PCHR on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
See the press release here.
Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR-Gaza
Date: 25 November 2010
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Let our Motto be: No to Silence on Violence against Palestinian Women
On 25 November of every year, the world celebrates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was adopted by the UN on 17 December 1999 to eliminate violence against women around the world and to urge governments and governmental and international organizations to organize activities to raise awareness of the magnitude of this issue.
In recent years, Palestinian women have suffered severely due to the violence they are subjected to du to the exceptional conditions they are forced to endure. They are victims of the crimes committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) which create for them harsh and cruel living conditions. Furthermore, they are subjected to the local community’s violence, which is often a consequence of the IOF’s brutality.
This year, the anniversary is commemorated during a time marked by the deterioration of human rights and the worsening of living conditions for civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in general and the Gaza Strip in particular. Currently, the impacts of the siege and restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip are still present. After two years since the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian civilians struggle to reconstruct their lives and eliminate the damage created by the Israeli offensive- a situation hindered by the obstacles imposed by Israel regarding the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Adding to the destruction of the most recent offensive, Israel has escalated its attacks on Palestinian civilians, including shelling and incursions.
The illegal Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006 has further degraded the living conditions of the Gaza Strip’s population. The four-year Israeli siege has resulted in the deaths of dozens of Palestinian women suffering from health problems due to the ill-supply of medication in Gazan hospitals. This problem is worsened by the inability of Palestinians to travel abroad for medical treatment. The current siege has also imposed restrictions on the importing and exporting of goods to and from Gaza and prevented Gazan women from enjoying better living conditions due to the increase of unemployment and poverty. Due to the siege, Gazan women also suffer from the threat to their access to basic needs, such as drinking water and electricity.
In regard to the impacts of the latest Israeli offensive, which targeted the Gaza Strip two years ago, women living in the Gaza Strip, particularly those in the areas that were targeted by the IOF during the offensive, suffer. The restrictions imposed by the IOF on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip prevent these from reconstructing their own homes which were destroyed during the offensive. This hindrance in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip has resulted in many complications that the Palestinian women must cope with. Such complications included the inability to live in independent homes or being forced to rent distant homes that are away from their relatives and neighbors.
Additionally, Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank experience hard conditions due to the IOF’s practices against them, their families’ members, or property. Women suffer due to the arbitrary detention of their husbands and sons and the IOF’s unwarranted forced entrance and searching of their homes. In addition to incursions, shelling, and shooting, Palestinian women suffer due to confiscation of their lands, destruction of their houses, and the homelessness their families must endure. Furthermore, 35 woman prisoners are detained in the IOF’s prisons and are subjected to harsh conditions- they are not excluded from the inhumane punishments and degrading treatment that Palestinian prisoners in general endure.
Moreover, Palestinian women suffer from violence practiced against them by the local community in its many forms. In 2010, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) documented the killing of nine women in the Gaza Strip and West Bank due to security chaos, misuse of weapons, domestic violence, “honor killings,” and others for unknown reasons.
In light of the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, PCHR emphasizes the need for putting an end to this suffering by ending the siege and removing restrictions imposed on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. PCHR also reiterates a call upon the international community to:
1. Urge Israel to respect human rights and put an end to the violation of the Palestinians’ rights;
2. An urgent intervention to force Israel to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and enable the civilians, including women, to enjoy all of their rights, which are denied due to the siege;
3. Oblige Israel to allow the entry of the materials needed for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and to rebuild what had been destroyed in the latest Israeli offensive.
PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian National Authority to take the necessary actions to put an end to the internal violence practiced against the Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, particularly the crimes committed to maintain “family honor”.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893