Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Commission on the Status of Women
19th & 20th Meetings (AM & PM)
WOMEN'S COMMISSION FORWARDS DRAFT RESOLUTION ON ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN WOMEN
TO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL, ADOPTS SIX MORE, AS IT CONCLUDES ANNUAL SESSION
Other Texts Concern United Nations Gender Entity, Hostage Taking, Maternal
Mortality, Female Genital Mutilation, HIV/AIDS, Women’s Economic Empowerment
The Commission on the Status of Women concluded its fifty-fourth session today with the adoption of six resolutions on a range of issues concerning gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the approval of one text, by recorded vote, on Palestinian women, to be sent to the Economic and Social Council for adoption.
The Commission also adopted the draft report of its current session, as well as the provisional agenda of its fifty-fifth session.
By a recorded vote of 31 in favour to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with 10 abstentions ( Belgium, Cameroon, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Togo), the Commission approved the draft on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women. (See annex for details of the vote.)
By its terms, the Commission, deploring the economic and social conditions of Palestinian women and girls in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, would have the Economic and Social Council demand that Israel comply fully with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among other treaties. The Council would call on Israel to facilitate the return of all displaced Palestinian women to their homes, and on the global community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance. The Secretary-General would be requested to continue to review the situation and assist Palestinian women by all available means.
Speaking after the vote, the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine expressed her gratitude to all States that had supported the text. Resolutions remained necessary in light of Israel’s grave human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She looked forward to a day when Palestine did not have to put forward resolutions, but, until then, her delegation would look to the United Nations to help protect those most in need.
Speaking before the vote, Israel’s delegate expressed dismay at the resolution’s consideration. Rather than address the countless issues women faced, the Commission had been forced to consider a resolution of those who wished to impose their agenda. The text chose to politically scapegoat Israel and failed to mention the deteriorating situation of women as result of terrorist policies by Hamas. She urged standing firmly against consideration of such texts in future.
The Commission on the Status of Women met today to take action on several draft resolutions under its agenda item 3, entitled “Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, ‘Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century’”.
Action on Drafts
Next, the Commission turned its attention to a resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2010/L.4).
Speaking before the vote in a general statement, Israel’s delegate expressed dismay at the consideration of the present resolution. Rather than address the countless issues women faced, the Commission had been forced to consider a resolution of those who wished to impose their agenda on the Commission. That ignored the needs of countless other women, none of whom had blocs to lobby on their behalf.
The text singled out Israel, she said, while no other geographical resolution had been brought before the Commission. Such politicization was seen in the fact that the Beijing Platform for Action refrained from mentioning any regional conflicts. If the draft was truly intended to help Palestinian women, it would include all challenges confronting them. For example, the Secretary-General’s December 2009 report noted that some Palestinian women were killed as result of “honour killings”. A previous report of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on forced prostitution of Palestinian women and girls had also raised alarming concerns.
She said the draft also failed to mention the deteriorating situation of women as result of terrorist policies imposed by Hamas. Palestinian women in Gaza were systematically being denied their inheritance rights, another report had found. The draft resolution chose to politically scapegoat Israel and, as such, her delegation suggested that the States that submitted it acknowledge the damage done to women when endorsing a one-sided narrative. Israel would vote against the resolution and called on the Commission to do so as well. In closing, she urged standing firmly against consideration of such resolutions in the future.
The representative of Jordan said the thrust of the resolution was that in any given conflict women and children were most affected. The purpose of the draft was not to just discuss the plight of Palestinian women. He hoped that the text would be viewed in that light and supported.
Explaining his vote before the vote, the representative of the United States said his country supported Palestinian women in several ways to create environments that enabled them to lead. The United States strongly supported the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and was its largest donor. The United States had also called on Israel to open borders to enable Palestinians to live productive, healthy lives. Through good-faith negotiations, the parties could mutually agree on an outcome that ended the conflict. The current text, however, sought to insert the Commission into permanent status issues, such as refugees, which should be the purview of the two negotiating parties. For that reason, the United States would vote against it.
Next, by a recorded vote of 31 in favour to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with 10 abstentions ( Belgium, Cameroon, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Togo), the Commission approved that resolution. (See annex for details of the vote.)
Speaking after the vote, Japan’s delegate said she was concerned at the critical situation of Palestinian women and expressed hope that their situation would be significantly improved by international assistance. She had hoped to see a text accepted by various States, but, because the draft could have been more balanced, Japan had abstained from voting. Nonetheless, Japan would continue its strong support to improve the situation of Palestinian women.
Egypt’s representative, speaking in general statement after the vote, said everyone would prefer not to differentiate between Palestinians and others, but that should not come at the expense of Palestinians’ rights. To the point made about Palestinian women’s inheritance, he said Palestinians had nothing left to inherit. Palestinian women had problems crossing lines to reach a doctor — they waited at inspection points for hours. That compromised all human rights.
The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations expressed her gratitude to all States that had supported the resolution. Resolutions remained necessary in light of the ongoing need for international services and the grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Today’s resolution was especially important, as Palestinian women bore the brunt of Israel’s illegal policies. Adherence to international law could only promote peace efforts, and not undermine them. Such respect would truly bring about a change on the ground and in the negotiating environment. She would not respond to the “absurd” comments by Israel’s delegate, but rather point out that nothing effected Palestinian women more than a 43-year-old occupation by Israel. The Israeli representative should be more concerned about the actions of her Government to create conditions for peace.
In that context, she recalled that, just after the announcement to resume indirect talks, Israel had announced the construction of 1,600 new settlements in East Jerusalem. That was the real obstacle to peace. She looked forward to a day when Palestine did not have to put forward resolutions, but in light of Israeli activities, her delegation would look to the United Nations to help protect those most in need.
Gabon’s representative said her delegation had backed the resolution, but her country’s vote had not been recorded.
The Commission’s Secretary said that comment would be reflected in the Commission’s report.
Vote on Situation of Palestinian Women
The draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2010/L.4) was approved by a recorded vote of 31 in favour to 2 against, with 10 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Senegal, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Zambia.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstain: Belgium, Cameroon, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Togo.
Absent: Gabon, Rwanda.
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For information media • not an official record