Author : Ma'an news agency | Readings : 25 | Date : 2012-08-10
RAMALLAH - President Mahmoud Abbas is forming a committee to study personal status laws to protect women, following a rise in violent attacks against women in the West Bank, state media reported.
The committee aims to develop and amend Palestinian laws to guarantee women's rights and protect women from violence and discrimination, the Palestinian Authority's Wafa news site reported.
Abbas' legal adviser Hassan al-Ouri and Justice Minister Ali Muhanna will sit on the committee and supreme judicial council chairman Farid al-Jallad will play an advisory role, the report said.
Ashraf Abu Hayya, a lawyer for the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, told Ma'an TV on Tuesday that four women had been killed in the last 10 days.
Police have charged two men with the murders of women in the southern West Bank in recent weeks. A man from Battir village is being charged with slitting his estranged wife's throat in broad daylight in a busy street in Bethlehem, and a man from al-Samu, near Hebron, is accused of beating his sister to death.
In both cases, the victims had filed multiple police reports documenting violent abuse by the men accused of their murders.
Khawla al-Azraq, a member of the General Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Women, said the committee's mandate to amend existing laws was not good enough.
"We need new laws," she told Ma'an, adding that women's rights groups had drafted a new set of personal status laws that she said should be implemented.
Farid al-Atrash, director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the southern West Bank, welcomed the move.
"It's a positive step in the right direction. We hope it is amended fast to maintain and ensure the rights of women," he told Ma'an.