Jenin – November 6: The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD) organized an open discussion panel in Jenin titled “The Justice System for Women in Palestine”, in collaboration with the Association of Women’s Action for Training and Rehabilitation in Jenin refugee camp. The event was attended by 20 participants from government institutions, NGOs, women’s grassroots organizations and frameworks, jurists, lawyers, as well as feminist, political, and community leaders, and students from Al-Quds Open University.
The panel addressed the justice system for women in Palestine between law and application, focusing on penal and personal status laws, as they both directly affect women. The event also examined the human rights system and protections for women in the two laws, and compared the texts to their application, as well as examining outdated laws and social systems.
Participants discussed the problems and obstacles facing women in accessing the judicial system, as well as considering recommendations to alleviate some of these barriers and to encourage women in their pursuit for justice.
Many sensitive and key topics that directly affect women were addressed, such as “honor killings” and spousal disputes, and how to deal with them in court, as well as how to carry out court orders in a way consistent with the reality and experiences of these women.
Women expressed their dissatisfaction with the reality of women in society and the law, where outdated traditions and customs control women’s lives as well as limit and restrict their social and political participation. In addition to the law giving women the bare minimum of these rights, failing to ensure a dignified and active life for them, as women are still unable to live independently from men. This can be seen in many cases including alimony, accommodation expenditure after divorce for mothers with custody, legal complacency and victim-blaming in the killing of women, as well as social and judicial leniency towards perpetrators of male violence against women, including murderers.
The panel reached a number of recommendations: the need to raise women’s awareness of their rights and personal status law especially when it comes to customary marriage, delayed dowry, marriage contract terms, and raising the legal marriage age, in addition to the penal code, and supporting women’s access to their rights by networking and coordinating with relevant organizations and bodies.
Participants praised the efforts of PWWSD and requested more of these open discussion panels, as they bring together decision makers, lawyers, and jurist, and raise women’s awareness and knowledge of their rights, as well as their access to legal consultation with jurists and lawyers.