- Title: Judge revises Gaza law barring women from travel without male consent
- Date: 16th February 2021
- Summary: RAFAH, GAZA (FEBRUARY 16, 2021) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING TOWARDS RAFAH CROSSING BETWEEN EGYPT AND GAZA CARRYING LUGGAGE VARIOUS OF WOMAN SITTING NEXT TO HER LUGGAGE WAITING VARIOUS OF TAXI CARRYING LUGGAGE GOING THROUGH CROSSING SIGN READING (Arabic, English):" RAFAH CROSSING POINT." GAZA CITY, GAZA (FEBRUARY 16, 2021) (REUTERS) PROTEST AGAINST ORIGINAL COURT RULING THAT BARS WOMEN FROM TRAVEL WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM A MALE GUARDIAN SIGN READING (Arabic): "THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE SHARIA JUDICIARY." PROTESTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, FATMA ASHOUR, SAYING: "We were shocked by this decision because it takes us backwards to the old ages, even Saudi Arabic who we used to criticize has backed off this decision and now women there are on the way to getting their rights. This decision violates the basic laws, it violates the freedom." VARIOUS OF PROTEST MALE PROTESTER HOLDING SIGN READING (Arabic): "1970: PALESTINIAN WOMAN HIJACKED A PLANE, 2021: PALESTINIAN WOMAN CANNOT TRAVEL." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, ADAM AL-MADHOUN, SAYING: "Our decision is to go back on the decision made of preventing the right to travel for those who are over 18 years old especially that they have to take the approval of the guardian. Many of the law centres and lawyers said that this decision contradicts the Palestinian constitution and the basic law." HAMAS-APPOINTED CHAIRMAN, HASSAN JOJO AT MEDIA CONFERENCE WOMEN AT CONFERENCE VARIOUS OF WOMAN WRITING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HAMAS-APPOINTED CHAIRMAN, HASSAN JOJO, SAYING: "We have agreed to redraft this ruling which includes all of the travel bans cases whether it includes minors or adults included in custody (over 18s still in their father's custody)." PEOPLE AT RESTAURANT VARIOUS OF WOMEN AT RESTAURANT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) YOUTH ACTIVIST, NEHAYA JARADA, SAYING: "I am with and against this decision, a double-edged sword, you see recently parents were surprised by their children travelling outside the country without them knowing that their children have left and this is really bad." JARADA SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) YOUTH ACTIVIST, NEHAYA JARADA, SAYING: "However, the circumstances we are living in Gaza does not give hope or a positive life outlook, so here the woman will consider taking the decision of leaving the country so she could find a better future outside. Maybe what she couldn't find in her country she will find in other countries." WOMEN AT RESTAURANT FLOWERS HANGING FROM RESTAURANT AWNING
- Embargoed: 2nd March 2021 16:43
- Keywords: Gaza Palestinians women rights
- Location: GAZA CITY, RAFAH, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, RAFAH, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Middle East,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001DZW9BUV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Gaza's top Islamic judge agreed on Tuesday (February 16) to revise a recent court ruling that bars women from travel without permission from a male guardian such as a husband or father.
The restriction, imposed on Sunday by the Higher Sharia Council in Islamist Hamas-run Gaza, had drawn criticism from rights groups which said it violated Palestinian laws against gender-based discrimination.
Protests also erupted outside the office of the council's Hamas-appointed chairman, Hassan Jojo, who had signed the edict into law.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Jojo said: "We have agreed to redraft this ruling." He did not say if the language banning female travel without a male guardian's approval would be removed.
Hamas leaders have repeatedly denied any intention to impose Islamic law on the Gaza Strip's 2 million residents.
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) a Palestinian rights group with offices in Gaza and the West Bank, said Sunday's ruling "violates women's dignity and rights and places them at an inferior level" in society.
ICHR also noted Palestinian laws bar discrimination "on the basis of race, gender, colour, religion, political opinion or disability".
Reham Owda, a Palestinian political analyst and womens' rights expert, said the ruling might have aimed at stemming a recent increase in Gaza women seeking work outside the small coastal territory, where employment is 49%.
"The government in Gaza wanted to limit (travel) and restrict the movement of women who are ambitious from leaving in search of study or jobs, and escape the Israeli blockade," Owda said.
Israeli and Egypt maintain restrictions on the Mediterranean enclave, citing security concerns arising from Hamas rule.
(Production: Fadi Shana, Mohammed Salem, Mohammad Shana, Suheir Sheikh)
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