Tomorrow, 25 November, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on which the UN launches a 16-day campaign with activities confronting violence against women. The campaign starts on 25 November until 10 December that marks the Human Rights Day.
The campaign aims to raise awareness, create a supportive public opinion to make change and confront all forms of violence against women and to shed light on this issue, calling upon the local and international community to find real solutions.
Historically, choosing 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is based on the date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic. The killings were ordered by Dominican dictator then.
On this day the UN and whole world celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to support women exposed to violence and to remind of the significance of confronting this serious phenomenon. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) highlights in this occasion the hardships endured by the Palestinian women because of the Israeli occupation, as hundreds of Palestinian families whose houses were demolished during the frequent Israeli offensives on the Gaza Strip have been experiencing cruel conditions. Moreover, unarmed civilians were targeted, of whom eight women were killed in 2016; seven of them were in the West Bank and the remaining other was in the Gaza Strip. In view of the ongoing Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip for over 10 years, many women were denied access to either advanced medical treatment or education abroad.
Concerning the local situation, the Palestinian women have experienced hardships, including violence, inequality in their daily life and discrimination. The murder of women in our community has been still a constant threat jeopardizing the whole community, as women are killed for different reasons and on different grounds. In this context, PCHR documented the killing of a woman in the Gaza Strip on ground of the so-called “Family Honor”.
Therefore, Palestinian organizations and CBOs organize a number of activities in response to the UN General Assembly’s request, urging governments, international organizations and NGOs to hold activities on this day. It should be noted these activities should shed light on the forms of violence against women and draft proposals and recommendations to put an end to this phenomenon.
In light of the increasing suffering of Palestinian women, PCHR:
- Stresses that the international community has to fulfill its obligations, the most important of which are offering protection to civilians and obliging Israel to respect human rights;
- Calls upon the international community to promptly act to pressurize Israel to respect human rights, be committed to the provisions of international humanitarian law and put an end to its continuous violations against civilians, especially the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip which deprives them, including women, of their rights to live in dignity;
- Calls upon the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian unity government to take necessary action to stop domestic violence and prosecute the perpetrators of crimes against women and bring them to accountability;
- Calls the PA to fulfill their obligations stipulated in the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), deal with all aspects of discrimination against women and effectively implement a strategy combating violence against women; and
- Emphasizes that the continued disruption of the Palestinian Legislative Council prevents drafting and amending equitable laws in order to offer women more protection.