Palestine signed the CEDAW agreement in April of 2014 without any reservations. However, the protestors were firmly against the CEDAW on the basis that some of its provisions violates Sharia Law. Protesting and demonstrating is a right guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law that we need to use in the application of Sharia Law in the cases of violence against women, the high number of murder cases, the denial of alimony and custody of her children as well as other issues that the Sharia Law has explained in detail.
Written by: Wafa Aruri
“Four cases were brought against me in order to compel me to give up my right to my father’s inheritance,” M.S. said with tears pouring down her cheeks. She further stated: “My husband passed away and I no longer have someone to provide for me or my children, which is why I was forced to claim my right to my father’s inheritance. However, when my brother found out, he used all means possible to ensure that I surrender my right. He accused me of insulting him, stealing his money and assaulting his wife and filed numerous cases against me in court, which he bargained with in order to waive my right to my father’s inheritance.”
This is a true story of a woman whose husband passed away. She demanded her right, which was legalized under the law, in order to support her children, only to find her brother as an enemy who forced her to waive her right. This is not the only case which is socially, legally and morally rejected, but rather it is the case of 67% of Palestinian women who have been completely deprived of their right to inherit according to official statistics. Most women are shy to demand their rights so that they do not become on bad terms with their families. A few of them stand alone in defending their right, without any social or community support, where legal procrastination continues for years.
In front of me, on the computer screen, is a small video of a march that took place at Al-Manara roundabout in the center of Ramallah against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), where the security services exercised violence. This scene did not seem surprising or new to me even though the successive governments claim that this country is a democracy. I remember a situation that occurred during the coverage of a press conference by the former prime minister. As he was praising the size of the democracy that we enjoy in Palestine, they day before that, the security services prevented journalists from exercising their freedom of press to cover a demonstration. This is exactly the size of democracy we enjoy in Palestine, and this is its true form. There are numerous claims to democracy, but the exact opposite is happening on the ground.
Palestine signed the CEDAW agreement in April of 2014 without any reservations. However, the protestors were firmly against the CEDAW on the basis that some of its provisions violates Sharia Law. However, they were completely absent for many years when others violated Sharia Law by depriving their sisters of their right to inherit. I wonder where are the people who stand by vulnerable women who have been deprived of their rights? It makes us question the intentions of some who joined the march demanding the cancellation of the agreement!
We are more in need than any other time to defend Sharia Law in order to realize women’s rights. We did not find a single protest by those who defend Sharia Law, in which they came out to demand the most severe punishments for the perpetrators of the murders of women. On the contrary, if a demonstration was launched on this basis, there would be numerous and sarcastic comments and posts on social media, such as “killing women is permissible” and “what more do they want?”
Protesting and demonstrating is a right guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law that we need to use in the application of Sharia Law in the cases of violence against women, the high number of murder cases, the denial of alimony and custody of her children as well as other issues that the Sharia Law has explained in detail.
On the other hand, the security services’ suppression in demonstrations is what we need to prohibit violence against women and to stop harassment, blackmail and femicide as well as other issues, instead of seeing it in a demonstration that rejects the CEDAW agreement, regardless of whether we disagree or agree with them.
In addition, the security services must be the most committed to implementing and respecting the law, rather than violating it and the code of conduct by using violence to deal with demonstrators.
In this context, the Director General of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, Dr. Ammar Dweik, affirmed that the right to peaceful protest is guaranteed by the law, and security services are completely prohibited to be violent. He further indicated that this requires investigation into the extent of the police’s commitment to the code of conduct, whether we disagree or agree with the demonstrators. Thus, between the demonstrators’ rejection of the CEDAW and the security services’ suppression, freedom and justice are absent, and the country of democracy is embodied.
The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.