In 2007 the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action”.
That is not the reality for many people today. Aminah is one of these people. She has lost everything. One year ago her husband died and during the Gaza offensive she also lost her home. These events have had devastating consequences for Aminah, not knowing what’s going to happen in the future. Currently Aminah is living with her parents in Jerusalem because she holds a Jerusalem ID which gives her permission to legally reside in Jerusalem. Her permit to live in Gaza was revoked after the death of her husband and now she no longer has permission to reside in the place that has been her home for 30 years. On top of that Aminah may also have challenges claiming reparations of her destroyed house in Gaza as the property was registered in her husband’s name.
Aminah’s story is one of many. Story after story describes how people are affected by the relationship between the losses of women during military operations, an occupation that is designed to control the movement of Palestinians within the occupied Palestinian State, and the lack of women’s rights. All these factors need to be taken into consideration when investigating violations of human rights and the corresponding rights to reparation such as the right to return to your home or getting compensated for your loss of home.
To achieve change, women’s voices must be heard and the world needs to support them in claiming their human rights. One step towards that was made when WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) invited representatives of international NGOs including The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation and a delegation of Palestinian women human rights defenders to the 27th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. This is the first time a delegation of Palestinian women human rights defenders participated in the annual session of the HRC. The invitation was very timely and gave the Palestinian delegation an opportunity to meet and have a dialogue with many different parties, including the International Independent Commission of Inquiry which mandate is “to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014”.
The mandate of the commission fact finding and the commissioners stressed the importance of obtaining data from Palestinian women’s human rights organisations while the delegation underlined the importance of investing the implications of violations of human rights and humanitarian law from a gender perspective, so justice is served for women like Aminah including her right to reparation. The world has an urgent need for the international community to take action in the name of humanity, fundamental human rights and justice. Otherwise, people both in Israel and Palestine continue to live in a state of perpetual fear and insecurity as failing to uphold international law is creating a dangerous precedent and space for fanatic voices and violent acts, discrimination and injustice to go unabated.
More on the event here.