Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts
Report of the Secretary-General
The present report is prepared in response to the request contained in Commission on the Status of Women resolution 50/1. It includes information provided by Member States and relevant entities of the United Nations system and provides a recommendation for consideration by the Commission at its fifty-second session in 2008.
1. At its fiftieth session in 2006, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted resolution 50/1 on the release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts. In that resolution, the Commission expressed grave concern at the continuation of armed conflicts in many regions of the world and the human suffering and humanitarian emergencies they had caused. The Commission recognized that hostage-taking called for resolute, firm and concerted efforts on the part of the international community, in conformity with international humanitarian law and in accordance with international human rights standards, in order to bring such abhorrent practices to an end.
III. Information provided by entities of the United Nations system
14. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) noted that the issue of women taken hostage due to armed conflict was important in the ESCWA region. ESCWA referred to its publication Social and Economic Situation of Palestinian Women 2000-2006 (E/ESCWA/ECW/2007/technical paper.1), which highlighted the issue of Palestinian women held in Israeli prisons as a result of armed conflict and the impact of custody on their health and development. The report also stated that at least 10,500 Palestinians, including 319 children and 117 women, remained in Israeli custody in 30 detention facilities throughout Israel and in settlements and other military bases in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
IV. Conclusions and recommendations
27. The present report is based on the responses of six Member States and inputs received from 12 entities of the United Nations system. Only one Member State provided information on women taken hostage or imprisoned in armed conflict. Much of the information provided by the United Nations focused more generally on follow-up to Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). Little information was provided on the release of women taken hostage or imprisoned in armed conflict. Most information provided was focused on the support provided to children demobilized from situations of forced recruitment into armed forces. The Commission on the Status of Women may wish to invite the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict to take into account the release of children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts and provide sex-disaggregated data, where available, when preparing the reports requested by the General Assembly.