On Monday, 10 December 2018, the Women’s Unit at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) organized a workshop titled as: “Mechanisms of Providing Protection for Women Subject to Violence” in PCHR’s office in Khan Yunis, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls.
Mona Shawa, Head of PCHR’s Women’s Unit, started the workshop by saying that this workshop comes at the end of the 16-day of Activism Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls. The campaign begins on 25 November, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, marking the International Day of Human Rights, and it came to underscore the close relationship between the issue of violence against women and human rights. Mona pointed out that violence against women is the most common and frequent violation of human rights, noting that the Palestinian women like other women of the world suffer from violence and in different forms, but the particularity of the Palestinian situation has made them suffer from complex and multiple violence, practiced by both the occupation and society.
Majedah Shehahdah, a researcher at the Women’s Unit, facilitated the workshop and noted the importance of holding such workshops for discussing the mechanisms of providing protection for women subject to violence. She added that the workshop aims at coming out with recommendations to all stakeholder in the field of protecting women from violence in order to provide greater protection for women and girls.
Khitam Abu Shawareb, a psychologist in the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP), presented a worksheet titled as “Violence against Women and Girls in the Palestinian Society”. The worksheet addressed the forms of violence and its health, psychological and social effects on the family. Khitam reviewed the most significant cases of female victims of violence, who come asking for psychological assistance from GCMHP.
Howaida al-Dreimly, from Culture and Free Thought Association –Wesal Network (Advisory support unit), highlighted the role of women’s institutions in providing protection for women subject to violence whether by conducting researches and studies on violence or providing psychosocial services to women subject to violence, as well as raising community awareness
of violence. Howaida stressed the importance of the participatory and complementary role of the official and non-official institutions in providing protection for women subject to violence.
Hanan Matter, a lawyer at PCHR, talked about the legal protection of women against violence, shedding the light on the most important laws relative to protecting women against violence. Hanan pointed out to the impact of the Palestinian division on the legal conditions and the disruption of the Legislative Council, which prevented the unification of the most important laws affecting the life of Palestinian women; the Personal Status Law and the Penal Code. She added that the Palestinian women are in need for adopting the Family Violence Protection Law.
At the end of the workshop, the participants concluded the following recommendations:
- The Family Violence Protection Law shall be adopted.
- Local Laws shall be amended to comply with the international conventions and instruments.
- Coordination and Cooperation between civil society organizations, which provide services for women subject to violence, shall be enhanced
- Increasing the awareness-raising campaigns on violence against women and the importance of including men.
- Importance of having access to women wherever they are, especially in remote and marginalized areas.