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Agenda item 101: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)
The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.
Agenda item 101: Promotion and protection of the rights of children ( continued)
Draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian children (A/C.3/59/L.28)
16. The Chairman said that China, Djibouti, Mauritania and Venezuela had joined the sponsors of the draft resolution.
17. Ms. Khalil (Egypt) said that Barbados, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Nigeria and Somalia had also become sponsors of the draft resolution.
18. Mr. Ghafari (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that nobody could be indifferent to the suffering of children. However, his delegation was concerned not only about Palestinian children and their loved ones, but also about the many Israeli children indiscriminately murdered and maimed by suicide bombers and terrorists who mistakenly believed that the ends of national liberation or resistance were justified by any or all means. It was also concerned about all children maimed, killed or paralysed wherever armed conflict, tribal fighting or civil wars occurred. It was not appropriate for the General Assembly to single out one group of children and say that they merited a specific resolution. His delegation would therefore oppose the resolution, which was one-sided, and urged other delegations to do the same.
19. Mr. Tekneci (Turkey) said it was regrettable that the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territories had taken a terrible toll on civilian lives. His delegation condemned any act of violence or terrorism targeting innocent men, women and children, whether Palestinian, Israeli, or of any other nationality. Turkey was also gravely concerned at the unacceptable use and recruitment of children in acts of violence and terrorism. With that understanding, his delegation would vote in favour of the draft resolution, and would support any initiative that addressed the plight of children anywhere in the world.
20. Mr. Sermoneta (Israel) said that his delegation would vote against the draft resolution as it was one-sided and contrary to the universal spirit of the resolutions adopted by the Committee. All the world’s children deserved equal protection, and to single out a specific group of children was cynical, unfair and morally unacceptable. The draft resolution did not address the destructive effects of Palestinian terrorism on innocent Israeli lives. More than 100 Israeli children had been killed by Palestinian terrorists over the past four years, many as a result of suicide bombing, and children had been deliberately murdered. The draft resolution also ignored the abuse of children in the Palestinian campaign of violence and terrorism. Palestinian children were trained to be holy warriors and taught to glorify martyrdom. Such exploitation was illegal under any sane code of law, but using children for suicide attacks was particularly egregious.
21. Israel welcomed the efforts of the international community to ease the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories. However, only an end to terrorism and incitement could ensure the security of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The international community should send a clear message to the Palestinians to end immediately the use of children in terrorist attacks. Israel would prefer that only resolutions that addressed the issue on a universal basis, and achieved consensus, should be adopted by the Committee. Israel had tried to redress the balance in 2003 by introducing a resolution that similarly addressed the situation faced by Israeli children, but that resolution had been denied the consideration of the Committee. Israel urged delegations to act to prevent that double standard by voting against the draft resolution.
22. At the request of the representative of the United States, a recorded vote was taken .
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Congo, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.
Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay.
23. Draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.28 was adopted by 105 to 5, with 61 abstentions .
24.24. Mr. Nikiforov (Russian Federation), explaining his delegation’s position, said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution. The humanitarian situation in the Middle East — especially that of children — was a matter of profound concern for the international community, and the situation affected all children in the region.
25. Mr. Loosdrecht (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union had abstained in the vote, primarily because it was opposed to the proliferation of resolutions on agenda items under which the Committee had traditionally not dealt separately with country-specific situations. It continued to support thematic resolutions that were all-encompassing and did not highlight one situation or another. Its position should not be interpreted as indifference. The European Community was concerned at the plight of all the world’s children. It consistently expressed its concern at the situation of Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza, and called on the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to make every effort fully to respect the rights of children in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It was deeply concerned at the recent deaths of Palestinian children in schools of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as a result of Israeli military operations and called upon Israel to take effective measures to avoid any harm to Palestinian children and to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law. The effects of the construction of the separation barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory on the well-being of children were worrying.
26. Israeli children continued to suffer from attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups, which had repeatedly targeted innocent civilians. The European Union was concerned at the use of civilian areas for attacks against Israelis, which endangered both Israeli and Palestinian children, and it called for an end to such attacks. The incitement and recruitment of children in violence were also matters of grave concern. The European Union remained strongly committed to improving the humanitarian situation of Palestinians and their children. It continued to believe that only a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, achieved on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) and the road map proposed by the Quartet in 2003 would provide a real prospect of improving the daily lives of Palestinian children and their families.
27. Mr. Lied (Norway) said that his delegation had abstained in the voting. However, its position should not be seen as indifference. Norway continued to be strongly committed to improving the humanitarian situation of Palestinian children. For reasons of principle, it was opposed to country-specific resolutions on children. It strongly believed that children and their rights should not be divided into national or regional subgroups. Norway supported thematic solutions that did not highlight one particular situation.
28. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that her delegation firmly believed that it was important to adopt the resolution because it sent a strong message of solidarity with the Palestinian children, who had lived their entire lives under the brutal Israeli military occupation. Her delegation hoped that the Committee would not have to reconsider such a resolution at its next session, thus marking the beginning of a new era in which Palestinian children could live free of fear, in a world where their rights were respected.
29. Mr. Dhakal (Nepal) said that had his delegation been present during the vote, it would have voted in favour of the draft resolution.
The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.