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The YWCA of Palestine International Women’s Day Statement 2024

The YWCA of Palestine International Women’s Day Statement 2024

International Women’s Day is a day to champion women, highlight their achievements, and assess the world’s progress on women’s rights.

This year's theme for IWD is “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”, as achieving gender equality and women’s well-being in all aspects of life is more crucial than ever if we want to create prosperous economies and a healthy planet.

The celebration of International Women's Day coincides this year with the continuation of Israeli aggression against Palestinian people, including women, especially in the Gaza Strip.

The world counts again the increasing death toll in Gaza from Israeli strikes targeting civilians, thus breaching international humanitarian law. Over 31,000 people have been killed, including 10,000 women, and thousands wounded since October 7th, 2023. Besides the destruction of homes, residential buildings, property, and infrastructure, around 1.8 million people were forcibly displaced due to fear, protection concerns, and the destruction of their homes. A full siege was imposed on the Gaza Strip to stop all deliveries of food, water, electricity, and fuel.

In these difficult times, the YWCA of Palestine recalls its demand that human rights and international law be respected, affirmed, and protected for all. We support Palestine’s right to self-determination as guaranteed in UN Security Council Resolution 242 and as affirmed in Resolution 338. Peace with justice has been a constant vision and goal over the past 130 years of our movement on this land.

The YWCA of Palestine strives to protect the rights of Palestinian women under the ongoing military occupation and the continued oppression and human rights violations targeted at Palestinians in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Security Council Resolutions related to peace and security, most notably UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, urge member states to take the necessary measures to ensure the full protection of women in armed conflicts and their meaningful participation in decision-making and peace processes. 

The YWCA of Palestine works to empower women by creating the opportunities for them to be leaders in their communities, promoting their participation in the public sphere, and raising their awareness of their individual, collective, and national rights. In line with its mission and international law, and in accordance with all indicators and facts issued by women’s and human rights organizations, we affirm the following: 

- Palestinian women and youth are subjected to one or multiple forms of violence, physical, psychological, sexual, and verbal, in addition to marginalization and deprivation. 

- Palestinian women and young women are subjected to double violence: political violence due to the Israeli occupation and its systematic practices, and social violence. 

- The absence of international protection for abused women under occupation; 

- Women face discrimination in all aspects of public life, especially politics. 

- The absence of protection of the right of refugee women and young women to active participation in decision-making bodies in refugee camps; 

At the YWCA of Palestine, we believe in the importance of implementing the principles and mechanisms of women's protection and empowerment in all aspects of life, as well as mitigating the effects of Israel’s policies on the lives of women. We affirm that the empowerment of women, young women, and girls to demand their social, economic, and political rights is essential to creating a society where equality, freedom, justice, and human dignity prevail. We work through coordination and networking with human rights organizations to lobby policymakers to end violations of the right to freedom of speech and commit to the recognition and protection of this basic human right. 

In order to achieve these goals, the YWCA of Palestine continues to incorporate the “Peace and Security” agenda and all related international conventions into its efforts at the local, regional, and international levels. This is accomplished through the activation of specialized networks for the protection of women's rights. 

- We call on the international community to abide by its obligations under international law, the International Declaration of Human Rights, and UNSCRs 1325 on the protection of women in conflict-affected areas; 

- Call on the contracting parties to the Four Geneva Conventions to commit to protecting Palestinian women as citizens of an occupied country; 

- Call on the Palestinian government to abide by its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and CEDAW, and to align its national legislation; 

- Continue to work with the Palestinian government to increase the participation of women in decision-making. 

We continue the fight for women in Palestine through our projects and continued support of gender equality measures in the state of Palestine. We celebrate our successes and victories related to improving women’s access to education, financial empowerment, and participation in politics; however, we acknowledge there is still a way to go. We strongly believe that gender equality cannot be achieved until all women in the world have access to equal basic rights. If the aim is for a sustainable tomorrow with gender equality as a cornerstone, the international community has an obligation to put efforts into making this world a better place for all. It is our collective responsibility globally to support each other as women and women’s organizations to build a world where safety and peace have a chance!

Happy International Women’s Day to all women in Palestine and around the world!

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