United Nations Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, convened in Gaza on Sept. 21, for an international seminar about Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the humanitarian context of the Gaza Strip.
With the support of the government of Japan, UN Women intends to tackle the specific abuses that women in Gaza face.
An estimated 250 representatives, both within Palestine and around the world, attended the seminar to gather more insight on preventative measures against GBV. Speakers included Palestine’s Dr. Haifa Al-Agha, Minister of Women’s Affairs, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Dr. Dubravka Šimonovic, and Japan’s First Secretary from the Representative Office of Japan to the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Hiroyuki Kajita.
While the group commended the achievements of humanitarians in the region, they urged attendees to amplify their voices and impact.
Gender-Based violence continues to be a serious issue in Gaza and the gathering discussed ways to intervene and prevent it.
UN Women previously published a report outlining the differences in occurrences of violence against men and women in GAZA in 2009.
Titled “Towards Gender Equality in Humanitarian Response: Addressing the Needs of Women and Men in Gaza A Guidebook for the Humanitarian Sector,” this handbook brought to attention that identifying a specific set of problems faced by each gender would help toward creating more specific set of solutions to the kind of violence they face.
By acknowledging the context of Gaza and the struggles it has faced, this collaborative seminar is a giant leap forward. The 9-year blockade, the shaken community, the lost homes, and the continued violence are so often rendered invisible. The war-crimes and abuse Palestinians face have been diminished, even ignored.
To have an international seminar that touches on not only the humanitarian crisis in Gaza but focuses on GBV is incredible.
By recognizing that women and girls face a different set of abuses in times of war, the representatives can formulate a more effective plan and reinforce the importance of aiding Gaza as a whole.