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In the State of Palestine, women and girls experience multi-layered forms of discrimination and violence due to both external factors such as the Israeli occupation, and internal factors such as tradition, religion, and normative-generated conservatism. Making the rule of law a reality for women poses challenges at every stage: from inadequate and gender-biased legal frameworks, to ineffective implementation of laws and constitutional guarantees; from lack of accountability/oversight systems to gender-blind budgets and infrastructures.
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Several international instruments emphasize the right of women to political participation and access to decision-making positions. The Basic Law of Palestine, as well as other legislation, also emphasizes women’s right to political participation. Women’s participation in political life is important because it realizes democracy in society, contributes to higher development rates, and embodies complete citizenship rights for women. Women’s participation in political life depends upon social, political and cultural factors and, in the Palestinian case, the Israeli occupation, which hinders political practice for men and women.
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The right to work is a fundamental human right enshrined in international conventions and treaties, as well as in local Palestinian laws. Women’s participation in the labour market is important for society – in addition to its role in empowering women and expanding their social and economic choices, women’s participation helps achieve satisfactory economic growth rates, reduce poverty and achieve the general goals of development.
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The Palestinian Basic Law emphasizes the contents of international instruments. Article (9) thereof provides that “Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary, without distinction”. Article (10) of the same law provides that basic human rights and liberties shall be protected and respected, and it calls on the Palestinian Authority to act immediately to accede to international declarations and instruments that protect human rights. In that vein, the government has announced its commitment to developing a comprehensive and complete system for social protection based on rights and ensuring a decent and dignified life for citizens, particularly the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
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Education plays a vital role in building and developing the human capital of any community, and serves as the basis for sustainable development. With limited natural resources, Palestinian society’s most valuable asset is human resources. Thus, investment in education is indispensable to building the economy and general prosperity, as well as key to ensuring an enabling socio-cultural environment that supports women and their rights.