Thursday, 8 December. 2022
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Gaza: 7/6/2022 – MIFTAH recently held a discussion on the implementation and executive procedures of the National Referral System, “Takamul” for Battered Women, in the Gaza Strip. A team from the Ministry of Social Development in Gaza attended along with several CSOs working in the field of social protection and women’s rights in Gaza, in addition to like-minded institutions from the West Bank, via Zoom.


The session began with a presentation of the results of MIFTAH’s in-depth analytical report, the public policies for enforcing the National Referral System in the Gaza Strip and the challenges it faces. Based on its findings, MIFTAH cited the importance of the government decision to enact “Takamul”, but pointed to the lack of executive mechanisms and procedures for its implementation. It should be noted that the decision was not implemented in the Gaza Strip due to the administrative vacuum between decision-makers in the West Bank and Gaza, as a result of the political division. MIFTAH also presented a number of practical recommendations and suggestions to increase opportunities for women to access security and protection services, including presenting the procedural requirements to the relevant parties so they can then assume their responsibility for providing these services for women and girls, especially those caught in cycles of violence. This includes a call to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, given its role as the umbrella organization for implementing the referral system, to coordinate with the Ministry of Social Development on a program for women’s protection. It also calls for the Ministry to revive its work in the Gaza Strip.


The participants’ interventions touched on several points, all confirming that the social protection system adopted by the Ministry of Social Development requires the coordination of roles between government parties and the institutions concerned with GBV cases and protection services for battered women.

The participants also said that the overlapping of authorities between the Ministries of Social Development and the Women’s Affairs, necessitated a review of the system’s stipulations. This, they said was to create an action plan with clear perimeters of coordination between the roles and powers of the two ministries regarding the referral system’s executive procedures and on cases of domestic violence against women and girls. This also includes Ministry of Health procedures, they confirmed, adding that the forms needed to be updated and binding for all relevant parties including the CSOs that provide protection services.

The speakers stressed on the need for a computerized database of all cases of battered women handled by the relevant parties, including persons with disabilities. They also recommended that referral procedures include safe houses (shelters).

The participants agreed that MIFTAH’s report was a precedent for shedding light on the gaps in implementing the referral system in Gaza, calling service-provider agencies such as UNFPA, to work and coordinate with grassroots institutions in applying the forms for protecting battered women and offering them better services. They said the points in the report also apply to the Gaza Strip, but that the lack of clarity in the role of the Women’s Affairs Ministry was a hindrance since it is the party responsible for enacting the system, over and above the political division, which exacerbates the gaps in its policies and procedures. The system, furthermore, needs legal paperwork since it is an executive procedural system, making it imperative to push for the ratification of the Family Protection Law. This law would then constitute the legal backing needed to enforce the National Referral System in all Palestinian districts and for all battered women and girls susceptible to violence, including disabled persons.


The participants recommended: continued dialogue with the relevant parties, both official and civil, to arrive at a consensual position on unified procedures for the referral system; determining the party mandated to follow up on the enforcement of the National Referral System; strengthening the coordinating role between the parties implementing the current system, especially between the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Social Development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to encourage women and girls’ access to social protection services in a way that safeguards the dignity of Palestinian women and girls; developing the system to include persons with disabilities; adding special forms for the protection of battered women in safe homes or shelters; applying the protection system in cooperation with CSO’s in addition to reviewing and developing the system in a way that guarantees the inclusion of all sectors of women, especially those with disabilities, in cooperation with the relevant CSOs.

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