Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Date: 08 March 2010
On the 8th of March,
Efforts Should be United to End Palestinian Women’s Suffering
The 8th of March marks the International Women’s Day, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1977 to support women’s struggle for their rights that are ensured according to international standards. This day have become a symbol for women’s struggle for their rights and against discrimination.
In spite of all UN efforts to support women’s rights and status, including the adoption of many relevant resolutions and conventions, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the reality shows that women’s suffering is continuous and that their conditions are getting worse due to restrictions imposed on them, as well as continued violations of their rights.
Palestinian women in particular continue to face extremely difficult circumstances due to human rights violations perpetrated against them. Violations of women’s rights peaked during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, which took the lives of 111 women. According to the documentation of the Palestinian centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the suffering of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip has notably increased during the past few months due to the continued tightened siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, as well as the impacts of the Israeli offensive, which are still outstanding due the lack of reconstruction opportunities.
The continued siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has resulted in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians, including 17 women as documented by PCHR, because they were denied access to medical treatment abroad or due to unavailability of appropriate medical treatment in Gaza hospitals. In addition, the siege has resulted in negative consequences that have negatively impacted women’s rights and worsened their living conditions. Under the siege, women have been vulnerable to be denied access to drinking water and to power supplies.
Although more than one year has passed since the Israeli offensive that resulted in the destruction of 2,114 houses, in which to 3,314 families counting 19,592 individuals, the owners of these destroyed houses, including hundreds of women, are still houseless. In addition to the severe living conditions of the homeless civilians, homeless women continue to suffer from the absence of reconstruction opportunities because of the continued siege and the restrictions imposed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the flow of construction materials into the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Palestinian women continue to suffer because of the continued denial of access to justice in relation to attempts made to ensure the prosecution of suspected criminals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, killing their husbands or sons or leaving them with permanent disabilities.
In the West Bank, Palestinian women continue to suffer due to human rights violations perpetrated by IOF, including raiding and searching their houses, arresting them and their husbands and sons before their eyes, restrictions imposed on their movement, and harassing them while passing via checkpoints established by IOF at the entrances of villages and cities in the West Bank.
In addition to violations committed against Palestinian civilians, including women, the suffering of Palestinian women has continued because of the internal fragmentation, security chaos and misuse of weapons and murders motivated by the so-called family honor. These violations continue to be committed against women although many efforts have been made to eliminate them.
In light of Palestinian women’s continuous suffering resulting from IOF’s policies and practices, on the 8th of March, PCHR reiterates its call for the international community to fulfill their legal and moral obligations. PCHR hopes that all efforts will be unified this year in order to end the long suffering of Palestinian women.
PCHR particularly calls upon:
1) The international community to put an end to the continued siege imposed on the Gaza Strip in order to end the suffering of Palestinian civilians, and ensure the reconstruction of property destroyed by IOF in a way that can ensure women’s enjoyment of their right to an adequate standard of living.
2) The international community to compel Israel to respect international human rights instruments and stop violations of Palestinian human rights, which are part of overt and covert polices.
3) The two parties of the conflict to put an end to the ongoing fragmentation, and upon the Palestinian National Authority to take necessary measures to ensure the non-recurrence of murders motivated by the so-called family honor.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893