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The WCLAC Bulletin- December 2017

WCLAC holds workshop on Family Protection Law- On 28 December, The Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling held a workshop for Palestinian women’s organizations, The General Union of Palestinian Women, Violence Against Women Organizations Forum, and activist lawyers. The workshop was designed to further develop national strategies for the prevention of domestic violence, the matter of which all participating parties displayed profound interest in. These strategies are developed through a legal framework which protects the family from the perpetrator and meets the standards of international human rights laws, meanwhile fulfilling the national need to close the gap in legislation in order to address domestic violence issues. It also highlighted the need to improve the Palestinian Penal Code to a more gender-sensitive format. The workshop aimed to establish the position of organizations within the Draft Decree on the 2016 Protection of Families from Violence Law. This will be one of lobbying and supporting the process of advocacy by using specialised methods to urge official institutions on enforcing the protection law, as well as raising awareness among other groups and institutions. 

WCLAC’s Advocacy Team Leader Joins the General Assembly of UN Women’s Youth Gender Innovation Agora (GIA)- WCLAC’s Advocacy Team Leader, Amani Aruri, joined the general assembly of Youth Gender Innovation Agora (GIA) in the UN Women Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS) this month. AGORA is a consultative forum and a platform for regular dialogue for youth. The GIA is formed of civil society professionals, young activists, and advocacy and social media influencers who support youth representatives developing innovative gender equality solutions, and to engage with various stakeholders. The GIA members were appointed with the task to provide expertise on youth and gender issues, encourage the mobilization of young people, and facilitate the dissemination of information to networks and organizations around the region. Ms. Aruri participated in the first assembly meeting in Cairo, Egypt between 20-24 December where the annual plan of AGORA 2018 was formulated. This coming year, WCLAC and young leaders from Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, and other countries will be working on improving the image of women in media, documenting cases of violations of women’s rights using various media, advocating for women’s rights, and producing a report that analyses the image of Arab women in media. During her visit, Ms. Aruri attended an event organized by UN Women, called HE for SHE, to engage men in women’s rights and gender equality advocacy. Amani communicated the Palestinian women’s situation to more than 300 participants from the Arab World, and presented WCLAC’s work and activities that aim to empower women.  

WCLAC concludes training for Women’s Rights Activists and unions’ members on Economic Participation and Regulating Laws in Hebron- Between the 3-5 December, WCLAC facilitated a training workshop for 25 women’s rights activists and unions’ members over three days, aimed at furthering women’s economic rights activism. The training focused on gender issues, gender discrimination in the labor market, the limited market opportunities for women, women’s low participation in the labor force and the reasons behind it, and the policies and measures that must be taken to encourage women’s engagement in the labor force. The training emphasised women’s rights as outlined in the Palestinian Labor Law, and the violations against women in the labor market despite the provisions of the law. The Palestinian Social Security Law was also reviewed and compared to the Labor Law, focussing on the flouting some women's rights face. The training also focused on using PCBS (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) statistics to analyze the Palestinian working women’s situation, as well as to find indicators that show the status of women in the labor market. The training dealt with how to calculate the participation rate in the market, the unemployment rate, employment and other indicators. 

WCLAC holds workshop entitled "Approaching the Argentinean and Palestinian Women Experience: Prospects and Challenges"- On December 10th WCLAC held a workshop on Approaching the Argentinean and Palestinian Women Experience: Prospects and Challenges", as part of the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls. The workshop was presented by Dr. Norma Abraham, an expert on gender issues and a doctorate from the University of El Salvador in social communication related to gender. The workshop evoked the experience and struggles from the women's movement in Argentina, which over previous years has been successful. She explained the importance of networking with women activists and women from around the world in order to share their experiences. Particular attention was noted for Palestinian women to illustrate the reality of women in Palestine. Dr. Abraham also spoke about the problems faced by Argentine women and how they deal with these obstacles. Dr. Rima Nazzal, member of the Palestinian National Council and General Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Women, presented the experience of the Palestinian women's movement. She expressed the two hurdles Palestinian women face, fighting the occupation and changing local laws that are discriminatory in the context of patriarchal society. Several representatives from local institutions participated in the workshop, and a delegation presented The Embassy of Argentine in Palestine.

WCLAC participates in the Universal Periodic Review 29 Pre-sessions held between civil society organizations (CSOs), national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and Permanent Missions at the Human Rights Council in GenevaOn December 13th WCLAC participated in the 29th Universal Periodical Review (UPR) pre-session at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The session was hosted for civil society organisations, national human rights institutions, and permanent missions. Over two days WCLAC met with representatives of previous missions from Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Mexico, Finland, Ireland, and Portugal. WCLAC also met with the First Secretary of Human Rights at the EU Delegation to the UN, and the Assistant of the Special Rapporteur of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. A policy brief on the UPR report of Israel, which WCLAC submitted in June 2017, was presented alongside recommendations which WCLAC urged member states to consider. WCLAC's main focus was on the gendered impact of Israeli Occupation, especially on women in Jerusalem and the effect of forced eviction and collective punishment. Also addressed was the impact of Israeli blockade on the lives of women in Gaza, violence towards Palestinians in the West Bank by Israeli forces through night raids, settler attacks on Palestinians, property destruction and home demolition. Members of permanent missions took note of these recommendations, which will be taken for consideration in their countries recommendations to Israel during the 29th UPR Working Group session in January 2018; the human rights situation in Israel will be discussed at that time.

WCLAC holds training for Shari’a training lawyers in Jerusalem- Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), completed a five-day training course on “Procedures and Mechanisms of Pleadings in Sharia Courts” at the Centre’s branch in Jerusalem. The trainings were a part of building the capacity of these trainees. Among the most important topics that were raised in the trainings were: the mechanisms of court, types and specialties of court, types of Shari’a courts and their divisions according to religious sects, conflict between laws and courts, developments in the law enforcement department, the differences between the Israeli and West Bank laws, the powers of the Shari'a Court, foreign rule and how to implement it, how to prove both marriage and divorce with practical evidence. Moreover, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Law, 5751-1991 was discussed in addition to creating awareness on gender issues and working on supportive attitudes towards women. It’s worth mentioning that the trainings was implemented under the auspices of the joint UNDP / UN Women Programme “Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Justice and Security for the Palestinian People (SAWASYA)”. 

WCLAC participates in a training of trainers for Integrating Men in Gender Equality- In November, WCLAC participated in a regional training of trainers (TOT) in Cairo hosted by the United Nations Regional Office for Women on "Engaging men and boys for gender equality”, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The program (2016-2018) aims to respond to the challenges and opportunities related to gender equality and the empowerment of women resulting from the Arab uprisings. It also seeks to understand and address the root causes of gender inequality through an innovative bottom-up approach. This program is implemented by the United Nations Program for Women in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine. A practical approach was adopted in management of training workshops through integrating men in discussing issues of manhood, gender and gender equality. The training was attended by 25 participants from various civil society organizations in Palestine, Morocco, and Egypt, providing an exchange of experiences among participants in the areas of gender equality and gender diverse outreach.

Israeli Troops Detain Palestinian Teen Girls at Gunpoint- Trumps decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked protests and escalated violence across the West Bank this month. Amateur footage which appeared online shows two Israeli troops aggressively pulling Palestinian girls out of a Red Crescent Ambulance in the Hebron district, before handcuffing and detaining them. Watch here.

Women carve niche in Gaza’s small theatre world- Three Palestinian women who came together last year to establish an all-female theater troupe have taken Gaza’s top issues such as immigration and family ties to the stage with a play called "Hashtag." The theatre scene in Gaza has previously been exclusive to men and women were very rarely seen on stage. The play is meant to depict the values of cooperation and stability to encourage young people to remain in Gaza and not immigrate. The production team was completely comprised of women and the cast were 13 children aged 10-14 in order to target that age demographic. Theatre is often becoming more recognized for its role in education. Read more.

Israel releases 'youngest’ Palestinian detainee 14-year-old Malak al-Ghaliz- Last Friday, Israeli authorities released Malak al-Ghaliz, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from Ramallah, after seven months in detention. Malak, a Palestinian refugee from the Jalazone refugee camp east of Ramallah, has been imprisoned since 20 May, accused of attempting to stab an Israeli occupation soldier at the Qalandiya checkpoint. Read more


MADA wraps up three day training on digital security- The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), completed a three-day training course on digital security in Ramallah, as part of the Center’s constant efforts to protect digital rights, privacy and digital security. Two specialized trainers conducted the course which also focused on tools to help avoid hacking, information theft, and maintain security when using online information systems. Media professionals who work in the Palestinian NGO sector participated and were provided will the ability to disperse information on digital security to journalists and technicians within their institutions. Read more.

“Women have to work much harder than men’ says this Palestinian director- This month Annemarie Jacir’s new film Wajib premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival. Jacir directed and wrote the screenplay for the film which tells a tale about the relationship between a father and his son, and the peculiarities of Palestinian tradition, set in the city of Nazareth. She says of being a female director, “Women have to work much, much harder than men do and luckily I inherited 'work’ genes…I started working when I was 15. I don’t know how to take a vacation, but I’m trying to learn. Making films is a battle, each one has been difficult, and mostly that’s because of funding. Finding the funds is probably our greatest challenge as independent filmmakers.” Read more.

Identity of mysterious woman seen in iconic protest photo revealed after 30 years- In an iconic photograph taken in 1987, an immaculately dressed Palestinian woman holding her bright yellow high-heel shoes was captured as she threw a stone toward Israeli forces in Beit Sahour, a village in the occupied West Bank. Thirty years later, and amid a new surge of protests in Palestine, the mysterious woman’s identity has finally been revealed. An Iranian photographer took the photo and it has since been posted around the internet and used on various posters. Awwad, in her interview with the BBC, spoke about how both men and women would take to the street in the first intifada to demonstrate against and confront the Israeli army. Read more.

Palestinian women protest US Jerusalem decision- On 24 December women in Gaza staged a protest march from Al-Saraya Square to the Unknown Solider Square in central Gaza. Protesters chanted slogans and waved banners against Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They stressed that Palestinian women are an integral part of ongoing protests and demonstrations against the US decision. Read more. 

Jordan pays homage to Palestinian 'Lady Photographer’ with exhibit- One legacy of photographer Karimeh Abbud lies in the unique way she captured daily life in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as the “Lady Photographer” she was the first known Palestinian or Arab women to have set up a photography studio catering to the public. Images depicting the lives and the era she saw through her lens are currently on view at Darat al Funun (House of the Arts) in the Jabal al-Webde neighborhood, in Amman. Abbud had access to the private lives of women, which male photographers of the time could not infiltrate. She was born in Bethlehem in 1893 and studied Arabic literature at university. She began working as a photographer in the 1920’s, documenting women and girls’ lives, interiors, and weddings. The Al-Karmel newpaper entitled her as the 'only national female photographer’. Read more.