SVF organized a one day workshop on “Activating Laws on Violence against Women” targeting 90 participants from different stakeholders such as (media, human rights’ specialists, civil society representatives, active women, some active civil society organizations, academics…etc.) The workshop organized at Grand Palace Hotel on November 22, 2007 between 10:00 a.m. 13:00 p.m. Mr. Ibrahim Natil, SVF director inaugurated the discussion of the workshop welcoming the participants. He ensured the importance role of the Society Voice along the other active civil society institutions and stakeholders to establish a democracy civil society based on multiplicity and tolerance.

In her turn, Mrs. Zainab Alghonaime, manager for the Legal Counseling and Researches Center for woman ensured that there are risks on the Palestinian social structure as a result of increased violence against women- 34 killings cases in 2007. She added that there are conducted procedures to reduce the woman’s role and status in the society.

According to the studies, Mr. Taal’at Bathatho (Civil Society Specialist – SVF) pointed to the studies proved that violence is not often take place on legal and Islamic backgrounds. They are happened on the cultural heritage without punish the commission.

The lawyer Mr. Ameed Ashour focused on the necessity of protecting women from all forms of violence. He ensured that woman is still faced social discrimination, because of the absence of legal materials and conducting the traditions and the habits in spite of her great role, struggles and sacrifices, side by side with the man. Mr. Ashour pointed to the applicable Panel law which had never modificated, and the separation between the applicable laws in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to the Palestinian Panel Law, Mrs. Flora El.Masri presented the laws, which deal with violence cases against woman. Mrs. Elmasri classified the rules of law and materials related to physical violence (murders, strong harm, woman’s abortion, hit and hurt), sexual and psychological violence.

Mrs. Sherien Shaheen blamed the law which provides the protection and the cover to continue the serial crimes, and she pointed to the Islamic view which forbids the killing and she cited Qura’nic verses.

The participants makes the following recommendations to assist the PA in reforming its laws and practices to comply with international standards in order to ensure that Palestinian women are able to exercise their full range of human rights free from violence:

  • There is a need for long-term work on transforming attitudes and beliefs about the acceptability of violence against women and girls, whether stemming from tribal customs or interpretations of religious norms, or other sources. These efforts are best led by local advocates for women’s rights who live and work in the community, but deserve public support and promotion by the PA and international support.
  • To preventing violence against women and pursuing these crimes through effective investigations and prosecutions. The PA should enact laws criminalizing all forms of family violence and repeal legal provisions that in intent or effect perpetuate or condone violence against women.
  •  The PA should also train all government employees (including police officers, doctors, governors, and forensic experts) who come into contact with victims of physical and sexual violence on how to deal with such cases appropriately and establish clear and explicit guidelines of intervention in line with international standards. Many of these training materials have already been developed and pioneered by Palestinian NGOs and should be considered by the governmental and supported with any available funding.
  • Establish specialized centers, for legal consultation and psychological support services to victims of domestic and sexual violence. These centers should be accessible and adequately staffed and funded to assist all victims in a timely manner.
  • Establish quality shelters or other safe spaces for women survivors of violence that function as refuges without compromising women’s privacy, and personal autonomy.
  • Increase programs providing services for victims of violence. These services should include women’s shelters, medical care, counseling, literacy classes, job/skills training, and legal aid