[JURIST] UN human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović [official profile] called [press release] Monday for women to participate in a new peace process between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Šimonović suggested that reducing violence against women and supporting gender equality will assist in achieving peace in the region. Her comments were made at the end of her first official visit to Israel and the OPT, which spanned nearly two weeks and was intended to investigate violence against women:
My visit takes place after a long absence of any other UN Special Rapporteur visits and I hope that this translates the willingness of both governments to strengthen their efforts to eliminate violence against women and to uphold women’s rights in public and private sphere in line with their international human rights obligations and commitments.
Groups of women in Israel, including refugees and women from minority communities, face multiple forms of discrimination, and the “prolonged occupation” has had a particular impact on females in relation to “embedded patriarchal social norms.” Šimonović will present her final report and recommendation to the UN Human Rights Council [official website] in June.
The violence in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict [HRW backgrounder] has created contentious legal and human rights situations. In July Amnesty International called upon Palestinian and Israeli officials [JURIST report] to address human rights violations committed by their forces. The UN Committee Against Torture, a body of independent experts, released closing remarks [JURIST report] to its fifty-seventh session in May, expressing concern about the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinians. An Israeli court in April convicted [JURIST report] Yosef Haim for the 2014 murder of a Palestinian teenager that led to the 50-day war in Gaza. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories Makarim Wibisono [official profile] resigned [JURIST report] from his position in January, saying that Israel has not granted him access to the OPT after repeated requests.