- ABOUT SAY NO
- AROUND THE WORLD
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More than a third of women living in the Gaza Strip are exposed to physical abuse in their homes, according to a 2011 violence survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). Almost 15 per cent are exposed to sexual abuse, and a staggering three-quarters experience psychological abuse. These figures highlight a growing concern throughout Gaza, where the Israeli blockade has halted imports and cut jobs, destabilising the local economy and increasing poverty. As Gazans continue to survive with less – earning lower salaries and living in crowded housing – the effects on families include an increase in domestic violence.
Running over a 16-day period, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is organising a series of youth forums with 15 community-based organisations and youth activity centres across the Gaza Strip. Targeting young women and men, interactive discussion groups will be conducted with the aim of highlighting the role of youth in preventing and eliminating violence against women, to disseminate possible actions that can be undertaken by girls and boys to combat violence, and to inform them about the relevant available resources and services they can access.
In addition to the awareness campaign, UNRWA partners with other UN agencies and civil society organisations to implement the 3rd edition of the annual “Festival to Combat Violence Against Women” which will contribute to raising awareness among young generations of Palestinians about the challenges of the sensitive issue of violence against women. The festival will include artistic performances, including a theatrical performance on the issue of honour killing, educational lectures, and other activities. It will mobilise the recently trained youth forums—groups of male and female Palestine refugees who together will share experiences, reflect on the issue of violence against women in Gaza and develop implementation and action plans for addressing violence against women in their communities.
|Date:||20 November 2012|
|Action Type:||Awareness Raising|
On 20 November 2012, UNRWA Gaza Field Office launched its UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign under the theme “Youth Join Forces to End Violence Against Women”.
During the campaign UNRWA, in partnership with 15 community-based organizations across the Gaza Strip, launched a series of youth forums and discussion groups on Gender-based Violence (GBV) reaching out to over 250 youth across the Gaza Strip. Specifically, the activities aimed to strengthen the involvement, cooperation and networking among youth on issues relating to GBV and the identification of the roles of youth in preventing and responding to gender-based violence in the Gaza Strip.
Upon the conclusion of the sessions, participants identified a set of recommendations for youth engagement with prevention of violence, such as conducting advocacy campaigns to bring to the attention of civil society any legal frameworks that discriminate against women; promoting the integration of concepts such as ‘gender’ and ‘gender-based violence’ in educational materials in schools and implement awareness sessions on GBV in schools; using social media to advocate gender equality among fellow youth; and establishing a youth parliament that support women’s political, economic and social rights.
As expressed by participant Mohammed (24), “The aims with these strategies are to raise the awareness, particularly of youth, regarding the importance of public engagement with and prevention of domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. There is a need for motivation in this regard.”
Under the slogan Our Future is in Our Hands: Let’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, UNRWA participated in the 3rd Central Festival to Combat Violence Against Women in the Gaza Strip in partnership with UN agencies and the Amal Coalition to Combat Violence Against Women which took place in Gaza City on 16 December 2012.
Speaking at the event, which attracted around 1,300 guests, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Robert Turner noted that “to achieve lasting change we must join forces to develop policies that protect women, address discrimination against women and promote gender equality. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to join in the effort to eradicate violence against women and move away from a culture of violence.”
A small Youth Conference was also organised to discuss the theatrical play “You and I are a Nation” tackling the issue of honour killing. 85 youth participated in the conference which enabled the young participants to discuss a topic which remains largely taboo in the Gaza Strip. Participants stressed that the play had a significant potential to be used as a community awareness and advocacy tool. As noted by participant Ne’ma (20) “the play dealt with sensitive issue in Gaza in a bold, yet acceptable way and succeeded to break down many psychological and social barriers.”