.
The Acting President ( spoke in Arabic ): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Kamal Kharrazi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Mr. Kharrazi (Islamic Republic of Iran): ...
In a world marked by an uneven distribution of wealth and opportunities, a lack of security, exclusion and armed conflicts, the plight of children must be given paramount attention and prominence. The saddening situation of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation is not only a clear manifestation of the brutal practices of an occupying Power against children, but also a grave injustice to humanity as a whole. We cannot, and should not, remain indifferent to the deterioration of the situation of Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territories due to the continuing inhumane policies and practices of the Israeli forces that are resulting in an acute humanitarian situation, such as the one we have all witnessed in the Jenin refugee camp. This global review conference is a unique occasion to address this dire and heartbreaking situation.
The Acting President (spoke in Arabic ): The Assembly will now hear a statement by Her Excellency Ms. Tamam El-Goul, Minister for Social Development of Jordan.
Ms. El-Goul (Jordan) ( spoke in Arabic ): ...
In Jordan, we welcome the entry into force of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the development of international standards protecting the rights of children in armed conflict. We invite the international community to invest greater importance and commitment in this issue. Children throughout the world are subject to extreme suffering due to armed conflict, violence, siege and collective punishment, all of which threaten to drive certain vulnerable elements of the new generations towards violence. Today, the painful circumstances under which Palestinian children are living are a vivid illustration of the need for the international community to assume the responsibility of protecting the rights of the child from being violated in any way.
The Acting President (spoke in Arabic ): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Fuad Mubarak Al-Hinai, Chairman of the delegation of Oman.
Mr. Al-Hinai (Oman) ( spoke in Arabic ): ...
We feel that it is of the utmost importance to protect children living under embargo, foreign occupation and damaging collective punishment. We reaffirm the need to protect Palestinian children, whose rights under international charters and conventions have been completely obliterated.
We hope that we can achieve the greatest results for children based on international strategies and obligations that provide for each child a safe life, free from fear and deprivation. I wish this special session every success.
The meeting rose at 2.10 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.