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UK votes against UN resolution seeking to help Palestinian women

4th May 2018
UK votes against UN resolution seeking to help Palestinian women

A Palestinian woman at an Israeli checkpoint in the old city Al-Khalil, Hebron, Occupied West Bank (Photo: Stella/Flickr Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

The UK voted against UN resolution seeking to help Palestinian women. The UN Commission on the Status of Women approved the resolution on March 23 when 30 countries voted in favour of the resolution. Only three other countries (Israel, Guatemala, Canada) voted against the resolution which demands that Israel protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families.

The resolution titled ‘Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women’ recommends that the Economic and Social Council call upon the international community to “continue to provide urgently needed assistance to Palestinian women and girls” who face “a dire humanitarian crisis under Israeli occupation”.

And it said Israel must comply with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and other international covenants. It also urged the international community to renew efforts to advance the conclusion of a peace treaty. The resolution said that any treaty should recognise the two-state solution.

Explaining why the UK voted against the resolution, Ambassador Jonathan Allen said: “We cannot accept in the name of equality the inherent discrimination of singling out… Israel; as this resolution clearly does. No other country is singled out in the same way.”

Allen accepted that the Israeli occupation has “a detrimental impact” on the status of Palestinian women (and men). He also agreed that the Middle East is “a region where women’s rights are so often and so tragically trampled upon”.

However, Allen argued that this resolution does not reflect the challenges that Palestinian women endure each and every day due to gender stereotypes, negative social and cultural norms, and the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that exist. Nor does it reflect the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for the wellbeing of women.”

The representative of Egypt, introducing that resolution on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to severely affect women and girls. The draft had been updated to reflect current realities on the ground, including a pre-ambular paragraph noting that the Palestinian people had marked the passage of 50 years of occupation in 2018.

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