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


ECOSOC/5985
24 July 2001

ECOSOC ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN;

TAKES UP REPORTS ON SOCIAL, HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS

(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 24 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council adopted this morning, by a roll-call vote, a resolution demanding that Israel comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among other international agreements, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families.

By a vote of 39 in favour and one opposed, with one abstention, the Council called upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties; and urged Member States, financial organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other relevant institutions to intensify their efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to Palestinian women.

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Action on Resolution and Notes

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In a resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, adopted by a roll-call vote of 39 in favour and one opposed, with one abstention, the Council demanded that Israel comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among other international agreements, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families; called upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties; and urged Member States, financial organizations of the United Nations system, NGOs and other relevant institutions to intensify their efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to Palestinian women.

Statements

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Mr. AL-SOWAIDI (Bahrain) said women needed to be given all the rights accorded to them under international law. The promotion of the advancement of women would involve the protection of women against racial and other discrimination. Conditions had to be created that would enable women to participate actively in society. Bahrain had made the advancement of women a priority in all areas -- it was proud of the high percentage of women who were active in the country. Bahrain provided free health services to women, and there was fully paid maternity leave for 40 days. The Government believed that women had an important role to play in civil society. Women could serve as ambassadors abroad, and had authority in decision-making in various ministries of the State. Women could also give their views in consultative meetings in law and legislative matters. Women also had the right to vote, which was confirmed when the national charter was accepted. Women had a new place in Bahrain's society.

He said the Israeli occupation and the aggressions by Israel had a negative impact on Palestinian women. They were victims of massacres and lived under a crippling economic blockade. It was wondered how Palestinian women could realize their rights under these conditions.

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JOHN DAVISON (United States) said some of the language of the resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women included matters that had been agreed for discussion during permanent status negotiations; it was not the Council's place to debate such matters; for that reason the United States had called for a roll-call vote on the measure and would vote against it.

Mr. SHESTAKOV (Russian Federation) said it did not vote for technical reasons, but it would have voted for the resolution, and would like that intention to be recorded.

Mr. ROSS (Canada) said his country deeply sympathized with the plight of Palestinian women, and supported the immediate end of all violence and the resumption of peace negotiations. However, Canada had abstained in the vote on the resolution because it did not feel it focused sufficiently on the need to resolve the dispute through pursuit of a comprehensive peace settlement.

FOKOUZANDEH VADIATI (Iran) said its support for the resolution should not be construed as its recognition of Israel.

ANJA KONIG (Germany) said her country regretted its absence during the vote, but wished to be included among those supporting the resolution.

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