On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), a week-long joint campaign “My Rights, Our Power” was launched today in Palestine to raise awareness on women’s fundamental human rights. The joint effort, with participation from over 30 national and international partners from civil society organizations, media outlets, and international development agencies, targets youth, women, and men in various geographic areas in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza to promote women’s human rights in Palestine.
The campaign comes at a crucial moment when the anticipated adoption of the Family Protection Bill is at a standstill, raising concerns among national and international stakeholders about the consequences of such delay on safeguarding women’s fundamental human rights in Palestine. According to the Palestine report of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), nearly one in five Palestinian men (17 percent) surveyed said they had perpetrated act of physical intimate partner violence against female partners, while 21 per cent of women surveyed reported having experienced such violence.
“Family violence, usually committed by a family member who has social or economic power over others in the family, causes enormous pain and suffering to all members of the family, especially the women and children,” said a spokesperson from civil society, which has vigorously initiated the development of the Family Protection Bill (FPB), and has strongly pushed its adoption since 2004.
“The violation of women’s human rights manifests in various levels and should be also understood from economic, cultural, and social aspects,” the spokesperson added, highlighting the lack of opportunities and freedom of choice, as well as limited access to justice and services that women in Palestine still experience.
The joint campaign aims to raise awareness of the general public, especially youth, women, and men on women’s fundamental rights in line with international standards and embedded in the Family Protection Bill draft endorsed by the previous Cabinet at the end of December 2018. Five key messages, addressing women’s right to a life free of violence, right to achieve justice and seek help in case of violation of such life, as well as the right to equal opportunities and right to make one’s own choices, will be distributed through various channels such as radio, social media, helpline (121), outreach activities, and on-site events. The closing event of the joint campaign will take place on 8 March in Jerusalem and will celebrate women’s achievements using TED-style talks, followed by art performances.
“My Rights, Our Power” joint campaign is part of the global International Women’s Day 2019 campaign under the theme of “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. The theme focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure, echoing the theme of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63) taking place in New York on 11-22 March 2019.
The participating organizations of the “My Rights, Our Power” are (in alphabetical order): 17 Palestinian women’s organizations represented by Al-Muntada (coalition), British Consulate-General, Business Women Forum, CARE International, Consulate General of Sweden, Consulate General of Belgium, EUPOL COPPS, EU Representative Office, FAO, General Union of Palestinian Women, Government of Japan, CowaterSogema/GROW Project, International Labour Organization, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, MIFTAH, Netherlands Representative Office, Nisaa FM, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development, Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association, Representative Office of Canada, Representative Office of Denmark, SAWA, Sawasya II, Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, Sports for Life, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Representative Office of Norway, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, UN Women, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling, Women’s Studies Center