Israeli restrictions on Palestinians travelling outside the occupied territories have prevented the Minister of Women's Affairs from going to Jordan to attend a conference. Dr Amal Hamad was due to participate in the Euro-Mediterranean Conference entitled "Launching the Regional Campaign on Zero Tolerance with Violence Against Women and Girls" which opens today in the Jordanian capital Amman.
In her speech to the conference via internet link, Hamad expressed her deep regret at her inability to attend because of the obstacles imposed by the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people. What had happened to her, she said, is clear evidence of the kind of violence to which Palestinian women and people are subjected. She let it be known that she had insisted on representing the State of Palestine at such international conferences by all possible means.
Jordanian Minister of Social Development Basma Ishaqat apologised at the beginning of her speech about Hamad's inability to attend the conference due to the Israeli occupation.
Dr Hamad, meanwhile, addressed the current political situation that the State of Palestine is going through. She explained that it is being subjected to the most serious systematic efforts to eradicate the Palestinian cause by imposing facts on the ground. These include the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem; the acceleration of illegal settlement activity in the West Bank; tightening the siege on the Gaza Strip; the looting of the Palestinian people's tax revenues; and Israel's lack of commitment to international legitimacy.
The minister added that the State of Palestine currently chairs the Group of 77 and China at the UN and stresses the importance of strengthening international cooperation and partnerships to use legal, political, economic and social means to promote and protect human rights and the right to development. She also stressed the State of Palestine's commitment to international resolutions on women, pointing out that President Mahmoud Abbas has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) without any reservations, as well as the Additional Protocol; the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); the UN Convention against Torture; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The State of Palestine, she pointed out, was the first to develop the national implementation plan for Security Council Resolution 1325, the signing on the objectives of sustainable development, as well as the development of mechanisms to implement Goal 5 on gender equality.
The Palestinian Authority official also reviewed Palestine's governmental mechanisms to protect women from violence. These include the implementation of interrogation and accountability within the framework of the 1325 Plan of Action to monitor and report the attacks of the Israeli occupation soldiers and illegal settlers against Palestinian women; periodically sending these reports to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council and their inclusion in national reports; as well as the existence of the Family Protection Unit in the police authority, shelters for battered women, the National Transfer System, the National Observatory on Violence and the Unified Complaints System.