“What Palestinian women want: a women-centred vision for a viable independent state”, UN Women and the General Union of Palestinian Women host the 2022 Open Day on Women, Peace Security in Palestine
On 16 and 17 November, UN Women Palestine held its annual Open Day on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), in partnership with the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), and with generous funding from the Government of Norway. The Open Day dialogue brought together women and youth leaders from leading civil society and feminist organizations- in the West Bank including from East Jerusalem and Gaza- with United Nations representatives, member states and international organizations, as well as international distinguished speakers and Palestinian women from the diaspora.
The event paved the way for Palestinian women, gender equality advocates and the international community to reflect on the implementation of UN Security Resolution 1325 in Palestine, while commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the Resolution. The event was held in a hybrid mode, with a live audience in Ramallah and participants joining online. This year, the event was centered around the theme of “What Palestinian Women Want: A Women-Centered Vision for A Viable Independent State”. True to its purpose, the Open Day dialogue provided a safe and participatory space to discuss the multifaceted political and gendered realities that influence Palestinian women’s realization of equality, protection, and participation. It had also provided the participants with an opportunity to reflect and agree on ways to promote a women and youth led vision to state building, peace and security.
“There are many challenges facing Palestinian women. Palestinian women face not only life under occupation, which impacts all aspects of public and private life, but also life in a male-dominated society; the two exacerbate each other”, said Ms. Torunn Viste, Representative of Norway in Palestine. “The occupation must end. It also remains essential to work from within and to change the structures that limit the opportunities for Palestinian women.”
Touching upon the core pillars of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the diverse sessions of the Open Day offered an opportunity to reflect on how to promote Palestinian women’s socio-political participation while constructing a feminist and women-centred vision to the state building project. The event also took into account the efforts from Palestinian civil society, particularly feminist organizations, on building solidarity and pursuing accountability and justice. Complementarities between Palestine National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security and the plan of the Palestinian Women’s Civil Coalition for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 were highlighted and follow up actions to strengthen synergies were agreed on.
Commenting on the Open Day objectives, Her Excellency Dr. Amal Hamad, Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs said: “The pillars of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda are very important for Palestinian women who had suffered a lot, with all their rights that are set out in human rights conventions being violated by the occupation. The State works hard to translate all the aspects of the 1325 resolution into positive steps on the ground that can enhance women‘s protection and participation in the peacebuilding processes.”
Discussions had also focused on the gendered impacts of occupation and conflict on Palestinian women and girls, including in the aftermath of the frequent escalations in Gaza, arrests and forced evictions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Participants addressed the importance of ensuring that the reconstruction and socio-economic recovery of Gaza integrate a gender perspective and place women at the centre of their efforts. They also highlighted the imperative of ensuring that humanitarian action is gender responsive and employ an intersectional lens to the assistance provided.
‘The suffering of the Palestinian women has been further exacerbated, with human rights violations being unprecedently practiced against them, including violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law’, said Intissar Al Wazir, chair of the General Union of Palestinian Women and the Palestinian Women’s Civil Coalition for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325.
Among the core objectives of the event was to increase the awareness of UN officials, Member States representatives and the wider Palestinian audience of existing women-led peace-building tracks and advocacy initiatives. The priorities and challenges of the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Palestine were also highlighted, in addition to advocating for an effective implementation and financing of the Palestinian National Action Plan.
“The Open Day dialogue fosters conducive space for genuine and in-depth conversations, providing a realistic picture of the Women Peace and Security landscape in Palestine and supporting the participants identify actionable recommendations”, concluded Ms. Maryse Guimond, Special Representative of UN Women Palestine.