Women around the globe celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, 8 March 2007. This event is one of the most distinguished ones that renews commitment and stresses the importance of women’s enjoyment of all their rights in accordance with international standards and conventions. In addition, this day comes as a reminder of the pioneering role of women in different social, cultural, economic, and political spheres.
The 8th of March comes this year upon Palestinian women as they face very difficult and harsh circumstances. On the one hand, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continue to perpetrate human rights violations and war crimes, including killing and destruction of property, that have a direct impact on Palestinian women. On the other hand, the suffering of these women is worsened by the continued deterioration of the human rights situation under the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The rule of law is undermined; and security chaos escalates. Furthermore, Palestinian women have suffered the deteriorating economic and social situation stemming from these factors and from the international suspension of aid to Palestinians.
Over the past few months, IOF escalated their war crimes throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) through the policy of killing, destruction of property, and imprisonment. From the beginning of 2006 till the end of February 2007, IOF killed 36 Palestinian women.
On the Palestinian front, security chaos has taken a toll on Palestinian women, who became more vulnerable to violence as a result. From the start of 2006 till the end of February 2007, the number of women killed stood at 58. This includes 12 women killed in “honor killings,” three killed in suspicious circumstances, and two killed for alleged collaboration with IOF.
Furthermore, statistics indicate that there is an increase in domestic violence, including physical, psychological, and sexual violence. This is attributed to the absence of rule of law, security chaos, vigilante justice, and the lack of will by authorities to fight these crimes.
On the 8th of March, PCHR renews its unconditional commitment and support to Palestinian women who are facing exceptional circumstances due to IOF crimes and internal security chaos, which have led to an increase in the number of women killed. The Centre stresses the following points:
On the International Level:
a. Call for immediate intervention to take the necessary steps to put an end to the suffering of Palestinian women stemming from IOF policies and practices;
b. Call to end the international sanctions against Palestinians that harm Palestinian civilians, including women.
On the PNA Level:
a. Call for the PNA to fulfill its responsibility towards Palestinians in general and women in particular, with regards to combating security chaos and misuse of weapons;
b. Call for combined efforts by society and institutions to ensure serious work against all forms of violence against women;
c. Call for opening investigations into the files of all women who were killed by security chaos crimes, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.