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Source: Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
3 March 2008


Economic and Social Council
WOM/1672

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Commission on the Status of Women
Fifty-second Session
11th & 12th Meetings (AM & PM)

 ‘IT IS TIME FOR THE WORLD TO MAKE WOMEN A PRIORITY’ WOMEN’S COMMISSION TOLD,

AS IT HEARS FROM MORE THAN 50 SPEAKERS IN CONCLUDING DEBATE

Closing Education Gender Gap, Equal Labour Market Access,
Inequality and HIV/AIDS, Global Gender Architecture among Issues Addressed


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Background

The Commission on the Status of Women met today to continue its discussion on follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000:  gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”. 

Statements

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FATIMA OUTALEB, Western Asia Women’s Caucus, said that groups in her region praised the Secretary-General’s report on the situation of Palestinian women, as well as his efforts to ensure that assistance was provided to those women.  At the same time, the report did not allude to the situation of Palestinian women outside the Occupied Territory and the suffering they faced, namely being denied the right to self-determination and the right of return.  In that context, and in the absence of resources targeting those women refugees in the Arab region, she said it was necessary to address, among others, the situation of Iraqi, Somali, and Sudanese refugee women.

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SANIYE GULSER CORAT, Director for Gender Equality of the Bureau of Strategic Planning of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ...

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Further, UNESCO had set up a clearing house on gender policies of relevance to UNESCO’s fields of competence and would continue to support the Palestinian Women’s Research Centre and work to consolidate the Great Lakes Women’s Research and Documentation Centre, she said.  It would continue to mainstream gender equality considerations into tangible and intangible world heritage policies and programmes, and it would work to enable and inform the development of culturally appropriate and gender-responsive policies and programmes to address HIV/AIDS.  It would work to create community multimedia centres and open-learning communities aimed at empowering women through information and communication technology and promote their active role in managing the centres.  It was smart and just economics to augment funding for gender equality and women’s empowerment.  The question now was how to do that.  She pointed to the need to look for allies at the top and for outside sources.

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NADYA RASHEED, Observer of Palestine, said the toll of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territory on Palestinian women and their families had been vast.  It placed a huge burden on women, who struggled daily to ensure the well-being of their families in the face of formidable challenges.  Protecting and nurturing their children was too difficult for Palestinian women, due to Israel’s illegal and brutal policies.  Palestinian women’s unique and tragic situation continued to require the international community’s attention.  In order to carry on their ongoing national struggle to realize their inalienable human rights, they continued to fight alongside women worldwide against inequality, domestic violence and discrimination.  The Palestinian Authority had created a Ministry for Women’s Affairs, but the reality was that the Israeli occupation and its unlawful policies and measures remained the major obstacle to their social, economic and political advancement. 

Israel’s military assaults, violent incursions and raids on civilian areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to seriously threaten the safety and well-being of Palestinian women and their families, she said.  Hundreds had died, been injured or traumatized as a result in the past year.  Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes to expand illegal settlements had displaced and made homeless thousands of Palestinian women and their families.  The situation in Gaza was particularly dire, where border crossings remained inhumanely closed for prolonged periods.  Poverty was rife, with 90 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and 1.1 million of the 1.4 million Gazans depending on food handouts.  The international community must demand that Israel abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law.  It seemed almost impractical to speak of any real progress regarding Palestinian women and to address this year’s theme of financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment when the Palestinian population, including women, were denied the most basic human rights, such as food, education, adequate housing and the right to basic health.

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For information media • not an official record

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