MIFTAH and WCLAC launch parallel report for Beijing +25
MIFTAH, in partnership with the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), recently launched the Beijing+25 parallel report by civil society organizations (CSOs) as part of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with participation from over 30 CSOs, women activists and international organizations, supported by OXFAM.
MIFTAH Executive Director, Dr. Tahreer Araj and WCLAC Director, Randa Siniora, opened the zoom meeting by welcoming the participants and stressing on the importance of building on this report, towards adapting the Beijing platform to exclusively Palestinian national issues.
Araj explained that the report was the outcome of in-depth discussions held during a regional workshop in Tunisia that addressed the gaps in national reports, which was attended by several countries, including Palestine. The parallel report was drafted in accordance with political and social developments on the Palestinian arena, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic and with participation of over 80 grassroots organizations and women activists.
Siniora said the contents of the report would be used to launch international advocacy campaigns, starting with the 65th CSW session in New York and the conferences within the same framework in Mexico and Paris. The report, she maintained, will serve as an important tool for local advocacy efforts by utilizing international follow-up mechanisms.
MIFTAH project coordinator Tamara Malouf, presented data and information that sheds light on the status of Palestinian women within the focus areas of the Beijing Platform. These include: women and work, women and poverty, women in armed conflict (under military occupation in the Palestinian context), efforts to push the WPS agenda forward and the political participation and representation of women in decision-making positions.
WCLAC advocacy director, Maram Zaatara then showcased the focal area of women and armed conflict (military occupation) and peace and security efforts, in addition to gender-based violence and women and the environment. She also highlighted the most significant challenges to implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, namely Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law and the lack of political will on the part of the PA to comply with international agreements they signed, in addition to the Palestinian division, the role of political parties and other active parties in civil society. This, she added, is in addition to the rise in patriarchal and tribal culture and the complicated legislative legacy in Palestine.
Writer and researcher in women’s affairs, Rima Nazzal said that progress and development in Palestine regarding women’s issues and political participation in particular, is very little, indicating that political participation suffered a setback in previous years. For example, Nazzal said women comprised only 25% of the ministerial composition during the term of former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. It slipped to 20% during Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s term in office and is now at 16% under current Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh. She maintained that the Palestinians are on the cusp of elections, possibly resulting in 33 women in the PLC, which should prompt the creation of a committee in the PLC entitled “equality and justice” to ensure their protection from bullying.
Director of the Center for Women's Legal Research, Counseling and Protection, Zeinab Ghuneimi stressed on the need to shed light on the repercussions of the repeated Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, particularly the currently halted reconstruction process. She said Israel must be held fully accountable, through using clear and fix terms in all submitted reports regarding these violations and attacks, including not dealing with Gaza as one statistical unit. Instead, she said data and statistics should be produced separately for the five districts in the Gaza Strip.
Director of MIFTAH’s Policy Dialogue and Good Governance Program, Lamis Shuaibi said the issues in focus in the parallel report were designed for debate in international and regional forums and conferences in terms of sharing accurate data and statistics and highlighting the gaps mentioned in the report pertaining to the status of Palestinian women.
The UNWomen representative, Inas Marjiyeh, maintained that such reports were very important in expressing the voice of civil society, adding that international criteria were taken into consideration in the publication of such reports.
It should be note that these reports are part of MIFTAH’s interventions within its OXFAM-supported partnership with WCLAC.