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 Palestinian and Israeli Women Create Global Panel to Work for Just Middle East Peace
 UN News Service, USA
 July 28, 2005

Based on their discussions at a recent United Nations-sponsored conference in Turkey, 35 Palestinian, Israeli and international women leaders and activists have established the first-ever global commission working to guarantee women's full participation in formal and informal Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) said today.

In an effort to work for genuine negotiation of a just and sustainable peace based on a two-State solution, the diverse group of women leaders met in Istanbul on 26-28 July and decided to establish an International Women's Commission (IWC). The group expects to formally launch the Commission in September 2005.

"After three intensive days, women were able to overcome differences and agree upon what I view to be the most effective and substantive vehicle to bring about the change so urgently needed in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," said Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UNIFEM, who convened and chaired the meeting.

The IWC will ensure implementation of the groundbreaking 2000 Security Council resolution 1325, which calls on all UN Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels.

The Commission will work to guarantee women's full participation in formal and informal Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, based upon principles of gender equality, women's human rights, international human rights and humanitarian law in any future resolution of the conflict to bring about an end of the Israeli occupation and a just and sustainable peace.

Its work will be guided by a charter of principles that was developed and adopted at the Istanbul meeting. The goal of the IWC is to incorporate diverse women's perspectives, voices, and experiences into the peace process, and make sure that the rights and issues of women affected by the conflict are raised and effectively addressed including issues dealing with women's political, economic, social and cultural rights, and human security.

From the "UN News Service," July 28, 2005.