Seminars: "Gender and constitution-making in Palestine"

30 Sept + 7 Oct + 14 Oct 2020

The State of Palestine has drafted a new constitution to replace its provisional Basic Law. The Palestinian Authority has appointed the Palestinian National Council to create the “Committee for Drafting the Constitution”. This Committee has finalized the final draft of the Constitution in 2016.

The current draft Constitution does not align with key international treaties that to which Palestine has acceded, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the International Declaration of Human Rights. The language in the draft Constitution is also not gender-sensitive.

The current draft Constitution was developed by an appointed committee that lacked gender diversity. The committee comprises eight men - including two judges from the Constitutional Court, which does not accord with the principles of the separation of powers, as the Court has to be impartial when interpreting the constitution.

The Centre for Constitutional Studies (CCS) at an-Najah National University collaborated with the NGO, Women Media and Development (TAM) to develop a project which aims to contribute to re-drafting the draft Constitution to make it more gender-sensitive and inclusive of all the Palestinian people, as well as to preserve the rights of minority groups, ensure women’s and girls rights, rights of people with disabilities and people of different sexual orientations.

A "Shadow Committee" has been established by NGOs which is working to provide alternative analysis and proposals on the draft constitution. CCS brought in ConTransNet to provide training to this core group of stakeholders on gender and constitution-making. ConTransNet facilitate three online seminars for approximately 50 Palestinian thought-leaders over three weeks, on 30 September, 7 October and 14 November. Feedback from the group was very positive.