Ref: 123/2019

On Wednesday afternoon, 06 November 2019, (R. ‘A’. K.) (18), a woman from Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, arrived a dead body showing signs of torture at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.  Police and Public Prosecution officers arrived at the hospital and opened an investigation.  Next day morning, the public Prosecution referred the body to the Forensic Department in al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to identify the death circumstances.  The Forensic Department later said that she has a hematogenic shock due to severe beating that led to cerebral bleed.

The police arrested a relative of the deceased and opened an investigation on suspicions of her murdering.  The investigations are ongoing, but till now did not conclude any results that would identify the reasons and motives.

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 13 women were killed in 2019 on GBV grounds; seven in the West Bank and 6 in the Gaza Strip.  The latest crime was the murder of (A. W. N.) (31) when the Palestinian police found her body buried in her father’s house yard in Beit Lahia on 14 October after her disappearance a month before.  The investigations later revealed that her father was found guilty.

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 willful regardless of the motives.

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 also calls for further societal efforts as well as civil society’s efforts to discard this phenomenon and raise awareness of it in the Palestinian society.