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Restrictions Adversely Affect Palestinian Women

Palestinian Women Adversely Affected By Restrictions, UN Agencies Say

Calling on Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Authority to provide good basic services for women, seven United Nations institutions today said the health of Palestinian women, especially those who are pregnant, have been negatively affected by restrictions on their movements, military incursions and house demolitions.

The UN institutions believed that both parties to the conflict, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, had obligations to and responsibilities for Palestinian women, they said in statement issued in Rafah, Gaza, to mark International Women's Day.

They urged the Israeli authorities to ensure that the women have safe and unconditional access to health services, education, employment, food and other basic supplies and they appealed to the Palestinian Authority to improve the quality of the services it provides.

Nearly 40 per cent of Palestinian mothers reported that access to health services had become difficult due to the Israeli siege and curfew and a lack of money.

Fifty-two pregnant women had given birth at military checkpoints since 2002 and 19 women and 29 newborn children died at such checkpoints between September 2000 and December 2002, the seven said.

The seven institutions were the UN Relief and Works Agency ( UNRWA), the UN Population Fund ( UNFPA), the UN Children's Fund ( UNICEF), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA), the World Health Organization ( WHO), the World Food Programme ( WFP) and the UN Development Programme ( UND P).

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