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Palestinians Criticize Women Law Amendments As Failing To Meet Their Aspirations


 March 9th, 2018  |  10:30 AM  |   70 views



Palestinians said Thursday that the recent amendments to women's law ahead of International Women's Day did not meet their aspirations as they failed to deal with women's essential rights.


Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced on Monday a set of law amendments that would allow Palestinian women to apply for passports, open bank accounts and change schools for their children that were only enjoyed by men previously.


He also submitted a law amendment pending approval by President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to punishment mitigation for those indicted of women honor killings.


However, those amendments failed to address essential demands that women have long been struggling for, according to women activists and legal experts.


Amal Ghadban, a 54-year-old Palestinian businesswoman and public interest activist, said International Women's Day reminded her of the millions of working women around the world who strive for equality, social justice and dignity, but the reality in Palestine is far from women's expectations.


Ghadban described the new law amendments as "a step in the right direction," but she went on arguing that a gap in the legal framework still exists despite the efforts of feminists over the past decades.


"Frankly, women in the 1980s amid the growing leftist movements and popular resistance in occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, along with the expansion of women organizations that worked to push political parties in women issues, have managed to raise women's awareness of their rights," she said.


"But the efforts were not cemented by law," she added.


"The expectation was that women's struggle and the amount of responsibility women had carried would be rewarded by a set of laws legislated in 1996 and onwards," Ghadban said, but "unfortunately, women's contribution in that period was neglected and only men were highlighted."


According to the latest data of Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, women account for 49.2 percent of the Palestinian society. However, the representation of women in public life has been low and they are still struggling for civil, social, economic and political rights.


Ahsraf Abu Al-Hayya, the legal advisor of the Al-Haq human rights organization, also criticized the new amendments because "there is nothing to be proud of in allowing women such basic rights today."


"When we talk about women's rights, we talk about basic rights in the framework under international agreements Palestine has joined. Palestinian women deserve more than this considering their sacrifices in the national Palestinian struggle and the struggle for their rights," he said.


He urged the government to take "courageous steps" towards women's rights.


"There are problems in the entire legal system regarding Palestinian women, women's legal personality was almost not addressed at all. There are a number of laws that require courageous steps, more than just allowing women to register their children in schools or open bank accounts," he concluded.




by Xinhua News Agency


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