Palestinian Prime Minister and UN agencies join forces to combat violence against women

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Ramallah - Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, representing the Palestinian Authority, and the UN Resident Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Maxwell Gaylard, together opened the 2nd Festival to Combat Violence against Women in the oPt in Ramallah on 13 December.

The event celebrated the end of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence and was held within the framework of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women. The festival aimed particularly at increasing awareness and understanding among Palestinian youth of the problem of violence against women as a public issue and a violation of human rights. Featuring popular musicians and comedians, the festival attracted more than 800 people from throughout the West Bank.

Violence against women remains widespread in the oPt. "The natural right of women to full equality is a fundamental component of human rights, comprising the requisite efforts to change the culture of social stereotypes affecting the status of women," said dr. Fayyad in his opening speech. Resident Coordinator Gaylard reminded the audience that the struggle to end violence against women should involve all layers of Palestinian society.

The event was organized through a joint UN initiative, bringing together ten agencies (UNIFEM, UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, OHCHR, OCHA, ILO, UNRWA and UNFPA) that are engaged in the fight to end gender-based violence.