Palestine: The Launch of the Joint Programme HAYA on Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls

Ramallah, 7 May 2018

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations. It is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men. VAWG reproduces and fosters inequality between them. In Palestine, according to the last national survey on violence (2012) of the Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics, an average of 37% of ever married women were exposed to one form of violence by their husbands, specifically 29.9% in the West Bank, and 51.1% in the Gaza Strip. Despite the commitments taken by the Palestinian Authority in recent years to combat it, VAWG is a widespread and socially silenced phenomenon that goes widely unreported, strongly impacting women's full enjoyment of their rights and freedoms.

UNODC will address this urgent issue in the coming four years within the framework of the joint UN programme " HAYA: Eliminating Violence Against Women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (2018 - 2022)", funded by the Government of Canada and implemented jointly by UNFPA, UN Habitat, UNODC and UN Women.

In an official ceremony on 7 May 2018 at the Mahmoud Darwish Museum in Ramallah, the HAYA programme was launched under the patronage of Her Excellency, the Minister of Women's Affairs, Ms. Haifa Al-Agha, the Canadian Deputy Minister of International Development, Ms. Diane Jacovella, as well as the Representatives of the four partner UN agencies. More than 100 guests attended the ceremony representing the Ministries of the Palestinian Authority (PA), diplomatic missions, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academia, and other development partners.  

HAYA focuses on changing harmful practices and attitudes that contribute to violence against women and girls within targeted households and communities. Specific target groups include women from rural communities, Area C, East Jerusalem, as well as women from low income households, while men and boys will also benefit from the project by engaging in various outreach and awareness raising activities.  

HAYA will help women and girls' survivors of violence to have increased access to necessary services such as livelihood training, medical and psychosocial treatments, and access to security and shelter. Furthermore, it will strengthen the PA's institutional capacity to develop and implement legal and policy frameworks that promote and protect the rights of women and girls who are subject to violence.

"As UNODC, we are proud to be part of this joint programme and to continue supporting the bold efforts made by the ministries of the Palestinian Authority for combating violence against women and girls. The innovative and comprehensive approach that HAYA brings in will allow us and our partners to adopt new tools and instruments while building on the existing ones that were proven successful. We would like to warmly thank the Government of Canada for its kind support and to wish to all our implementing partners and friends good luck for the upcoming joint work" , said Ms. Cristina Albertin, Representative of UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, on the occasion of the launch.

UNODC and its PA partners have been working on fostering accountability for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) since 2011, within a 7-year project on forensic services. With the HAYA joint project, UNODC will expand the forensic services provided to survivors of SGBV while contributing to eliminating violence against women through awareness raising activities targeting the public, media, civil society, and key stakeholders including within the criminal justice system.