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News Brief: In the context of constant infringements on women’s rights, Al Mezan works with women in Gaza to address barriers and draw up a list of demands

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10 March 2022 |Reference 08/2022

On Thursday, 10 March 2022, Al Mezan hosted a workshop on the status of women’s rights in the Gaza Strip, in an effort to find methods of improving access to fundamental rights and freedoms. The workshop, held at Al Mezan’s office in Jabaliya refugee camp, was attended by 46 women activists and representatives of civil and women’s rights organizations.


Al Mezan laid out its background data on women’s rights in Gaza at the start of the meeting, starting with its documentation of political and social marginalization and gender-based violence and discrimination. Notably, in 2021, seven women were killed in the Gaza Strip due to various threats emanating from within Gaza and 200 more women took shelter in safe houses for domestic violence victims. As for women victims of Israeli military attacks, in the period between 8 March 2021 to 8 March 2022, 38 women and 22 girls were killed, while another 397 women and 248 girls were injured. In addition, Mr. Hussein Hammad, a researcher at Al Mezan, highlighted the impact of Gaza’s economic and social conditions from Israel’s closure and blockade, which make women more vulnerable to exploitation and gender-based violence. 


Ms. Monira al-Fayomi, a lawyer from Abdel Shafi Community Health Association, addressed issues relating to gender-based discrimination and domestic violence and the protection afforded to women in domestic laws as well as loopholes. She laid out the procedures for filing complaints and accessing legal aid—touching upon relevant areas such as divorce, married women’s rights, inheritance rights, cyber and sexual harassment, and the financial independence of working women.  


The participants joined in an open discussion and the workshop concluded with a set of recommendations, as follows:


  1. The international community must uphold its moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis the protected Palestinian people, especially women and girls, and take effective measures to end Israel’s closure and blockade and military attacks against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
  2. Palestinian authorities must uphold their obligations under international human rights law, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and take effective measures to respect women’s rights and stop violence against women and all forms of gender-based human rights violations.
  3. Competent authorities must rapidly adopt family protection laws and harmonize domestic legislation with the State of Palestine’s obligation under international law, including CEDAW.
  4. Competent authorities must take action against gender-based discrimination, empower women to access means of justice, achieve gender equality, empower women to assume leadership positions and enhance women’s social and political participation.
  5. Competent authorities must conduct large-scale awareness-raising and educational activities on the challenges faced by women in their daily lives, including gender-based discrimination and violence, sexual harassment, and barriers to fulfilling their inheritance rights.