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UN official calls for legal framework to protect Palestinian women from violence

Gaza campaigners reject violence against women [Mohammed Asad/MEMO]
Gaza campaigners reject violence against women [Mohammed Asad/MEMO]

A UN official in the Gaza Strip demanded, on Monday, the provision of a legal framework to protect Palestinian women and girls from all forms of violence against them.

UN Women's Special Representative in Palestine, Maryse Guimond, said during the launching ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that the campaign calls for more "engagement and participation from all segments of society to combat violence against women in order to achieve the necessary changes to protect them".

"There is a need to break the silence and involve men in this process of change," she added, explaining that, according to the Palestinian official data about 59 per cent of married women in Palestine are exposed to direct violence by their husbands, with 66.8 per cent of the abused women being between 20-24 years old.

"70.4 per cent of women in the Gaza Strip are exposed to violence, while 52 per cent are exposed to violence in the West Bank," she added.

The ceremony, which was organised by the Women's Affairs Centre, in cooperation with the United Nations, carried the slogan "Protection is a path, not a slogan".

READ: Gaza campaigners reject violence against women

In turn, the Director of the Centre for Research and Legal Consultation for Women, Zainab Al-Ghunaimi, said "violence against girls and women in Palestinian society continues. Rather, the phenomenon has exacerbated and reached women's institutions and leaders through incitement and bullying on social media and direct threats against them".

"We take advantage of this campaign to arrange events to confront violence and claims at the local and international levels, but our struggle in this context continues throughout the year," she added.

She explained that women in Palestinian society suffer from different forms of violence, including "communal, or by the oppressive and destructive [Israeli] Occupation, through attacks, arrest, siege, destruction of infrastructure or deteriorating economic conditions".

From 25 November to 10 December, the United Nations celebrates the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

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