The adoption of the NAP on UNSCR 1325 in Palestine: A milestone for Palestinian women and girls in working towards peace

Date: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Progressive societies are based on the respect of justice, equal opportunities and the pivotal role played by women in economic, political, social and cultural development. This means that women must be able to participate at all levels, as well as receive protection against any violation of rights, including under the Israeli Occupation” declared Dr. Haifa El-Agha, Minister of Women’s Affairs, at the launch of the first Palestinian National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

By adopting its National Action Plan, the second in the Arab States Region after Iraq, the Government of Palestine sends a strong signal to Palestinian women and girls, recognizing their central role in advancing the peace and security agenda, as well as its own responsibility in responding to the differential impact of the conflict on their lives.

Developed by the High National Committee for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and supported by UN Women, the European Union, and a number of other actors, the NAP establishes a comprehensive action framework in support of the Government of Palestine, civil society and women’s movement’s efforts to make participation of women and inclusion of their perspectives and needs in peace, security and humanitarian processes a reality.

Women are a key resource for promoting peace and stability but have often been excluded from conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Palestine is no exception where despite the recognition of their central role and contribution in the struggle in the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, their participation and leadership have been limited.

Growing evidences demonstrate how peace negotiations influenced by women are much more likely to end in agreement and to last longer. A UN global study1 undertaken for the 15th year of the women, peace and security agenda establishes for example that women’s participation and inclusion makes humanitarian assistance more effective, contributes to the conclusion and implementation of peace talks and sustainable peace, and accelerates economic recovery.

In Palestine, as seen in other parts of the world, the conflict disproportionately impacts women and girls, taking multiple and different forms, from restriction on education, access to healthcare, participation in public life, and increased levels of violence. 

All these elements are reflected in the NAP, which addresses not only Palestinian women representation in decision-making at the local, regional and international levels, but also protection, accountability to human rights violation, and relief and recovery efforts. 

In this regards, the NAP adopts concrete measures to increase women’s participation in decision-making processes, including their representation in reconciliation and negotiation committees, as well as national institutions and international and peacemaking bodies. It also stresses the importance of appropriate and quality services to respond to women and girls victims of violence, including legal, social and health services, and the establishment of protection mechanisms to prevent and protect from the acts of violence and aggression targeting Palestinian women and girls. 

In this respect accountability of perpetrators of violence is fundamental to ensure justice and prevent further human rights violations. The NAP calls for better documentation and collection of data of attacks and rights’ violations faced by Palestinian women and girls, and the use of international accountability mechanisms and fora. Finally, and resonating even more 2 years after the Gaza ceasefire, the specific identification of needs and the differentiated impact of the conflict on women and girls, the development of assistance programmes, as well as the inclusion of Palestinian women and girls and their active participation in relief, recovery and development efforts, recognized as a responsibility of all parties, from the national government to the international community. 

The adoption of the NAP is a starting point. Experience has shown that focus must be maintained to ensure implementation of the NAP. The broad participation of civil society, the women’s movement, academia, donor partners through different workshops, meetings and consultations in the NAP development process is a positive signal and will hopefully lead to an effective implementation of the NAP, including proper financial support to the realization of the plan.

UN Women and the European Union welcome a milestone for Palestinian women and girls, and more particularly for those who are working every day for Palestinian women and girls’ voices to be heard and for their inclusion in development and peace efforts. UN Women and the European Union will continue supporting the Government of Palestine and civil society towards the effective implementation of this plan.

[1] UN Women, “Preventing conflict, Transforming Justice, Ensuring Peace – A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325”, 2015