Date: Sunday, December 10, 2017

The closing event of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign organized by UN Women Palestine Office took place on 10 December in Gaza, in the presence of the Minister of Women’s Affairs, heads of UN agencies, and members of civil society organizations. UN Women Executive Director Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka also sent a heartwarming video message of encouragement for women of Gaza to stay resilient in current tumultuous political and humanitarian situation.

The event was held under the theme of ‘Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women in Gaza’ and gathered more than 130 participants from UN agencies, INGOs and civil society organizations working on ending violence against women and girls in the midst of on-going humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Gender based violence (GBV) is a key concern in any humanitarian crisis. The Gaza context provides unique conditions that not only provide fertile ground for GBV incidence, but also present particular challenges to securing an effective response to such violence and protection of survivors.

“This year’s 16 Days campaign reinforces the commitment of international community to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized, including vulnerable women in Gaza,” said Ms. Heba Zayyan, Head of UN Women Sub-Office in Gaza, emphasizing the deteriorating impact of the blockade on the wellbeing, livelihood and protection for the women and girls in Gaza.

The closing event was marked by the launching of a research on GBV services in Gaza which assesses the achievements, continuing obstacles and gaps among the community of GBV service providers in Gaza. The study finds answers to the gaps and needs of existing services from the point of view of service providers as well as of GBV survivors.

The event also launched seven stories of most vulnerable women in Gaza and their narrative of the impact of 10 years of blockade on their lives through an audiovisual presentation. The stories will be utilized to advocate for women’s inclusion in humanitarian assistance that is coordinated and gender focused.

“We should continue to work together to end violence against women and girls in Gaza throughout the year, not only during the 16 Days,” said a participant after the event. “It’s a daily issue for the women of Gaza and we should not leave them behind.”

The event was generously funded by the Government of Spain through a UN Women project “Engendering Humanitarian Action,” as well as the Government of Netherlands, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU) through UNDP/UN Women joint programme “Promoting the rule of law in the occupied Palestine territory.”