Gaza lighthouse glows in orange marking the international day for elimination of violence against women. ©Abed Zaqout

The European Union and its Member States, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, joined Palestinians in Gaza to light Gaza lighthouse in orange to mark the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women.

This activity comes under the joint campaign "#HearMeToo: Voices against Violence”, a combined effort of the UN, EU, its Member States and other international development partners, to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence in Palestine. Civil society organizations and media outlets also join this national initiative to end violence against women and girls.

In Palestine, women and girls continue to experience various kinds of violence at home and within their society. It is a structural violence including discriminatory laws, traditional practices, and domestic violence. Violence generated by the occupation also promotes and strengthens the patriarchal powers and sustains the cycle of violence against women within the Palestinian domestic sphere.

"Every year, the EU organises several events, in cooperation with local and international partners, to stand up for women and girls in Palestine and around the globe. This year, the lighthouse in Gaza is glowing in orange to mark the international day for elimination of violence against women," said the EU Representative Ralph Tarraf. "The European Union and its Member States have chosen to be at the frontline of fighting gender based violence. All women and girls should have a life free from fear and violence. Voices against violence should be louder and stronger," he added.

Representatives from UNDP and EU pushing the button for the Gaza lighthouse to turn orange

''Violence against women and girls is an outrageous and wide spread human rights violation, globally. The deteriorating toll of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza negatively impacts social and family dynamics, which results in gender based violence. Palestinian women continue to be key actors in promoting resilient economies and communities and should be enabled to socially and economically empower themselves to achieve their full potential and live in dignity within an enabling environment, where justice and human rights are safeguarded,'' said UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Roberto Valent.

Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. The impact of violence has serious physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. Violence against women is not only limited to women themselves, but rather entrenches to their families, the community and the country at large.

EU-funded projects in Palestine address gender in different contexts and contribute to the national efforts to promote gender equality. The EU supports equal engagement of women in economic development and promotes stronger involvement in governance at local and national levels. This is in addition to a number of human rights and youth actions supported by the EU where gender is a core component. 

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