Ref: 13/2019

On Monday, 14 October 2019, Palestinian police found the body of a Palestinian woman, A.W.N (31), buried and rotten in her father’s house yard in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. The police opened an investigation into the case and referred the body to the Forensic Medicine Department at al-Shifa hospital to identify the cause of death.

According to PCHR’s investigation, the deceased, a divorced woman and mother of one daughter, had disappeared on 17 September 2019. Her father has admitted to killing and burying her; he has since been arrested and put under investigation by the General Prosecution. The father has not confessed his motives to the crime yet.

PCHR notes with concern the growing phenomenon of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), including murders on different grounds against the Palestinian woman.  PCHR hereby calls upon the competent authorities to provide protection for women and girls and enact strict laws to combat this phenomenon.

It should be mentioned that 12 women were killed in 2019 on different grounds; seven in the West Bank and five in the Gaza Strip.  The latest crime was the murder of Israa’ Ghrayeb 2 months ago in Bethlehem which sounded out the Palestinian public opinion and pushed the Public Prosecution to open a serious investigation that resulted in the indictment of 3 of her family members.

Accordingly, PCHR calls for opening a serious investigation into the crime and its motives, considering it as a murder, regardless of any justifications claimed by the defendants to receive a lesser sentence. PCHR also calls for imposing deterrent penalties against perpetrators.

PCHR points out to the State of Palestine’s obligations under international conventions and treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention against All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to take necessary measures and deterrent legislations to provide protection for women and consider the murder of women as premeditated and wilful regardless of the motives.