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Palestinian feminist organizations look to CEDAW to protect Jerusalem women

Jerusalem24Kayan Association – Feminist Organization and the MIFTAH Foundation sent a letter to the secretariat of the United Nations Committee for the Prevention of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), highlighting the Israeli delay in submitting its seventh state report on the implementation of the Convention to the relevant committees.

As a signatory of CEDAW, Israel must submit an annual report tracking its progress on issues of women’s rights.

The deadline for the report passed on 30 November 2021.

Alhan Nahhas, a lawyer for Kayan, tells Jerusalem24 about the importance of the coalition between Kayan and MIFTAH: “ We represent a coalition of women’s rights and Palestinian non-governmental organizations aimed at promoting the implementation of the CEDAW in Jerusalem. We are preparing a “shadow report” that includes fact sheets on the reality of the implementation of the Convention in occupied Jerusalem.”

Nahhas adds, “We are also working on developing the capacities of Palestinian women’s rights organizations in Jerusalem to work for this [the implementation of CEDAW], by exhausting the mechanisms provided by the United Nations for human rights.”

Nahhas says that they are waiting for Israel to submit its report so that they can issue a response. “It’s very important [for this] to be submitted in order for the organizations to be able to participate in the next session, which is next November.”

When asked about the possibility of finding contradictions between their shadow report and Israel’s own report when it is finally published, Nahhas explains, “What I can say is that usually civil, feminist, human rights organizations, when they submit reports, they have a different attitude or presentation of what’s happening in the field. So basically we reflect what is happening, and I think there could be contradictions between what Israel says [it] has done and what we present, according to what we have reported so far.”

The coalition was built by MIFTAH and Kayan, two non-governmental organizations that enjoy special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The coalition includes five non-governmental organizations operating in Jerusalem. This coalition was able to mobilize and train local associations to collect testimonies and document violations of CEDAW relating to the practices of the occupation in occupied Jerusalem.

Nahhas says that Kayan and MIFTAH urged the committee to consider taking concrete measures to remind Israel of its obligation to submit reports under the agreement, as Israel’s failure to submit the required report on time prevents the actual monitoring and review of the implementation of CEDAW on the ground.

The work of Kayan and MIFTAH aims to hold Israel accountable for its discriminatory policies against Jerusalemites in general and women and girls in particular.

The two organizations have also called for increasing the committee’s cooperation with civil society that works on the ground for human rights and women’s rights, in a way that enhances the actual implementation and increases the effective review and monitoring of CEDAW’s implementation.

Listen to the full interview on Vibes.



Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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