Ma’an Network Hosts a Training Workshop on Preventing Violence against Women
November 10, 2016
Jericho – Ma’an News Agency – Ma’an Network concluded a two-day training workshop on Thursday, held at the Jericho Resort Village, as part of a larger project aiming to prevent violence against women and girls in the Palestinian community. Participants included Ma’an News Agency media representatives, specialists from women’s rights organizations, and a number of relevant government stakeholders.
Ma’an Network’s Director of Marketing and Projects, Abed Al-Aydi, reviewed the project’s progress, upcoming activities, and highlighted the impact of implemented gender policies at Ma’an Network.
Al-Aydi said that Ma’an Network has increased its team’s efficiency, has broadcasted television advertisements on Ma’an Network’s satellite TV channel to raise awareness and reduce violence against women, and is preparing two television programs aiming to prevent violence against women.
Amal Juma’a, the Head of Audiovisual Media at the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), also presented during the workshop. She reviewed WATC’s journey since its establishment in 1992, affirming that WATC’s work and policies have been influenced by various political phases of the Palestinian experience, and that media content targeting women’s rights today is more comprehensive and universal for different segments of society than before.
Amina Aweidat, the Executive Director of the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association, addressed the vision and cross-cutting issues between media and health work, noting the main difficulties faced by women in the health field and recalling several examples that highlight women’s obstacles to obtaining their physiological and psychological rights.
On the second day of the workshop Sahar Qawasmeh, the Director of Roles for Social Change Association (ADWAR), addressed the organization’s progress in working with Bedouin communities in southern Hebron. Qawasmeh highlighted the obstacles that the organization initially faced, and how they successfully overcame them to involve women in political decision-making by ensuring their participation in local councils.
The General Director of Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development, Amal Al-Khreisheh, touched upon the challenges that women’s rights organizations will likely face over the next year, particularly with media initiatives, regarding the imbalance between women’s rights and prioritization.
She stressed that a radical change in the culture and reproduction of active discourse will not be achieved without alliances with the media, civil society, and political parties, summarizing the media’s main requirements as: changing practices that stereotype, participating in awareness campaigns and advocacy, highlighting the success of women’s stories, avoiding irresponsible exploitation of women’s experiences of violence, and analyzing media’s humanitarian value in handling women’s issues.
Professor Dareen Salehia, the President of the Family Protection of Violence Unit in the Public Prosecution Office under the Attorney General, presented the Unit’s work and its development. The Public Prosecutor’s office began integrating gender issues into its work in 2012, eventually institutionalizing gender issues when the Attorney General announced on February 6, 2016 that he would form a Family Unit, which now contains 27 specialized prosecutors.
Professor Salehia confirmed that the Palestinian Council of Ministers would discuss a draft cybercrime law at their next meeting; a law that she hopes will be passed.
Colonel Wafa Mua’mar, Director of the Family and Juvenile Protection Department in the Palestinian Police, reviewed their partnership with Ma’an Network. She stated that the Department was formed in 2008, after a pilot in Bethlehem succeed due to multiple factors. The experiment will soon be replicated across multiple governorates; however will still face obstacles such as the lack of gender-sensitive and deterrent laws, in addition to a social culture that tolerates crimes committed against women.
Mua’mar explained that a standardized service center will be open in Ramallah at the beginning of next year, which will offer multiple services in one place to deal with women’s issues. She stressed that there is an effort to monitor the budgets for the service dissemination across all provinces, beginning with Bethlehem and Nablus.
The Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Bassam Al-Khatib, addressed the mechanics of reactivating observatory media, inviting Ma’an Network to be a partner in this work. The Deputy Minister also addressed in detail the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which kicks off on the 25th of this month, from Al-Shati Camp in Gaza, to Tulkarem in the West Bank, to Ain Al-Hilweh in Lebanon, to highlight over sixteen days the communal violence suffered by Palestinian women, particularly in the camps.
He stressed the importance of adopting the Family Protection from Violence law, that is expected to launch on the 25th of this month, to coincide with the launch of the global campaign against violence, expressing the hope that this law will be a deterrent and the severe penalties included within it will reduce crimes and the practice of violence within the community.
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