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

14 March 2003

Commission on Status of Women
Forty-seventh Session
13th Meeting (PM)




The Commission on the Status of Women met this afternoon to conclude its forty-seventh session.  It was expected to take action on its draft-agreed conclusions, its report and draft resolutions concerning women and girls in Afghanistan and Palestine, women and the HIV/AIDS virus, and communications concerning the status of women.

The Commission was also expected to adopt its agenda and appoint members of the Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women for the forty-eighth session.

Draft Resolutions


Also before the Commission was a draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2003/L.1). According to the draft, the Economic and Social Council would reaffirm that Israeli occupation was a major obstacle for Palestinian women in their advancement, self-reliance and integration into development planning.

Further to the text, the Council would call on Israel to ease the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties.  It would also call on the international community to continue providing urgently needed assistance in alleviating the dire humanitarian crisis Palestinian women and their families faced, and help reconstruct Palestinian institutions.


Explanations of Vote


Before the vote on the resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, the representative of Israel expressed his opposition to the draft resolution.  While Palestinian women deserved protection, other women also deserved protection.  Did not Israeli women deserve protection from terror? he asked.  One could suggest that there were innumerable cases worldwide that were far more deserving of the attention of the Commission than the topic of this draft resolution.  The politically motivated resolution threatened the credibility of the Commission, and he called on members to oppose the resolution in order to protect the Commission’s credibility.

The representative of Brazil condemned acts of violence taking place in the Middle East.  Brazil believed that disproportionate acts of violence threatened a peaceful solution to the crisis in the region.  It seemed intransigence hampered relevant progress in the peace process, which must be based on relevant Security Council resolutions.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he supported the draft.  However, operative paragraph 4 was a concern to his delegation.  Even though the Russian Federation would vote in favour of the draft, he believed that the paragraph in question was not sufficiently balanced.

In a vote of 38 in favour to 1 against (United States), the Commission then adopted a resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2003/L.1).

After the vote, the representative of the United States said that he was deeply concerned about the impact of the current crisis on Palestinian women and added that the United States was the largest single donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) providing assistance to Palestinian women.  At the same time, the United States grieved for Israeli women who had suffered and died as a result of Palestinian suicide-bombers.  In addition, the resolution’s content went far beyond the mandate and objectives of the Commission.  A peaceful solution to the situation must be negotiated between the two States involved.

The observer for Palestine thanked all delegations who had voted for the resolution.  She also expressed gratitude to the Group of 77 and China for their continuous support over the years.  Palestinian women were the only women in the world who were still suffering from occupation, which was why the Commission had given their situation priority.

The representative of Benin apologized for their absence during the voting, but had they been presented they would have voted in favour.  The representative of the Congo said that her vote had not been reflected in the voting sheet and asked for the record to show that Benin had voted in favour of the resolution. 

The representative of Morocco, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, thanked delegations supporting the resolution. 



Vote on Palestinian Women

The draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2003/L.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 38 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania.

Against:  United States.

Abstain:  None.

Absent:  Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Peru.

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For information media - not an official record