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PLO member: Laws do not adequately protect women from honor killings

     "PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi asserted that we must hurry and urgently approve the penal code, dismiss all extenuating circumstances for murder of women, approve a series of legislation concerning the security of society, and specifically the security of women, as well as give maximum sentences to the perpetrators and to anyone who violates provisions of the law.
These words were said as she strongly condemned the murder of a 15-year-old from Jabalia by her father and the murder of another young woman, a 17-year-old from Khan Yunis, by her brother, [both of which happened] in one day.
Ashrawi noted that the number of women who were murdered since the beginning of 2013 and up to December of that year reached 28 victims because of a lack of regulations and laws to guarantee social protection for women, the lack of legal accountability, laxity in pursuing perpetrators, as well as a lack of desire to punish them.
She added: 'It's time to implement the necessary amendments to the law, approve a penal code that dissuades [people from committing the crimes and that will] view these crimes as crimes against humanity, to activate methods for implementing the law and to urge the legal system to assume its responsibility.'
Ashrawi denounced the fact that these crimes are called murder for 'family matters,' or what are called 'honor' killings, and described this as an 'excuse.' In addition, she said: 'Women are not a symbol of men's or families' honor, but are an equal member [of society], like all other individuals in society. Categorizing these dangerous crimes under misleading titles is an exploitation that provides cover and protection for those who carry out these crimes, and encourages them to carry out additional attacks and crimes against women. Furthermore, it reinforces the policy of escaping punishment and contributes to evading the necessary commitments for opposing it.'
Ashrawi called on all parts of the Executive Authority, civil society and [on] political, governmental, popular, feminist and media frameworks, as well as the legal and the defense systems, to stand up against this phenomenon and eradicate it once and for all.
She added: 'All elements of society must face their social and national responsibility and oppose these dark acts that harm Palestinian society as a whole, and [harm] the components of the future democratic Palestinian state, its principles and status.'"
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