30 May 2012

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

Palestinian Women, Youth Have Right to Fulfil Aspirations without Discrimination,


Says Secretary-General in Message to Paris Meeting on Question of Palestine


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, in Paris, 30 May:

Your Excellency Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee; Your Excellency, Rabiha Diab, Palestinian Authority Minister for Women's Affairs; Mr. Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO; Excellencies; ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine for focusing on youth and women.

Women and young people largely drove the events of the Arab Spring.  They rose up against human rights abuses and oppression.  They spoke out for equality and justice, dignity and decent work.  They tapped the power of social networks for social good.  And they showed the potential of young people to make history and transform their societies for the better.

Yet, we know that Palestinian women and youth continue to face exclusion, unemployment and poverty.  The occupation makes access to education, jobs and health care more difficult.  Internal divisions only make the problem worse. 

Palestinian women and youth have a right to fulfil their aspirations without barriers and without discrimination.  They have a right to have their voices heard in decision-making.  The United Nations works day in and day out to promote economic and political empowerment throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Women and youth have much to contribute to secure a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.  A two-State solution is long overdue.  The status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.  I encourage Palestinian and Israeli youth to build a future of peace.  I urge greater involvement of women in the peace process.

The United Nations will continue to support Palestinian women and youth.  We cannot just make speeches about them.  We must listen to them.  We must work with them.  That is what this meeting is about.  You have my full support.  Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record