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        Economic and Social Council
3 September 2007

Original: ENGLISH


Substantive session of 2007

General segment


Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,

on Tuesday, 24 July 2007, at 3 p.m.

President: Mr. MÉRORÈS (Haiti)

later: Mr. JAZAIRY (Algeria)





In the absence of Mr. Čekuolis (Lithuania), Mr. Mérorès (Haiti), Vice-President,

took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.



(a) ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN (E/2007/27, E/2007/64, E/2007/75 and E/2007/79)


B. Draft resolution: Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women

The PRESIDENT invited the Council to consider the draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, contained in Section B of the report.

Mr. HAYEE (Pakistan) said that Pakistan had introduced the resolution at the fifty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2007, where it had received wide support. The resolution expressed concern about the grave situation of Palestinian women in the occupied territories, which resulted from the severe impact of the illegal settlements and unlawful construction of a separation wall. The resolution called for full compliance with the principles and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It also called for the provision of urgently required assistance and services to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis faced by Palestinian women and their families. He hoped that the resolution would enjoy the support of the Council.

The PRESIDENT said that a vote had been requested on the draft resolution.

The vote was taken by roll-call.

Kazakhstan, having been drawn by lot by the President, was called upon to vote first.

In favour: Algeria, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Cape Verde, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Thailand, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Against: Canada, United States of America.

Abstention: Angola.

The draft resolution was adopted by 38 votes in favour, 2 votes against and 1 abstention.

Ms. SHESTACK (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said that while her Government remained concerned about the situation of Palestinian women, it also grieved for the innocent Israelis who had suffered and died as a result of Palestinian terrorist attacks, which went unrecognized in the international community. One-sided resolutions only served to undermine the ability of the United Nations to play a constructive role in furthering the peace that would improve the lot of Palestinian women, and all those involved in the conflict.

Ms. THOMPSON (Costa Rica), speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said that Costa Rica attached great importance to the rights of all women, and had therefore voted in favour of the resolution. Although Palestinian women were in a particularly dire situation in the occupied territories, United Nations bodies and the international community must strengthen women’s rights throughout the world, irrespective of their nationality.

Ms. FURMAN (Observer for Israel) expressed her dismay at the adoption of the resolution, which she said was not universally applicable, and turned a humanitarian issue into a political one, by focusing attention on Palestinian women and promoting unequal standards. Although Israel supported efforts to improve the quality of all women, it did not consider the present resolution appropriate, since it was selective and ignored internal factors in Palestinian society that negatively affected women, as well as ignoring the harmful effects of terrorism and intra-Palestinian violence on Palestinian and Israeli women.

Women from both sides of the conflict were suffering, and efforts were being made to decrease hostilities and renew security, in order to create improved social and economic conditions for all. Selectiveness, such as that demonstrated by the adoption of the resolution, would not assist those efforts.


The meeting rose at 5 p.m.

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