Ref: 38 /2020
Date: 20 Dec 2020
A briefing note on women’s sector in the Palestinian Territories during 2020
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) highly appreciates your positive and attested role.
As we are leaving 2020, and as part of our follow-up of the situation of the women sector in the occupied Palestinian territories, we found it important to inform you about the dangerous regressions and the rise of violence against women in the Palestinian territories. With reference to the above subject, we look forward to your role in ensuring that women enjoy their right to live in safety and dignity, due to the importance and value involved in enjoying other rights related.
The rules of international law affirmed the necessity for women to enjoy all rights and to fulfill all forms of discrimination against them, such as CEDAW, to ensure their ability to live a free and dignified life, especially for women in the Gaza Strip, who suffer a real and imminent threat to their economic and humanitarian conditions alike, as a result of the tightening of the illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip for the 14th year in a row, the repercussions have prolonged the economic, health and social conditions of the Gaza Strip, in light of the lack of pressure from the international community to oblige the occupation authorities to shoulder their responsibilities towards the residents of the occupied territory.
Beside that; the Corona pandemic has greatly increased the burden of women and increased the rate of violations against them in light of the closure of courts and reporting centers and the difficulty of accessing them, with the continuation of the previous conditions, as well as the internal Palestinian division that hindered the possibility of adopting unified laws that are more just and equitable towards women.
The Corona pandemic affected the situation of women in the Palestinian territories, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs on 6 thousand families in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, regarding violence, the survey showed that psychological violence is the most prevalent, reaching (55%), followed by economic violence (53%), then social violence (27%) and verbal violence (24%). In addition to that, physical violence increased during the Corona pandemic, and there are (47%) women who sought protection during the pandemic, in light of the man’s exploitation of the closure of courts and the difficulty of accessing the specialized centers.
According to the results of a sample of peasant women (farmers and rural women) in the Gaza Strip in a survey conducted by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, 62.5% of the surveyed sample confirmed that they had been subjected to domestic violence, which varied between physical and verbal violence, neglect and abandonment, and threats.
Civil society organizations also stated that they had provided more than (5000) legal and social counseling during the crisis. The pandemic has also affected working women, especially the breadwinners for their families, as there are 11% of families headed by women, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics survey in 2019.
According to the documentation of ICSPR during the year 2020, about (28) women were killed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while about (14) women were killed during the previous year, among them (8) women in the West Bank and (6) women in the Gaza Strip, among them (3) were killed in connection with so-called honor killings.
Whereas, the Israeli occupation commits numerous violations against Palestinian women, and they have paid a heavy price as a result of these violations, which are direct or indirect through the exposure of their sons and husbands to injury or death, in addition to various violations such as house raids and demolitions, according to ICSPR, there are (39) female prisoners inside the permanent Israeli occupation prison suffering from difficult health, psychological and physical conditions as a result of the daily Israeli violations that women prisoners are subjected to. In addition to the daily arrests of women, the number of female detainees during the year 2020 has reached (53).
We consider your intervention as a banner in order to ensure that members of the international community fulfill their obligations towards the universal values of human rights that are indivisible. Therefore, we ask you to make more efforts, by taking specific measures that will protect women and reduce violence rates towards them, through:
- Pressuring the Israeli military occupation authorities as the occupying power, in order to oblige them to respect the rules of international law and international agreements towards civilians in the occupied territory, including ending the siege and supplying the Gaza Strip with all necessary basic necessities of life, to spare the citizens the scourge of the collapse of the humanitarian situation in the Strip.
- Calling on the Human Rights Council to work to conduct investigations into cases of serious or systematic Israeli violations of the rights of Palestinian women.
- Working with the Palestinian government and official bodies to take the necessary measures to put an end to domestic violence and crimes against women. Including making possible efforts to end the division to enact unified legal legislations that protect women from all forms of discrimination against them, in order to be in line with the CEDAW agreement, to which the State of Palestine is a party.
We hope that you will intervene now, as Palestinian women deserve to work for them, in order to ensure that they enjoy a safe and decent standard of living linked to the foundations and standards of human rights, and in a manner that guarantees them a decent future.