Economic and Social Council

WOM/1678


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


Commission on the Status of Women

Fifty-second Session

16th Meeting (PM)

WOMEN’S COMMISSION APPROVES RESOLUTIONS ON PALESTINIAN WOMEN, TRAINING INSTITUTE,

WOMEN AND CHILD HOSTAGES, FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION, HIV/AIDS

Session Suspended, as Negotiations Continue on Agreed Conclusions

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Background

The Commission on the Status of Women met this afternoon to take action on draft resolutions and conclude its fifty-second session.  For background on texts, see Press Release WOM/1673 issued 5 March.

Action on Drafts

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The Commission then turned to a draft on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2008/L.3). 

In explanation of vote before the vote, the United States representative said it would vote against the resolution because it was unbalanced.  While the document criticized Israel’s military, it ignored the targeting by Palestinian terrorists.  She regretted Palestinian loss of life, particularly in recent days, as well as Israeli deaths, which had also occurred in recent days.  The resolution was inconsistent with the universal values of the Commission.  Refugee issues must be negotiated by talks between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Israel ’s representative, also in explanation of vote before the vote, said the resolution had no place in the Commission.  It was an overtly partisan and politically motivated resolution.  The resolution, as it was, without addressing the internal Palestinian situation of human rights abuse and terrorism, left much to be desired.  She called upon Member States to oppose the resolution.

Also in explanation of vote before the vote, Germany ’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, called on the parties in the region to make every effort to improve the situation of Palestinian women.  She acknowledged efforts by the Palestinian delegation to improve the text.  The European Union still had reservations, as it did last year, over the appropriateness of the forum in which the resolution was discussed. 

The Commission then adopted, as orally revised, that text by a vote of 33 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with 9 abstentions ( Belgium, Cameroon, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom).  (See Annex.)

Following the action, Palestine ’s representative, in a general statement after the vote, thanked the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and others who supported the resolution, saying they had sent a strong show of support to Palestinian women and their families.  She expressed regret that some European Union members had abstained, except Spain, which had supported the text and demonstrated a principled position.  Palestine had deliberated with the European Union in good faith.  Support for Palestinian women was crucial, she said, noting that, in the past week, 120 Palestinians, among them dozens of women and children, had been killed by Israel forces. 

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ANNEX

Vote on Palestinian Women

The draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/CN.6/2008/L.3) was approved by a recorded vote of 33 in favour to 1 against, with 9 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belize, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gabon, Ghana, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Spain, Suriname, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.

Against:  United States.

Abstain:  Belgium, Cameroon, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom.

Absent:  Kazakhstan, Paraguay.

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For information media • not an official record