West Bank and Gaza Strip
The Violation of Citizens’ Rights Continues
MUSAWA calls for the establishment of an impartial independent committee to investigate the infringement of the citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and preventing them from watching a football match
The media reported that security forces and police officers dispersed a peaceful assembly of citizens (men & women) in front of the Movenpick hotel in Gaza City on Sunday, 3/3/2018. The police beat the participants with batons and opened fire at them indiscriminately, injuring a number of the participants, who were then taken to hospital. This incident comes about a month after the incident where a number of police and security officers prevented women from watching a football match at Nusseirat refugees’ stadium in the south of Gaza, despite the fact that seats were allocated in the stadium for women only. The women were forced to stand behind the fence of the stadium to watch the game, while the security guards justified their actions by stating that they had received special instructions to prevent women from entering the stadium.
MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession sees the action taken by the police officers and security guards as a grave violation of the citizens’ security, safety, physical integrity, and human dignity. Not to mention the infringement of the provisions of the existing laws, particularly the Palestinian Basic Law and the Regulation of Gatherings No. (12)/ 1998, and the violation of the binding international treaties and conventions. Furthermore, this incident warns of a culture of subordination towards women, which contradicts the axioms of the rule of law and the requirements of civil peace. In addition to it being a violation of the powers of the Public Prosecution and a disclosure of the so-called “special instructions”, which in turn warns of a security-and-police-based approach in dealing with the legitimate demands of citizens (men & women).
Accordingly, MUSAWA demands the Public Prosecution as well as the concerned official bodies to act as follows:
1. An independent impartial committee must be established to investigate the two infringements mentioned above. Any recommendations provided by the committee must be published and enforced, particularly those relating to the perpetrators, their commanders, and those who are preventing women from enjoying their natural rights, who should be held accountable at the administrative and criminal levels.
2. The final cessation of the practice of such attacks and actions must be announced officially, and the so-called "commanders of special instructions" must be abolished.
3. The official obligation to respect the citizens’ rights to the freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and equality between men and women, in adherence to Article (9) of the Palestinian Basic Law, which clearly states that “Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary, without distinction based upon race, sex, color, religion, political views or disability”.
4. Adopting policies or taking measures which constitute a setback to the principles of the civil state which have been adopted by the Palestinian Basic Law must be ceased.
5. The jurisdiction of the police must be identified under clearly established decisions, preventing the police from stepping outside their sphere of competence, and ensuring that the powers of the Public Prosecution and the judiciary are not being usurped.
Issued on 07/03/2018