On the Eighth of March, Let Us Make ‘Yes to Positive Change for Palestinian Women’ Our Motto
Today, 08 March 2011, the world celebrates
International Women’s Day, a day dedicated by the international community to
the support of women, to ensuring that they enjoy the rights guaranteed by
relevant international laws and instruments and to reminding the world of
women’s role as men’s political partners in making change over ages.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
would like to seize this opportunity to salute women who have struggled and
participated in bringing about change in a number of Arab countries. PCHR also
congratulates women in the world who have been struggling in order to achieve justice,
equality and change for the better.
In particular, PCHR salutes the Palestinian
women who have been struggling for years to challenge their harsh situation
created both by the practices and violations committed by the Israeli
occupation on the one hand and by restrictions imposed on them by the local
community on the other hand. PCHR reminds that Palestinian women have been
men’s partners in struggling for the rights of the Palestinian people.
Palestinian women also have been men’s partners in exerting continued efforts
aimed at the advancement of Palestinian society. The Centre also notes that
Palestinian women living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank experience
extremely difficult conditions as they are subject to several forms of Israeli
violations that prevent them from enjoying many of their rights, especially the
right to life.
According to PCHR observations, the past year
was marked by the continued suffering of women as a result of the Israeli
policies directed against Palestinian civilians. In particular, the suffering
of the Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip has continued as a result of the
continued unjust Israeli closure which has aggravated their living conditions.
The siege has impeded the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Although over two
years have passed since the end of the last Israeli offensive on the Gaza
Strip, dozens of Palestinian families whose homes were destroyed during the
offensive are still homeless. There has been no positive change in the living
conditions of Gaza civilians, including women who are most harshly affected by
the consequences of the Israeli offensive.
Conditions experienced by women in the West
Bank are no less harsh than the conditions experienced by women in the Gaza
Strip. Women in the West Bank are enduring suffering as a result of many
Israeli practices, especially house raids, destruction of property, arbitrary
arrests, continued construction works on the Annexation Wall as well as
restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement.
Internally, Palestinian women continue to
endure suffering as a result of the ongoing Palestinian fragmentation and its
repercussions. Fragmentation has negatively impacted women’s social life as
well as locally exerted efforts aimed at achieving justice for women, improving
their conditions and promoting their rights. As the Palestinian Legislative
Council is inactive, the fragmentation further affects efforts aimed at
amending relevant domestic laws addressing women’s rights in keeping with
international instruments. In this regard, PCHR calls for a lift of the
restrictions recently imposed on women in the Gaza Strip, which constitute
prejudice to their rights and public freedoms. In addition to the ongoing
fragmentation and its negative impacts, Palestinian women have been subject to
injustice and violence practiced by the local community. Palestinian women are
experiencing different forms of psychological and physical violence. Killing
women for supposed reasons of "maintaining family honor" constitutes
the vilest form of violence against women, but it is certainly not the only of
In view of the continued suffering endured by
Palestinian women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon:
- The international community to put an end
to the continued closure imposed on the Gaza Strip in order to end the
suffering of Palestinian civilians, especially women.
- The two parties to the intra-Palestinian
split to put an end to the ongoing fragmentation and to unify efforts
aimed at the advancement of Palestinian society and the promotion of
Palestinian women’s rights.
- All concerned parties to protect successes
and gains achieved by Palestinian women over years of relentless pursuit
to participate in building the society and to assume leading positions.