Strengthening the Rule of Law in the oPt: Justice and Security for the Palestinian People
This is a Joint Programme between UN Women and UNDP that will be launched in 2014. The Joint Programme will work towards seven priority outcomes: 1) Capacity of justice and security institutions strengthened and linkages forged; 2) Civil society contribution to the rule of law and community access to justice in the West Bank enhanced; 3) Civil society contribution to the rule of law and community access to justice in the Gaza Strip enhanced; 4) Gender responsiveness of justice, security and legislative actors strengthened; 5) Women’s and girls’ access to justice and security improved by ensuring accountable service provision to prevent, protect and respond to violence, and by addressing their broader legal needs; 6) Juvenile justice and adherence to child rights improved; 7) Capacity of key actors and stakeholders to monitor progress and results in rule of law development increased.
The “Mehwar Centre for the Protection and Empowerment of Women and Families” project started in 2004 with the goal of establishing the first specialized, multi-purpose anti-violence centre in the occupied Palestinian territory. Funded by the Government of Italy (until 2012), and currently by the Government of Iceland, and executed by UN Women since 2008, the project has addressed the problem of violence against women through a holistic approach. The Mehwar Project focuses on prevention efforts, in addition to protection and empowerment of women survivors of violence and their children, while lobbying for the adoption of national policies and laws to ensure women’s right to live in safety and dignity and ending impunity for perpetrators of violence.
The Mehwar Centre, run by a highly specialized team, provides protective sheltering services for up to 25 women with their children at a time. The Centre offers social counselling, legal aid, medical care and psychological support to women and children victims of violence, in addition to social and legal counselling for families in distress, as well as outreach and community programmes focusing on raising awareness of violence against women and social support towards the victims. Through the UN Women executed project in support of Mehwar Centre, a number of knowledge products documenting the overall experience, as well policies, guidelines and procedures for the optimized management of specialized anti-violence services have been produced. In line with the National Strategy to Combat VAW and with the aim of attaining and upholding international standards in sheltering services for Palestinian women, as well as ensuring complementarity of services, UN Women is currently mobilizing resources to continue supporting Mehwar and other Palestinian shelters.
Support for Delivery of Security and Justice Services for Women Victims of Violence
Through a 3-year programme funded by DFID, UN Women worked to support increased government accountability for women victims of violence and enhanced women and girls’ access to justice and security services. The programme has sought to create and institutionalize systems, policies, procedures, mechanisms and services related to access to equitable justice for women and girls victims of violence. Specialized teams within key justice and security institutions such as the Ministry of Interior/Palestinian Civil Police, the Attorney General Office, the High Judicial Council, and the Ministry of Justice were prioritized within the Programme as crucial for increasing institutional gender responsiveness. Building on the fundamental drive and support of gender advocates, the programme has also supported the creation of a core group of gender advocates within the professional category of lawyers. The establishment of the first National Observatory on Violence Against Women, through producing consistent data and information, supports programming, advocacy and lobbying initiatives to fight violence against women.