Ref: 07/2019

In a petition submitted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and signed by 50 NGOs and human rights organizations and activists, the Signatories called upon Sheikh Dr. Hassan al-Jojo, Head of Sharia Supreme Court and Higher Sharia Court Council, to issue a circulation to equalize between the widowed and divorced women in terms of child custody pursuant to the principle of equality and non-discrimination stipulated in the 2003 Palestinian Basic Law and 2004 Palestinian Child Law.

It should be mentioned that on 04 March 2019, PCHR held a Panel discussion titled as ” Palestinian Child Law and Aligning it with Personal Status Law” that was attended by Sheikh Dr. Hassan al-Jojo, representatives of governmental, non-governmental and human rights organizations active in defending women and children’s rights in the Gaza Strip. The participants unanimously agreed on equalizing widowed and divorced women in terms of child custody and achieving child’s best interest.

In the abovementioned panel discussion, Lawyer Sami Hasaniyah, reviewed most significant articles in the Personal Status Law that shall be abolished or amended to align with the articles in the Palestinian Child Law in a way that achieves the principle of gender equality and non-discrimination and applies the article that seek the child’s opinion in the judicial proceedings regarding his life circumstance.

This petition seeks to treat the divorced woman’s status equally with the widowed in terms of her right to custody of her children as their best interest lies with remaining in the custody of their mothers.  This is based on the principle of equality and non-discrimination between children codified in the Palestinian Child’s Law No. 7 of 2004 without discrimination between one child and another in the Palestinian society. This petition also came in pursuance of the legal and judicial precedents issued by the Higher Sharia Court Council in absence of legal rules or legislations that meet this interest.

The signatory organizations were as follows:

  • Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
  • Palestinian Sharia Lawyers Association
  • Aisha Association for Women and Child Protection
  • Women’s Affairs Center
  • Community Media Center
    • Society of Women Graduates in Gaza
    • General Union of Palestinian Women
    • The Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association
    • Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution
    • Social Development Forum
    • Ard El Insan Benevolent Association
    • General Union of Cultural Centers
    • Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association
    • National Center for Community Rehabilitation
    • National Society for Democracy and Law
    • Pal-think Center for Strategic Studies
    • Amjad Association for Creativity and Community Development
    • YMCA
    • Gulf Educational Organization
    • Palestinian Center for Economic and Social Development
    • Adnan Majali Educational Charity Association