Time: 1pm (+2 GMT)
Thousands of Palestinian Authority employees in Gaza have not received their salaries for the month of January. In recent months, hundreds of employees received their salaries late. Moreover, salaries have been cut down substantially for all Palestinian Authority employees in Gaza. Such cuts to the salaries cuts seem to be unlawful and, in many cases, motivated by discrimination on political and geographic grounds.
Al Mezan’s documentation, which has been further informed by complaints submitted by affected employees, shows that last month’s salaries had not been paid as of 5 February— the anticpated payday. No reasons were provided, nor was a statement issued by the government. The employees who did receive payments had their salaries cut by between 25-50%. These measures have not been justified by the Palestinian government in any way.
Al Mezan condemns the continued and abrupt cuts to public sector salaries and; lacking legal ustification, maintains that the cuts violate fundamental rights, namely the right to equality and non-discrimination, and breach Article 9 of the Palestinian Basic Law that states that “Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary, without distinction based upon […] political views […].” The cuts contract the provisions laid out in Articles 68 and 74 of the Palestinian Civil Service Law and in Articles 17, 22, and 174 of the law concerning service in police forces, which guarantee the protection of the rights of public sector employees.
Al Mezan warns that these cuts negatively impact the situation of human rights and living conditions in the Gaza Strip, notably as compound the harm done by the ongoing Israeli blockade and the internal Palestinian division. The effects of increased poverty and unemployment reach far beyond the employees directly affected.
Alarmed by these implications, Al Mezan calls on the Palestinian government to honor its obligations by taking steps to limit poverty and unemployment and to seek improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The practices that appear systematic and discriminatory against its employees must be ended. The Palestinian government must act within the boundsries of the law at all times.