For the first time, a Palestinian woman addresses the UN Security Council

Posted on: October 25, 2018, by :
Randa Siniora addresses the UN Security Council. Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

It is met over 8,000 times, but the UN Security Council had never heard from a Palestinian women – until today. Randa Siniora, head of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling, told the Council today of the gendered impact that occupation has on the daily lives of Palestinian women.

Speaking in the open debate on the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, Randa told the member states that though the council had passed UNSCR1325 unanimously, “the lives of Palestinian women are evidence that these commitments have not been met.”

Giving examples of Palestinian women whose lives have been touched by the violence of occupation, Randa noted that the one of the key consequences is the exacerbation of existing gender inequalities – “the occupation reinforces the patriarchal structures of Palestinian society.” Occupation has driven up domestic violence and femicide.

Though women have played a central role in the Palestinian liberation movement, violence freezes women out of public life, and women’s civil society and journalists have faced a crackdown on their ability to work, as well as assaults and detention.

Despite the clearly gendered nature of occupation, Randa said that Palestinian women continue to be marginlized in the processed that affect them, with women’s representation in Palestinian Authority institutions being barely 5 percent. This has left little opportunity for women’s perspectives and experiences to inform decision making.

To address the problems she outlined, Randa called on the Security Council to take the following actions:

  • Ensure women’s meaningful participation in conflict prevention, democratic transition, reconciliation efforts, and any humanitarian work.
  • Call on the Palestinian Authority to implement its 1325 National Action Plan through allocation of sufficient funds and by providing high-level and ongoing political support for the meaningful participation of Palestinian women in all stages of peace processes.
  • Call upon Israel to end its military occupation and settlement expansion, commit to a political solution, and immediately cease violations of its commitments under international law.
  • Call on states to stop exporting arms to Israel when there is a risk that they may be used to commit serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, in line with the Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Governments, arms companies and arms dealers must be held accountable for transferring arms in situations where they fuel conflict and grave breaches of international law.
  • End the culture of impunity and ensure accountability for abuses and violations against women and women human rights defenders by Israeli forces or any other actors.
  • Ensure all humanitarian efforts are gender-responsive.
  • Use all tools at its disposal to ensure women’s meaningful participation and that gender analysis is integrated into any discussions of the situation, including by adding the OPT to the agenda of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security and inviting women civil society representatives to brief the Council during country-specific discussions.

Watch Randa’s statement as part of the debate below, or read her full statement here.