Promoting Gender-Sensitive Justice and Legal Reform in the Palestinian Territories: Perspectives of Palestinian Service Providers
KeywordsService provision; Palestinian women; legal reform; gender-based violence
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AbstractWorldwide, gender-sensitive justice and legal reform has been acknowledged as an important component in improving the status and security of female citizens; in recent decades, such reform has begun in a number of states in the Middle East/North Africa region. In the Palestinian Territories, governmental and non-governmental organizations that render services to women and girls have acknowledged the need to address gender inequality in Palestinian legislation, primarily within the personal status and penal codes by way of reform. This paper presents some findings from working group sessions with Palestinian service providers conducted by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) in the West Bank between April and May 2010 for a project entitled “Palestinian Women and Security.” Service providers discussed the impact of the Palestinian legal framework on the (in)security of women and girls and their ability to render services. Working group sessions revealed gaps in current legislation addressing gender-based violence, as well as service providers’ views on women’s awareness of their rights and the obstacles to reform. Recommendations from service providers are also presented.