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October, 2016-   Women’s Affairs Center conducted a final ceremony for the project of  ”  Promoting Legal Empowerment of Vulnerable Women in Marginalized Areas of the Gaza Strip” funded  by UNDP and UN Women joint program ” Supporting Rule of Law in Opt: Justice and Security to the Palestinian People, Sawasya”  ( 2014-2017), attended by tens of civil society organizations representatives.

During the ceremony, the director of Women’s Affairs Center (WAC) said; “previously it was difficult for women in the Gaza Strip to access justice, however with such projects it became easier to empower these women legally”.

She added; “the legal clinic number five of the center is providing legal representation and consultation for many women from different areas in Gaza, but still there are number of women who can’t access legal institutions”.  Syam also emphasized on the need of continuing such projects and to cooperate with different organizations to target more women from all the governorates.

In addition, Mrs. Zeinab Al Ghoneime; the legal researcher and director of the Center for Women Legal Research and Consulting presented an analytical report that she prepared for the Society of Women Graduates in cooperation with WAC on ” the mechanisms of the rule of law and justice for women – legislations and laws that have been issued in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since the 2007 division”.

Al Ghoneime clarifies that the purpose of the report is to ascertain the response of the legislative system in order to have a legal environment that responds to justice pursue, the rule of law and empower women legally. Also, to check the impact of the political and the geographical division on the effectiveness of women access to justice and mobilize the civil society to put pressure on the decision makers to improve the mechanisms of strengthening the rule of law and women’s access to justice.

“In general, legislations are considered as one of the most significant mechanisms of justice in the society, and in order to attain social justice you must check the extent of ensuring these laws to the human rights in general and women’s laws in particular” Said Al Ghoneime

She added;” as a result of the political division the Legislative Council is deactivated, in which the members didn’t meet since nine years ago. So many legislations which were issued in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip weren’t just and fair for women”.

As Al Ghoneime stated that in the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas issued (707) regulation and decree in the period from 2007- 2016 based on the article (43) of the Palestinian basic law, while Hamas deputies continue conducting the Legislative Council sessions in Gaza and issued (57) decree without legal justifications. She also mentioned that most of these decrees and regulations which were issued on the West Bank or on Gaza don’t suit but only the place where they were issued and can’t be applied on another place, which deepen the division and complicated the legislation system in Palestine.

The project coordinator; Sanabel Abu Said also talked about the project’s achievements which aimed at contributing in promoting legal empowerment for women in marginalized areas and increasing their capacities in using the legal procedures to access the available services and resources in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the project aims at raising the legal awareness and legal empowerment of women in the marginalized areas and strengthening the capacities of the social actors based on the international standards.

Suhair Al Baba; the lawyer of the legal clinic said; ” the legal service provided to women through legal representation and consultation to help them access justice through awareness raising workshops, as the clinic plays an important role for women”.

She added that women who received legal consultation are guiding other women to ask for advice and that the legal clinic is still doing its work and it will keep going.