PLO Executive Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) adoption of a draft resolution entitled, “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,” which was recommended by the Commission on the Status of Women in its sixty-first session in March:

“On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the people of Palestine, we extend our deep gratitude to the members of the ECOSOC for overwhelmingly voting in favor of a draft resolution on Palestinian women on June 7 which affirms that ‘the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society.'”

Ashrawi added, according to the PNN :”It also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with international law and conventions “to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families,” and it calls upon “Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties.”

In addition, the Resolution urges the international community “to intensify its measures to improve the difficult conditions being faced by Palestinian women and their families living under Israeli occupation,” she said.

“We also pay tribute to the Commission on the Status of Women, international women’s groups and bodies and women’s and human rights organizations and civil society institutions in Palestine for tirelessly working to promote the empowerment of Palestinian women and girls and for keeping the struggle of women for their own rights within Palestinian society and beyond at the forefront of their local and international agendas.”

Dr. Ashrawi called for “the rejuvenation and revitalization of the Palestinian political system to support equal participation in decision-making at all levels and to include more women in the local and national government.”

She also stressed, “Women should not be deprived of their right to self-determination and dignity, and laws and legislation should be enacted and implemented that do justice to women.”

In addition, Dr. Ashrawi condemned the United States’ and Australia’s decision to vote against the resolution: “By voting against this resolution, the U.S. and Australia are voting against Palestinian women. It is hypocritical that even though both countries claim to champion human rights and women’s rights for all, they fail to safeguard the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people.

“Rather than encouraging Israeli impunity, the U.S. and Australia should hold Israel accountable for its persistent violations of international law and conventions, including the UN Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000).”

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