Statement by Mrs. Somaia Barghouti, Senior Adviser, before the Third Committee on Agenda item 29: Advancement of women, 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 13 October 2015:

Mr. Chair,

Allow me at the outset to extend to you, in the name of the State of Palestine, our warm congratulations on your election to the chairmanship of the work of this important Committee. We are confident that the Committee will successfully conclude its important work under your able stewardship and wide expertise. Let me also extend my congratulations to the members of the Bureau of the Committee.
Mr. Chair,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is with great concern that I speak to you today on the political, economic and social conditions of Palestinian people, including Palestinian women, which are deteriorating to an increasing extent.   The continuation of the Israeli military occupation and its illegal, repressive, and racist practices and policies over more than 48 years has led to exacerbating those tragic conditions and increased the state of tension and violence.

The Economic and Social Council in its resolution (E/RES/2015/13) on the “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women” reaffirmed 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”. The Palestinian women are living these tragic conditions which are worsening on a daily basis at all levels and constitute an obstacle to their empowerment, diminishing their burdens and raising the level of their participation in the development and decision-making. Moreover, they impede the implementation of national strategies, programs and plans that aim at improving their conditions, advancement and empowerment. Equality, ending violence against women and strengthening the role of women in the society, in particular in decision-making, are the foundations and principles contained in these strategies, programs, and plans.

The deterioration of the situation and the aggravation of tensions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in particular during the past two weeks, has become extremely dangerous due to the continuous and brutal attacks perpetrated by the occupying military forces and its extremist settlers and their provocative, and aggressive practices, and their flagrant violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, which have catastrophic implications on the conditions of Palestinian women and children.

In this regard, the international community must immediately compel Israel, the occupying Power, to put an end to its violations of international law, including humanitarian law and human rights law, committed without accountability or punishment, against Palestinian civilians, including women and children, and to provide international protection for them.

Mr. Chair,

In closing, it must be mentioned that, in spite of all the challenges, and enormous obstacles facing Palestinian women in their march towards equality along with their determination to confront all forms of discrimination and violence against them, and remove all impediments they encounter,   they will eventually achieve all their goals to end the occupation and live in freedom and dignity in the viable, independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
I wish to conclude by quoting a verse for the great poet, Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabi:

“If, one day, a people desire to live, then fate will answer their call.

And their night will then begin to fade, and their chains break and fall.”

I assure you that the Palestinian people desire to live, Palestinian women desire to live, and Palestinian children desire to live … we will be victorious.

I thank you, Mr. Chair.