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Fifty-fifth General Assembly
22nd Meeting (AM)
13 October 2000
THIRD COMMITTEE CONTINUES DISCUSSION OF PROTECTING CHILDREN'S RIGHTS;
CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT, CHILD REFUGEES AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) continued its deliberations on the promotion and protection of children's rights this morning, with speakers touching on a number of issues, among them the plight of children in armed conflict, displaced and refugee children and children under foreign occupation.
The situation of children in the world was disturbing, the representative of Tunisia said. More than 300,000 below the age 18 were involved in armed conflict. Half the world's refugees were children. All parties and resources must be mobilized to end such phenomena, particularly when those children lived under foreign occupation.
Finding ways to reverse the deplorable situation of displaced and refugee children was one of humanity's greatest challenges, said the representative of Mozambique. The displacement of 13 million children by conflict within their borders was unacceptable. International law, political will and concrete action should be mobilized at all levels.
A climate of peace that ensured the protection of children was a necessary prerequisite for the full enjoyment of their rights, the observer for Palestine said. In the past two weeks, many Palestinian families had buried young sons and daughters. The Palestinian people, including children, were suffering. In areas throughout the occupied territory, many families were without electricity, schools were closed and the movement of people and goods was severely restricted. All of that had a very detrimental effect on the overall welfare of Palestinian children.
FEDA ABDELHADY-NASSER, observer of Palestine, said that her people had in recent days witnessed the brutal and wilful killing of more than 20 of its children, and the wounding of more than 1,000 children. The wanton killing on 30 September of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by Israeli forces represented, in one stark photograph, the tragedy of the Palestinian child living under Israeli occupation. Mohammed Jamal Al-Durra was an innocent, defenceless child, whose life his father desperately pleaded for, but could not protect from, the lethal onslaught of Israeli bullets. Yet Mohammed had not suffered that tragic fate alone. In the past two weeks, so many other Palestinian families had to bury their young sons and daughters.
A climate of peace that ensured the protection of children was a necessary prerequisite for the full enjoyment of their rights, she continued. The Palestinian people, including children, continued to suffer from the oppressive Israeli occupation. The recent excessive use of force by the Israeli army had resulted in grave loss of life, serious injuries, the destruction of homes and properties and the rapid deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. Currently, in areas throughout the occupied territory, many families were without electricity, schools had been closed and the movement of people and goods was severely restricted. All of which had very detrimental effects on the overall welfare of Palestinian children. It was clear that over the decades, and even today, Israel as the occupying power had been violating the rights of the Palestinian child.
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