News

UNFPA/MIFTAH Consultation meeting on a country assessment entitled: 'The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Situation in Palestine'

12 December 2015

 Ramallah -- MIFTAH recently organized a consultation meeting to discuss a country assessment entitled: “The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Situation in Palestine”. The study was prepared by MIFTAH in partnership with UNFPA and the Independent Commission for Human Rights. It aims at supporting and promoting human rights organizations to follow up and monitor sexual and reproductive health and rights in Palestine, thereby helping to devise mechanisms for accountability and follow-up and improving services in this sector.

Dr. Jamileh Abu-Duhou gave a presentation on the study and its results, including its methodology. She said the study addressed the condition of reproductive health in Palestine and government efforts in this regard, given its responsible in safeguarding these rights. The study offers an assessment based on setting a framework for promoting the application of reproductive and sexual health-related rights, offering basic indicators for these rights.

Abu-Duhou then gave a summary of the key parts of the study including the state of Palestine’s commitment to international human rights agreements, an evaluation of reproductive and sexual health rights in Palestine in addition to addressing maternal health care including pre- and post-natal care, maternal mortality, information about family planning services, methods of prevention and treatment of AIDS.

She also presented on overlapping issues within the study such as: gender-based patterns, human rights, participation, accountability, age of marriage and the absence of special needs individuals in the field of health and reproductive rights.

Abu-Duhou capped off her presentation by pointing out the government’s achievements in the field of sexual and reproductive health rights, in particular: a decrease in maternal mortality rates; government endorsement of several laws and policies to combat violence against women; considerable endeavors in treating the AIDS virus; accomplishing the national reproductive health strategy and devising a national plan to combat violence against women.

The study concluded with several recommendations and proposals pertaining to legal and political measures, which would help the government to fulfill its national and international commitments. Other recommendations addressed legal reform in terms of reviewing criminal, procedural and penal laws.

This was followed by comments from the audience. Mostly, the comments revolved around the legal and political measures that help the government to comply with its international obligations and which would help rights organizations and health services providers take all the necessary measures to deal with violations against women in the reproductive and sexual health field. Other recommendations pertained to legal reform including a review of the criminal, procedural and penal laws.

MIFTAH project coordinator Hanan Saeed said the study was part of MIFTAH's project "Supporting the Protection of Women", which is implemented by MIFTAH in partnership with UNFPA.

Saeed gave a recap of the study, which she said took four months to complete. She said the main purpose of the study was to support and promote the capabilities of human rights and civil society organizations which provide health services in monitoring violation of sexual and reproductive health rights in Palestine.

Saeed went on to say that the study would be followed up with training for human rights organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to improve the status of reproductive and health rights, especially in Area C where these rights do not exist. In this regard, Saeed pointed to the technical support offered by the advisory committee in developing the study and following-up its stages of preparation.

On his part, attorney Mu'in Ideis from the Independent Commission for Human Rights expressed hope that the study would contribute to serving Palestinian women in general and that all the comments agreed on would be incorporated in the final version.

Anders Thomsen, UNFPA representative in Palestine, pointed to the effort made by dozens of civil society organizations including MIFTAH, in order to achieve security and justice for Palestinian women. He pointed to the challenges facing women in the Arab world regarding their rights and the need to enact monitoring tools from a human rights-perspective, especially regarding reproductive and sexual rights. He said this national project aims to diagnose and understand the reality of reproductive health rights as stipulated in international agreements and charters.