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Agenda item 64: Advancement of women (continued)*
Agenda item 65: Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” ( continued)*
Agenda item 64: Advancement of women (continued ) (A/60/38, A/60/62-E/2005/10, A/60/79, A/60/111, A/60/137, and Corr.1, A/60/165, A/60/206, A/60/211, A/60/274, A/60/281, A/60/371 and A/60/372)
Agenda item 65: Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” (continued) (A/60/111, A/60/170, A/60/211 and A/60/371)
22. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that, while significant progress had been achieved in advancing equality, development and peace for women in many parts of the world, millions of women still lived in conditions that deprived them of their fundamental human rights. The conditions faced by Palestinian women were difficult and unique. It was disheartening that each year their situation continued to worsen, particularly with the escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, over the past five years. Throughout that time, Israel, the occupying Power, had deliberately violated international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, bringing untold misery to the entire Palestinian population and particularly Palestinian women.
23. The countless human rights violations committed by the occupying forces had had grave and long-term consequences for Palestinian women and had compounded the pressures and constraints that already existed in regard to women’s advancement. Palestinian women continued to fight inequality and discrimination in order to play an active and influential role in their society but, as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women had noted in February 2005, they faced two systems of subordination: occupation and patriarchy. The images were unforgettable and tragic: mothers mourning the loss of their loved ones, watching their homes bulldozed as their children fled in panic and fear only to find that there was nowhere to be safe, enduring innumerable indignities and harassment and witnessing as huge tracts of their land were swallowed up for the continued construction of Israel’s monstrous wall and ever-expanding settlements that destroyed their property, their livelihood and the prospects for peace.
24. In addition, the increasing restrictions of movement imposed on Palestinians had gravely affected nearly every aspect of life in the occupied Palestinian territory, depriving the Palestinian people not only of their freedom of movement but also of other fundamental human rights including the right to work, to medical care and to education. The unlawful restrictions, which were imposed solely on Palestinians and not on the Israeli settlers living illegally throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, posed an additional threat to Palestinian women, who had to endure the horrifying fate of being forced to give birth at military checkpoints. As reported by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 61 Palestinian women had given birth at checkpoints between September 2000 and December 2004, resulting in the death of 36 newborns. Countless testimonies had been documented. Nothing, not even security concerns, could justify such inhumane, criminal acts. Without a doubt, such horrific incidents had resulted in widespread deterioration of the overall psychological state of Palestinian women.
25. Year after year, the Palestinian people continued to be plagued with more death and destruction and further human rights violations. Nevertheless, an important juncture had been reached, which could constitute the beginning of the road to achieving peace. While there were many unresolved issues, the end of colonial settlement in one part of Palestinian land, the Gaza Strip — even though it represented only 6 per cent of the total land area of the occupied Palestinian territory — was a positive development. Palestine looked forward to real peace and the reversal of the colonization process of the entire occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, based on the 1949 armistice line. Only then would it be possible for genuine progress to be made towards the advancement of Palestinian women and for work to begin on securing a promising future for all the people of the region.
The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.