Atrocities perpetrated with the use of excessive force and live ammunition against unarmed Palestinians in Gaza strip who was marching for their Right of Return, without posing imminent threats to the Israelis, is unacceptable. The march has already seen the death of 100 Palestinians in the last few weeks, worsening the existing crises situation. The international community must ensure that those responsible for human rights violation are held accountable and that justice for the victims are ensured.
The Palestinians commemorates May 15 – the day Israel was formed in 1948 – as the day of Nakba; the Catastrophe in Arabic. 750,000 Palestinians were forcefully displaced from their homes and pushed into refugee camps in several places including occupied Palestinian territory (west Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) and other neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Syria. The ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians took place along with the destruction of more than 500 villages occupied by the Zionists.
70 years on, Nakba continues and more than 12 million Palestinians remain stateless as the refugees and those displaced are denied from returning to their land. Donald Trump’s anti-Islamic policies, his announcement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the recent moving of the embassy have further fueled tensions and intensified the existing fractions between Israel and Palestine.
The situations of the Palestine refugees are dire as they suffer from institutionalised discrimination. They are relegated to live in their camps and prohibited from engaging in any professions. They are deprived of their civil rights in their own lands where their daily lives continue to be marked by access restrictions implemented by the Israeli authorities, including physical obstacles, such as checkpoints, roadblocks as well as a complex bureaucratic permit regime.
The situation is worse for women and girls. During the war in Gaza in 2014, at least 15 of 32 hospitals were damaged, increasing pressure on functioning health facilities. During this time, more than 40,000 pregnant women could not access basic reproductive health care. Neonatal mortality reportedly doubled from 7 per cent to 14 percent. Unmet family planning needs persist, especially in Gaza. Many women of reproductive age continue to suffer disproportionately from malnutrition and anaemia, often related to early marriage and successive pregnancies.
Israeli-imposed restrictions cause further havoc on women’s daily lives, leading to a systematic denial of their socioeconomic rights. Checkpoints and other physical obstacles often cause long delays in reaching schools, jobs and farmland. Moreover, the right of Palestinian women to a family is also severely compromised by the complex system of permits and narrowly defined criteria for family unification that prevent Palestinians with different residency statuses (West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Israel or another nationality) from legally residing together. Palestinian women and girls continue to suffer from a double burden of violence, resulting from the Israeli occupation and violence from within their own communities. The current tension in Gaza will further worsen the situation for all and specially for women and girls.
We therefore seek attention of the international community on this issue. We align with Amnesty International’s position on calling the attack against Palestinians a violation of international law and highlight the urgent need for an arms embargo against Israel as an immediate action.
We call on the international community, including the UN Security Council, to immediately intervene to ensure Palestinians’ Rights of Return and for protection of their human rights to live with dignity and safety. The international committee should ensure that the right of women and girls are upheld in accordance with CEDAW that Israel has ratified. Resolving this conflict by guaranteeing the Right of Return to the Palestinians is crucial to sustainable peace as enshrined in SDG 2030.
Organisations and alliances
1. Aliansi Remaja Independen (Independent Young People Alliance), Indonesia
2. Aliansi Satu Visi
3. Ardhanary Institute, Indonesia
4. Asia – Pacific Women’s Alliance for Peace and Security (APWAPS)
5. Association for Prevention of Septic Abortion, Bangladesh (BAPSA), Bangladesh
6. Bandhu Social Welfare Society, Bangladesh
7. Beyond Beijing Committee (BBC), Nepal
8. Chanan Development Association (CDA), Pakistan
9. Chhori Nepal
10. Durbin Foundation, Bangladesh
11. Federation of Reproductive Health Association of Malaysia (FRHAM), Malaysia
12. Food Information and Action Network (FIAN) International,
13. Fokus Muda, Indonesia
14. Forum Remaja Independen Papua (FRIP), Indonesia
15. Foundation for Social Transformation, India
16. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)
17. Huvadhoo Aid, Maldives
18. International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific)
19. Jago Nari, Bangladesh
20. James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University- Bangladesh
21. Naripokkho- Bangladesh
22. North East Network, India
23. Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia., Indonesia
24. Perkumpulan Pamflet Generasi, Indonesia
25. Puska Genseks, Indonesia
26. SAHAYOG, India
27. Sangat, India
28. Sanggar Swara, Indonesia
29. Voice of Women, Nepal
30. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
31. Women Peace Network (Myanmar)
32. Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan (YJP), Indonesia
33. YIFOS, Indonesia
34. YKP, Indonesia
35. Youth Action Nepal (YAN), Nepal
36. Youth Advocacy Network, Pakistan
37. Youth Development Center, Nepal
38. YUWA, Nepal
39. Yuwalaya, Nepal
40. Elizabeth (Sabet) Cox – Papua New Guinea/Australia
41. Shamima Chowdhury – Bangladesh
42. Sunitha Bishan, Malaysia
43. Tahira Abdullah, human rights defender, development practitioner & researcher, Islamabad,