On Thursday November 25, women and men worldwide celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, The day has been officially adopted by the UN in 1999 (Resolution 54/134), as part of the efforts to raise international and public awareness of the issue.The report revealed that Palestinian women continue to be victims of external and internal violence, not only by the Israeli Occupation and the political situation, but also due to domestic violence.

According to a Gender Equality Report that was released in late October and funded by the EU program for Enhancing Equality between Men and Women in the Euro-med Region (EGEP), women in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (including East Jerusalem), continue to suffer from gender-based violence, especially physical and psychological violence, including the so-called ‘honor killings’, and child marriages.

The report ‘Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality’, which also analyzed the situation of women in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Tunisia and Israel, highlighted that, during the period between 2008-2010, 61.7 percent of Palestinian women have been exposed to psychological violence, 23.3 percent have been exposed to physical violence, and 10.9 percent have been exposed to sexual violence at the hands of their husbands or others.

The report also indicated that there is a relation between education and employment status of women subjected to violence, adding that violence decreases as education and employment status of women increase.

Furthermore, the report estimated that approxamately18 women were killed in the occupied territories ‘in name of honor’ in 2008. The latest data was collected in 2008 due to the absence of official studies on how frequently women are killed under the same claim.

With regard to early marriage, the percentages of the Palestinian girls who got married under the age of 18 have been evolved around 20%. Statistics also indicated that 50% were under the age of 19 years when they had their first baby.

The study showed that the situation of Palestinian women is far from being comparable to the situation of men, although according to Article 9 of the Palestinian Basic Law, amended in 2005, all Palestinians are equal before law, and there is no distinction between them on the basis of ethnicity, sex, color, religion, political point of view or disability.

However, the report stressed that there are encouraging signs in the Palestinian women’s struggle against gender-based violence, adding that in recent years the role of women in the Palestinian society has changed, as they became the majority of university students, especially in the West Bank.

In 2008, a National Committee for Combating Violence was formed by non-governmental organizations and the General Union for Palestinian Women, with the main objective of coordinating all efforts to combat this type of violence.

Since then, the Committee has established national plans and strategies to overcome the lack of sensitivity to the question, especially through documentaries, paintings and speeches all over the occupied territories.

However, associations in favor women’s right have recently called for unified strategies in Gaza and the West Bank to combat gender-based violence, as human rights issues are above the internal political dispute.

Women around the world started celebrating the Women’s International Day before the UN General Assembly designated November 25 as the official International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

This date came after the November 25, 1960, brutal assassination of three sisters who were political activists in the Dominican Republic, during Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship.

The report can be read in full at the following link;