Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Proposed action points responding to all forms of violence against women and girls

Action points

Participating States

 Establish coordinated, multisectoral response mechanisms with a sufficient capacity for service providers to deliver public services based on the specific needs of different groups of women and girls. At the same time, improve the quality of, and access to, specialized services for women and girls, including psychosocial support and shelters (free of charge). All specialized services should be accessible for all (available in minority languages) and should be integrated into the response mechanisms. 
 Inform women and girls about available services, including through easily accessible websites, and develop long-term information campaigns using innovative approaches (posters, radio, websites, public announcements) about the steps women can take to seek support.
 Ensure state-supported and/or NGO-provided legal aid.
 Train the police and judiciary on how to protect and support victims, applying a victim-centred approach and improving reporting systems (e.g., accommodating reporting in a confidential and safe way).
 Support and make available specialist support services that take into account the elevated levels of shame in relation to sexual assaults and address self-blaming and longer-term psychological consequences.

OSCE executive structures

 Contribute to a multisectoral approach to support women who have experienced violence, including by promoting better collaboration and co-ordination between security actors, the health sector and other service providers.
 Support the OSCE participating States in addressing low reporting rates of nonpartner and intimate partner violence to the police, including by sharing and reviewing different models and good practices in the OSCE region on the extent to which they protect victims and meet their needs in practice.
 Identify, collect and share good practices regarding victim/survivor protection and longer-term support for victims, including in cases of psychological violence, as well as access to justice in response to all forms of violence against women.
 Improve OSCE training manuals for security sector actors, and include the data and findings from the survey to better inform future projects and activities on all forms of violence against women and girls, including emerging forms. 
 Organize training events for the police and judiciary on practices that enhance victim’s access to justice. 
 Support participating States in developing protocols for maintaining confidentiality and providing victim support.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Poor awareness among women of specialized victim support services and the needs expressed by women

The data illustrates that a majority of women do not know what to do in case they experience violence and that they are not aware of local specialized organizations offering support. Awareness-raising campaigns on violence against women need to be based on credible data to ensure that they target their message at the right audience. 

 Overall, 42% of women across the area covered by the survey feel that they are not well informed about what to do if they experience violence, and nearly four in ten women (37%) indicate that they have never heard of any of the three specialized organizations they were asked about42. A similar proportion (41%) indicate being aware of just one of the three organizations, and only 6% say they have heard of all three. 

  The most-mentioned source of information, advice or support women say they wanted after their most serious incident of physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a partner was just to have someone to talk to who could provide moral support (36%). Protection from further violence and harassment was particularly important for victims of previous partners and non-partners (20% and 16% respectively) and all the more so when the most serious incident included a form of sexual violence (increasing to 37% and 27% respectively). Practical help, medical help and financial support are other common needs. 

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Lack of satisfaction with the police and legal services

Victims’ lack of satisfaction with the police and legal services needs to be addressed by applying existing response and protection measures and monitoring their implementation.  
 Almost half (49%) of women who reported a most serious incident of non-partner violence to the police were satisfied with the contact they had, but 45% were dissatisfied, including 33% who were very dissatisfied. Satisfaction is lower when violence by a previous partner (46%) or a current partner (39%) was reported.  In regard to legal services, 58% of women contacting such services in relation to a nonpartner were satisfied.  
 In the qualitative research, survivors described mostly negative experiences with the police. Some women said their complaints were completely ignored, were not followed up thoroughly enough or were not dealt with appropriately, e.g., the perpetrator was merely given a verbal warning. Lack of confidentiality, particularly in rural areas, was also mentioned throughout the area covered by the study. 
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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Barriers to reporting violence against women

Barriers to seeking help are rooted in attitudes that silence women and protect abusers  and in women’s lack of trust in the authorities to help and protect them. Shame and a lack of expectations of help from the authorities play a particular role when it comes to sexual violence by intimate partners and other perpetrators. The response of professionals has to be based on a zero-tolerance policy for violence that is free of any victim-blaming attitudes and makes the victim’s needs the priority.
 The main reason for not reporting their most serious incident of violence to the police is that the victims decided to deal with the incident on their own, perhaps only involving friends and family This reason for non-reporting is cited by more than half of victims of intimate partner violence (53% of victims of their current partner and 51% of victims of a previous partner) and 36% of non-partner violence. The belief that the incident was too minor to report, wanting to keep things private, feelings of shame and embarrassment, fear of the offender and a belief that nothing would be done were other common reasons.
 Women who agree that domestic violence is a private matter are less likely to contact the police or any other organization following their most serious incident of  non-partner violence (56% did not report the incident, compared to 49% among those who disagree), current partner violence (84% versus 77%) and previous partner violence (69% versus 63%).
 Victims of non-partner sexual violence who did not call the police are particularly likely to believe that the police would not do anything (22%). Shame (38%) and wanting to keep the matter private (27%) are also prevalent reasons. Among victims of intimate partner violence, fear of the perpetrator (their partner) is more pronounced when the violence was sexual (mentioned by 28%) than when it involved some form of physical violence only. Shame is also a common barrier for these women, particularly victims of previous partners (37%).

In the qualitative research, several barriers were identified that may play a role in women’s decision not to seek help after incidents of violence:

 Shame - including shame associated with certain types of violence and with divorce.  Financial reasons - including concerns that the woman would not be able to financially support herself and her children and would not receive support  from her family.

 Lack of trust in institutions - women did not expect an effective response from the police or feared that they would not be believed.
 Lack of awareness of specialist services - women did not know where else they could go to get help.
 Fear of repercussions from the perpetrator - women were afraid that the  violence could escalate.
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Monday, July 22, 2019

Reporting rates to the police and other institutions are low

Based on the data from the survey, it is clear that women do not report the vast majority of incidents to the police, and they rarely seek support from other institutions. The findings suggest that only in cases of more extreme violence do women seek help from the police or another support organization. Even then, the vast majority of cases are never brought to the attention of the authorities or a specialized service. Very few women contact a shelter or victim support organization. 

 Eighty-one per cent of victims of current partner violence, 65% of victims of previous partner violence and 53% of victims of non-partner violence did not contact the police or any other organization about their most serious incident.  

 Victims of non-partner violence are most likely to report their most serious incident to the police (19%). Victims of previous partner violence (15%) are more than twice as likely as victims of current partner violence (7%) to go to the police.  

 When the most serious incident involves a sexual assault, victims of all three perpetrator types (non-partner, current partner and previous partner) are less likely to contact the police than if the assault was of a physical nature. 

 Among victims of sexual harassment, only 2% contacted the police about their most serious incident. The figure is higher among victims of stalking, with 13% reporting their most serious incident to the police. 
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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Long-term impact of violence on women’s health and public health

The experiences women shared in the survey make it clear that violence against women is a public health issue with significant direct and long-term consequences that may translate into economic costs for the health sector. Well-trained healthcare professionals can play a significant role in identifying and helping prevent cases of violence against women.
 Fifty-five per cent of victims of the most serious incidents of intimate partner and nonpartner physical and/or sexual violence have experienced one or more physical consequences as a result of the incident. This translates into approximately 3.25 million women in the area covered by the survey who were left with an injury or physical consequence of the violence they experienced, considering only the most severe cases they identified during their adult lifetime. More specifically:

– 2.5 million had bruises or scratches

– 700,000 suffered wounds, sprains or burns

– 652,000 experienced concussion or another brain injury

– 352,000 had fractures or broken teeth

– 147,000 experienced internal injuries

– 82,000 experienced a miscarriage

– 70,000 contracted an infection or sexually transmitted disease

– 53,000 became pregnant

– 29,000 were left infertile or unable to carry a pregnancy to term

The psychological impact of violence can be severe and long-lasting. The majority of survivors of physical and/or sexual violence develop longer-term psychological symptoms. Anxiety was mentioned most often (39%) among the women surveyed, followed by feelings of vulnerability (32%). About three in ten women say they have experienced difficulties in their relationships (29%) or depression (28%) as a result of their experience.
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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Responding to the impact of violence on women’s well-being, reporting to institutions, and raising awareness of available support

Violence has a severe physical and psychological impact, and women in the area surveyed suffer from health problems as a result of their experiences of violence. Data is essential to measure whether women’s needs are being met in practice and to determine the most efficient way to spend resources to assist women. The vast majority of women do not report violence to the police. Eleven per cent of women who have experienced previous partner physical and/or sexual violence say that incidents of violence happened after they broke up with their partner, pointing to the need for continued protection and support even after women leave abusive relationships. 
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Responding to the impact of attitudes and norms on women’s experiences of violence

Responding to the impact of attitudes and norms on women’s  experiences of violence
A continuous effort is needed to empower women to recognize that violence against them is a violation of their rights and to increase gender equality in general. The survey data suggests that beliefs in female subservience, spousal obedience, victim blaming and silence surrounding violence against women continue to persist in the area covered by the survey and that those women who hold these beliefs are more likely to say they have experienced violence. Since other research has shown that these views are also held by men, campaigns on, and responses to, violence against women and girls must take these attitudes and norms into account, they must target society as a whole, and they must also be directed at men and boys.

 Women who agree with statements on female subservience, spousal obedience, victim blaming and silence surrounding violence are more likely to say they have experienced sexual harassment, non-partner physical and/or sexual violence, and intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence. For example:

– Women who agree that domestic violence is a private matter are almost twice as likely to say they have experienced current partner physical violence than those who disagree (18% versus 10% respectively). – Women who think that their friends would agree that it is a wife’s obligation to have sex with her husband even if she does not feel like it are also more likely to say they have experienced violence at the hands of their current partner than those who disagree (with physical violence indicated by 18% of those agreeing and 12% of those disagreeing and sexual violence by 8% and 3% respectively).  – Women who agree that violence is often provoked by the victim or that women exaggerate claims of abuse or rape are generally more likely to say they have experienced all forms of violence.

 Women participating in the qualitative research thought that such attitudes were changing, and findings from the quantitative survey show that younger women think their friends are less likely to adhere to norms of female subservience  and are also less likely to place responsibility for violence on the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Action points 

Participating States 
Overarching efforts are needed to change gender stereotypes, prejudices  and biases, including:
 Mainstream information about gender equality and violence against women and girls in the education system, including by incorporating it into curricula (from kindergarten to university) and by training teachers and other education professionals.
 Implement awareness-raising campaigns for men and women on the importance of gender equality. Interventions should target society as a whole by involving men and boys. They should address, in particular, sexual violence in intimate relationships and sexual harassment. Campaigns and interventions should use the survey data and other evidence to be tailored to different groups in society.
 Improve the co-ordination of both prevention and support efforts (including with international partners), recognizing how they are interconnected, and allocate resources to address the root causes of violence against women.
 Use the data from the OSCE survey to calculate the EIGE Gender Equality Index in order to monitor changes in gender attitudes and behaviour.

OSCE executive structures
 Collect lessons learned and good practices on changing attitudes that condone violence against women and on addressing the root causes, including for specific target groups like legal professionals, police, parliamentarians and policymakers.
 Develop innovative materials for various target groups (with a focus on police and judiciary) to change attitudes of individuals, organizations and society at large.
 Share information and good practices on preventing violence against women  in the OSCE’s main areas of work through seminars, round tables and  peer-to-peer learning.
 Participate in interagency efforts at the national and regional level to promote gender equality and combat violence against women and girls.
 Support gender ethics training for the media with the aim of raising awareness among participating States of the need to address discriminatory and harmful stereotypes through the media.
 Work with education systems to establish curricula on gender equality in schools and universities
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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Action points responding to all forms of violence against women and girls

Participating States
 Update and implement national legal frameworks to prevent and address in a holistic manner all forms of violence against women and girls, including online violence, sexual harassment, stalking and psychological violence in full compliance with CEDAW and its General Recommendations Nos. 19 and 35 and with the Istanbul Convention’s standards and norms.
 Participating States covered by the survey have to improve the collection, analysis and use of data for the purposes of evidence-based policy-making. Improving data quality and accessibility have to be prioritized and linked with commitments on the part of participating States to monitor the progress of SDG 5 and SDG 16 by using internationally agreed comparable data disaggregated by sex, age, rural/urban group. This enables to review progress and challenges international commitments for ending violence against women and girls.
 Ensure the regular review and monitoring of recently introduced laws and policies on combating violence against women, e.g., women who seek help should be surveyed on a regular basis to determine their level of satisfaction with the assistance they received.
 Ensure engagement of national human rights institutions to promote gender equality and human rights of women and girls, and ensure transparent monitoring of the support provided to victims of violence.
 Provide the necessary resources and support for national mechanisms and relevant ministries for gender equality, so that they are able to conduct their key role in the implementation and monitoring of the policy and legal frameworks.
 Prevention of violence and response measures and policies should accommodate the needs of disadvantaged groups of women and girls.
 Provide specific support for (former) soldiers and their families.
 Consider addressing heavy alcohol use as a compounding factor to violence against women and girls.
 Share examples and best practices of programmes that address men of all ages, including programmes that deal with online violence.

OSCE executive structures
 Carry out a comparative study (meta study) based on existing studies by UN agencies and EU institutions on the costs of violence against women and the allocated budgets for prevention and response.
 Integrate the topic of preventing and combating VAWG and the data from the survey into all OSCE projects with security sector actors.
 Develop tailor-made approaches to accommodate the needs and challenges of disadvantaged groups of women in OSCE projects and activities.
 Research, document and share good practices in the implementation of legal and policy frameworks, as well as effective implementation plans to combat all forms of violence, including online violence against women and girls in the OSCE region.

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Nature and scale of intimate partner violence as the most common form of violence against women

Increased focus on the implementation of existing legislation and prevention and protection measures is required. To effectively respond, institutions must treat intimate partner violence as a public, rather than private, matter and take psychological violence seriously. The more severe nature of violence at the hands of previous partners and the fact that women continue to experience violence at the hands of their former partners even after the relationship has ended suggest a need for better protection of victims.
 Of women who are or have been in a relationship, 23% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and 7% indicate that this occurred in the 12 months prior to the survey. Among those women aged 18–49 who have ever had a partner, 8% say they experienced intimate physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey
 Of women (aged 18–74) who are or have been in a relationship, 20% were subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or previous intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey (SDG Indicator 5.2.1) ç
 Among those women who have ever had a partner and who indicate that they have experienced physical violence, two-thirds say that they have experienced two of more different forms of physical violence, including 32% who say they have experienced four or more.
 For many women who have experienced various forms of intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence, these are not isolated experiences. For sexual violence and most types of physical violence, including those that might be considered more serious, more than half of those who have had such an experience say this has happened more than once.
  Violence in relationships happens on a continuum. Rather than being an isolated incident, it tends to happen more than once over a period of time. Of those women who say they experienced the first incident of physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their current partner five or more years ago, 22% experienced the most recent incident in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Of women and girls who had a previous partner, 25% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a previous partner. Three-quarters of those who identified a most serious incident of violence at the hands of their previous partner say that the violence experienced was one of the reasons, if not the main reason, why the relationship ended.

Psychological violence is the most widespread form of intimate partner violence reported in the survey. The qualitative research confirms that psychological violence is considered so common in the area covered by the survey that it is a norm. Multiple and repetitive forms of psychological violence need to be recognized as undermining women’s autonomy and wellbeing, and police and other services should be trained to recognize and understand the nature and impact of psychological violence.
 Sixty per cent of women who are or have been in a relationship have experienced psychological violence committed by an intimate partner.
 Overall, 48% of women who have ever had a partner have experienced controlling behaviours on the part of a current or previous partner, with partners insisting on knowing where they were going (beyond general concern) or becoming suspicious that they had been unfaithful the most common of these behaviours (each experienced by 31%).
 Around two in five women have experienced abusive behaviours. This includes over one-third of respondents who say they have been belittled or humiliated in private (36%) and around one in five women who indicate that their partners have scared them on purpose (23%) or belittled or humiliated them in public (21%).
 Economic violence has been experienced by nearly one in five women (19%).
 Seven per cent of women have experienced blackmail involving their children, which includes actions such as threatening to take their children away, threatening to hurt their children, hurting their children or making threats concerning the custody of their children (previous partner only).

Sexual violence in relationships including marital rape41 is a reality in the surveyed area. Four per cent of women, or approximately 810,000 women, say they have been raped by their partners. This suggests that laws and the implementation thereof should treat rape within marriage the same as rape by a non-partner.
 The overall lifetime prevalence of intimate partner sexual violence is 7%, including 4% of women who have been raped by their partner.   In the qualitative research, women discussed how sex within marriage was often expected, and indeed the survey data shows that a significant minority believe that non-consensual sex between partners can be justified (17%), which may indicate that many women do not disclose when this form of violence happens.

The characteristics and behaviour of perpetrators also need to be taken into consideration as possible risk factors contributing to intimate partner violence. If practitioners recognize these factors, they can be alerted to them as a possible  warning sign of violence.
 Women whose current partner drinks on a weekly (19%) or daily basis (37%) are more likely to have experienced intimate partner violence in the 12 months prior to the survey (compared to 5% of those whose partner rarely drinks). Indeed, 67% of current partners and 71% of previous partners were drunk and/or under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident reported as the most serious.
 Women whose current partner is not working, whether due to unemployment (17%), because of illness or disability (35%), or retirement (17%), are more likely to have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime compared with 14% of all surveyed women in a current relationship. The same holds true for the prevalence in the 12 months prior to the survey.  Women whose current partner has fought in an armed conflict are more likely to experience physical and sexual violence at the hands of their current intimate partner both in their lifetime (19% versus 14% respectively) and in the 12 months prior to the survey (9% versus 6% respectively) compared with those whose partners have not fought in an armed conflict.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Factors contributing to a higher risk of violence, sexual harassment and stalking

The survey clearly finds that all women, regardless of their economic or social status, can experience violence, but some groups of women are at a higher risk. These risk factors include being younger, being a refugee or internally displaced, having a disability, being poor, being economically dependent or having children. Institutions and service providers should take risk factors into account, including by making an effort to remove barriers that prevent women from seeking support. 
 Younger women aged 18–29 are most likely to have been stalked since the age of 15, and 5% of them say they had a recent experience. Younger women tend to have experiences of nearly all forms of sexual harassment in higher proportions compared with their older counterparts (54% of 18–29 year olds have experienced sexual harassment compared to 42% of those aged 30 or older), in particular in relation to cyber-harassment, i.e., via mobile and Internet technology. 
 The prevalence of intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey is highest among those aged 18–29 (10%) and  those aged 40–49 (9%). 
 Since the age of 15, the prevalence of any physical and/or sexual violence is highest among those aged 40–49 (35% compared to 31% of all surveyed women). 
 Lifetime prevalence of any physical and/or sexual violence among women who consider themselves to have a disability (47%) and among those who say they are refugees or internally displaced (38%) is much higher than the average of all surveyed women (31%). 
 Women who have children at home are more likely to have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence than women who do not have children at home, both in their lifetime (24% versus 22% respectively) and in the 12 months prior to the survey (8% versus 5% respectively). 
 Women doing unpaid work in a family business are more likely to have experienced both intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence (33% versus 23% on average) and non-partner physical and/or sexual violence (38%) since the age of 15. The prevalence of intimate partner physical and sexual violence is also higher among those who are not working due to illness or disability (32%). Both of these groups of women are more likely to have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey as well as intimate partner psychological violence. 
 Women who face extreme income deprivation40 were more likely to experience any form of violence in the 12 months prior to the survey (42% compared to 27% of women who are not financially deprived). 
 Women who survived physical, sexual or psychological violence in childhood are more likely to experience it in adult life. Among those women who experienced childhood violence, nearly all of them (93%) say they have had some experience of violence, sexual harassment or stalking as adults, compared with 65% of women who did not experience some form of violence in childhood. 

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Violence against women and girls

The scale of violence against women and girls in the area covered by the survey calls for enhanced efforts to implement legislation and improve or develop action plans that will address all forms of violence experienced by women and girls, including women from disadvantaged groups and minorities.

13.1.1: Prevalence of all forms of violence against women and girls

Seventy per cent of women in the survey, which translates into an estimated 16 million women, disclose that they have experienced some form of violence since the age of 15, and 31% of women say they experienced some form of violence in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Thirty-one per cent of women, or an estimated 7 million, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 at the hands of a partner or non-partner, and 10% experienced such violence in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Nineteen per cent of women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a non-partner since the age of 15. Five per cent of women and girls experienced this in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 0.8% of women and girls (aged 18–74) were subjected to sexual violence by a non-partner in the 12 months prior to the survey (SDG Indicator 5.2.2).
 Twenty-three per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner since the age of 15.
 Sixty per cent of women have experienced psychological violence committed by an intimate partner since the age of 15.
 Almost half of women have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment since they were 15 years old, and 16% experienced this in the 12 months prior to the survey, which means that an estimated 4 million women experienced some form of sexual harassment in the year leading up to the survey.   Ten per cent of women have experienced stalking at some point since they were 15 years old, and 2% were stalked in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Of those with children or who have had children, 31% say children living with them are aware of violent incidents involving their current partner, which rises to 36% in the case of violence at the hands of a previous partner.
 Twenty-one per cent of women experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence during their childhood (up to the age of 15).
 Women identified as conflict-affected were asked whether or not any of their experiences of physical or sexual violence were connected with armed conflict. Among those who have experienced non-partner physical or sexual violence (including threats thereof), 26% say that some of their experiences were related to conflict, rising to 34% when asked about their most serious incident.39

Perpetrators of non-partner physical and sexual violence

 In relation to non-partner physical violence, a relative or family member of the victim (26%) is identified as the perpetrator most often, followed by a friend, acquaintance, neighbour (24%) or someone else the victim knew but did not specify from the list of perpetrator types (23%). Nearly one in five (18%) say the perpetrator was someone they did not know.
 While 23% of women who say they have experienced non-partner sexual violence identify the perpetrator as a stranger, the same proportion say the perpetrator was a friend, acquaintance or neighbour, and 22% say that it was someone else they knew but that they did not wish to specify further from the list of categories provided. Fewer women say that incidents of non-partner sexual violence are committed by a relative or family member (3%) or by a relative or family member of their partner (6%).

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Tanggol Bayi

Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders in The Philippines dedicated to advance women's rights as human rights.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Lebanon hosted 1.5 million refugees from Syria, but kept its border closed to people fleeing the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria. It also hosted tens of thousands of other refugees, most of them long-term Palestinian refugees who continued to face discriminatory laws that excluded them from accessing certain services and jobs. The penal code continued to discriminate against women in law and practice. Police harassed and abused lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, especially in refugee and migrant communities.
Peaceful activists and others were detained for social media posts that criticized political, religious or economic authorities. Death sentences were passed; there were no executions. A law was passed to create a national commission to investigate the whereabouts of thousands of persons who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during the 19751990 armed conflict in Lebanon.

On 6 May, Lebanon held long-awaited parliamentary elections initially scheduled for 2013; a proportional representation system was applied for the first time. On 24 May, the new parliament named Saad Hariri to serve a third term as prime minister. He was
not able to form a government before the year’s end due to political feuds.
In April, a conference held in the French capital, Paris, to support Lebanon’s development and reform pledged the country an aid package worth over US$11 billion, comprising US$10.2 billion in loans and US$860 million in grants.
In September, parliament held an exceptional session and passed 15 of 28 draft laws that had been put to vote. Most related to the aid package, but parliament also ratified the Arms Trade Treaty and approved a controversial waste management law despite serious concerns about its implications for people’s health and the environment. Access to essential services, including electricity and water, remained severely curtailed across the country.

Lebanon hosted 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including 950,334 registered with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, according to update it issued on 30 November. A government decision of May 2015 continued to bar UNHCR from registering newly arrived refugees. Refugees continued to return to Syria throughout 2018 either spontaneously or in groups organized by the Lebanese General Security. UNHCR verified through interviews at its reception centres that, as of 30 November, 4,996 individuals had returned on their own to Syria in 2018, but acknowledged that this number did not reflect the total number of spontaneous returns. It said on 17 December that, so far that year, it had been present at over 70 group returns facilitated by the General Security, involving a total of 9,895 people.
In August, the government facilitated birth registration for Syrian refugees by waiving a requirement that children born in Lebanon between January 2011 and February 2018 had to be registered within a year of birth and that parents had to obtain court documents to register the children. The move was expected to enable more than 50,000 unregistered Syrian children to acquire the necessary documents.
Syrian refugees continued to face financial and administrative difficulties in obtaining or renewing residency permits, exposing them to a constant risk of arbitrary arrest, detention and forcible return to Syria. They also continued to face severe economic hardship.
In January, 15 Syrians – children, women and men – froze to death near the Masnaa border crossing in eastern Lebanon as they were attempting to enter the country irregularly.
Lebanon also hosted tens of thousands of other refugees, most of them long-term Palestinian refugees. Palestinian refugees remained subject to discriminatory laws that exclude them from owning or inheriting property, accessing public education and health services, and working in at least 36 professions. At least 3,000 Palestinian refugees who do not hold official identity documents faced further restrictions, denying them the right to register births, marriages and deaths.

Since Lebanon passed an anti-torture law in September 2017, the National Human Rights Institute, which is mandated to oversee the law’s implementation, among other tasks, remained inactive. The government failed to allocate it an independent budget or trigger the process for nominating the five members needed to form the National Preventive Mechanism against torture.
In March, a military court acquitted actor Ziad Itani of charges of spying for Israel, and released him. He had spent three and a half months in unlawful detention. The court also charged the former head of the Internal Security Forces’ cybercrimes bureau of fabricating evidence against the actor and falsely accusing him. Ziad Itani reported that he had been tortured in detention; he said that men in civilian clothes had beaten him, tied him in a stress position, hung him by his wrists, kicked him in the face, threatened to rape him, and threatened to hurt and prosecute his family. The authorities failed to investigate the allegations.

legislation, including the penal code and personal status codes, continued to discriminate against women.

Women’s rights organizations reported that provisions of the penal code that criminalized adultery were discriminatory in practice, with more women being charged under the law than men. They also reported that the law was sometimes used by husbands and other male family members to seek revenge.
Reproductive health services specifically needed by women, such as those relating to abortion, were still criminalized. In practice, abortions were obtained generally through medication and in private clinics. However, the high cost of abortions and the lack of information about them remained barriers to women in vulnerable situations, particularly refugee and migrant women.
Civil society organizations reported that police continued to harass and detain sex workers, even though the selling of
sex is not illegal. A health NGO, SIDC (Soins Infirmiers et Développement Communautaire), reported that, in a survey of 50 women engaging in transactional sex, 45 claimed discrimination or abuse in public health care settings and 10 reported that they had faced physical abuse in detention centres or police stations.
Women migrant workers continued to suffer discriminatory practices under the kafala (sponsorship) system restricting their rights to freedom of movement, education and health, including sexual and reproductive health.

RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE According to reports, police continued to harass and abuse LGBTI people, especially in refugee and migrant communities, sometimes resorting to Article 534 of the penal code, which criminalizes “sexual intercourse contrary to nature”.
In May, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) banned several activities organized by Beirut Pride to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and detained the organizer overnight. The ISF cited security concerns following threats by an Islamist group.
In October, the General Security (GS) attempted to shut down a conference of LGBTI activists from the Middle East and North Africa region, organized by the Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality (AFE). After failing to make the AFE’s executive director sign a pledge to cancel all conference activities, GS officers ordered the hotel to shut down the conference. The GS did not explain their concerns, although the action followed threats by an Islamist group.
In July, a district court of appeal ruled that same-sex consensual sex was not a criminal offence.

Different security forces arrested and interrogated several human rights defenders, peaceful political activists and other individuals for social media posts criticizing political, religious or economic authorities. Those targeted had their legal rights violated, including the right to a lawyer. In the course of the interrogations, security officers revealed that they had accessed some of their personal data, such as messages they had sent and received on messaging services and transcripts of phone calls they had made. Most were freed without charge after a short period of detention, but several of the activists arrested were blackmailed into signing pledges that they would refrain from certain activities as a precondition for their release.

In February, the Central Bank revealed that several banks had nearly exhausted their quota of stimulus funds allocated
for the entire year. As a result, the subsidized loan programme was frozen and there were serious doubts about its future and that of the Public Corporation for Housing, the only official body managing the right to housing for middle- and low-income citizens.
In September, parliament approved an exceptional allocation of US$66 million to finance housing loans, and gave the government six months to draft a sustainable housing policy.

In November, parliament passed a law creating a national commission to investigate the whereabouts of thousands of persons who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during
the 1975-1990 armed conflict in Lebanon. Associations of families of the victims concerned, along with partner organizations, had campaigned for such a development for over three decades.

In September, the closing arguments concluded in Prosecutor v. Ayyash et al., the case relating to the 14 February 2005 attack which killed 22 individuals, including former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 others. At the end of the year, the judges had yet to issue their verdict.

Courts continued to hand down death sentences; no executions were carried out.

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Sunday, June 23, 2019


Militias, armed groups and security forces continued to commit with impunity crimes under international law and gross human rights violations and abuses, including war crimes, throughout the year. Clashes between competing militias resulted in an increased number of civilian casualties. Thousands of people were held indefinitely without any judicial process following arbitrary arrest, including many detained since 2011. Torture and other ill-treatment were widespread in state prisons and detention centres controlled by militias
and armed groups. Militias and armed groups contributed to the collapse of law enforcement and the judiciary by harassing judges and lawyers. They were also responsible for kidnappings for ransom, as well as arbitrary arrests and abductions of those identified as political opponents. Thousands of Libyan families remained internally displaced. Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants suffered serious human rights violations and abuses, including rape and extortion, at the hands of state officials, militias and smugglers. The authorities failed to protect women from gender-based violence by militias and armed groups, and women activists were targeted with gender-based violence and smear campaigns. Courts handed down death sentences, but no executions were reported.

The security situation remained volatile. Militias, armed groups and security forces affiliated to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in the west and the selfproclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east continued to operate outside the rule of law. The GNA, established under the 2015 UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement, remained weak as it continued to struggle to exert effective control on the ground.
Four main militias operating under the Ministry of Interior dominated the capital, Tripoli, carving out territorial influence and power, infiltrating government institutions and building economic strongholds.

The political stalemate continued. International calls for UN-backed elections agreed at a summit in Paris, France, in May were overshadowed by the outbreak of conflict in Tripoli in late August. Other international efforts, including a conference held in Palermo, Italy, in November, made little progress, while renewing commitment for elections to take place in the first half of 2019. In mid-May, the LNA, led by General Khalifa Hafter, launched an offensive against the eastern city of Derna, following a blockade it had imposed on the city for a year. The LNA sought to consolidate its power and expel the Derna Security Force (previously known as the Derna Shura Council).
In June, Ibrahim Al-Jodhran, former commander of the Petroleum Facilities Guard, a militia group that between 2013 and 2016 controlled the Oil Crescent region – a coastal area and the source of Libya’s main oil exports – launched a military operation to reclaim the region from the LNA. LNA forces quickly regained control of the area. On 15 September, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Ibrahim Al-Jodhran, imposing a travel ban and freezing his assets for a series of acts, including attempting to export Libyan oil illegally and attacking oil installations.

Militias, armed groups and security forces continued to commit with impunity crimes under international law and gross human rights violations abuses in the context of armed hostilities, including war crimes, throughout the year. Clashes between competing militias resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties including deaths, most due to attacks that were indiscriminate, and made it difficult for people to access basic facilities such as hospitals and schools. Renewed conflict in Tripoli in late August and September cost 115 civilians their lives, according to Ministry of Health figures. The LNA’s assault on Derna in May involved intensive aerial and artillery bombardment and led to ferocious fighting on the ground where civilians were killed or injured as a result and exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) continued to have jurisdiction over crimes under international law committed in Libya since 15 February 2011, under a referral made by the UN Security Council in 2011. On 4 July, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant against Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a former field commander of the Special Forces Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the LNA, for the war crime of murder, after he was filmed on 24 January extrajudicially executing 10 people. The killings took place just hours after two car bombs were detonated at the Biaa Radwan mosque in the centre of the eastern city of Benghazi. The first warrant for his arrest was issued in August 2017.

 Militias, armed groups and security forces affiliated to the ministries of interior and defence under the Tripolibased UN-backed GNA and the easternbased LNA continued to arbitrarily arrest and indefinitely detain thousands of people without charge. Many detainees had been held since 2011 and most were held with no judicial oversight or means to challenge the legality of their detention.
In the west, militias operating as security forces under the GNA regularly conducted arbitrary arrests and abductions of people from their homes and workplaces, targeting victims on the basis of their regional origin, perceived political opinions, profession or perceived wealth in order to extract cash ransoms.

Detainees in Matiga prison on Tripoli’s eastern outskirts, run by the Special Deterrent Forces (Radaa), a militia group affiliated to the GNA and on the government’s payroll, were held indefinitely without a judicial process. They were kept in overcrowded cells with insufficient food and water and denied access to medical services. On 29 April, Radaa forces arrested Suleiman Qashout, a prominent TV anchor, for organizing a media award ceremony that the militia perceived as contradicting their social values. Radaa forces also used arbitrary detention to exert political pressure on
opponents. Fares Al-Jodhran, a relative of Ibrahim Al-Jodhran, was held throughout 2018 without charge in Matiga prison.

On 15 March, an unknown militia abducted Masoud Erhouma, the military prosecutor of the GNA, in front of his house in Tripoli’s Salah Eddine area. In April, news sources reported that he had escaped. On 28 March, an unidentified militia abducted Abdulrauf Beitelmal, head of the Tripoli Municipality Council, from his home. He was held for a day before being released.
On 4 April, Salem Ghereby and Omar Khalifa, both former Guantánamo detainees, were deported from Senegal to Libya, after which their whereabouts were unknown. No official charges were brought against them.

Armed groups and militias aligned with the GNA and LNA harassed, abducted and attacked journalists, human rights defenders and other activists, forcing many to flee the country.
On 11 January, members of the Bab Tajoura militia, affiliated to the GNA, abducted Mariam al-Tayeb, a journalist based in Tripoli, near her home because of views she expressed on social media. The group took her to their headquarters, where they beat her until she momentarily lost consciousness. They freed her several hours later following a campaign on Facebook calling for her release.

In January, a woman activist from Benghazi who had used social media to criticize Khalifa Hafter and the LNA was forced to leave Libya along with her entire family when the LNA’s Military Intelligence Unit sought to arrest her for her posts.
On 31 July, the GNA-affiliated militia Al-Nawassi brigade, based in Tripoli, arrested four international journalists – Ahmed Elumami (a Reuters correspondent), Hani Amara (a Reuters cameraman) and brothers Mahmoud Turkia and Hamza Turkia (AFP photographers) – while they were covering a story on migration at Abu Sitta naval base in Tripoli. They were released 10 hours later.

In August, journalist and photographer Musa Abdul Kareem was killed in unclear circumstances and his body dumped on the side of a road in the southern city of Sabha, his hometown. Reports indicate that, weeks before his death, he had coauthored an article published in Fasanea, a Sabha-based newspaper he edited, around ongoing criminality in the city.

 The judicial system remained dysfunctional and ineffective. Courts and prosecutors’ offices were unable to provide recourse for victims of human rights violations or bring to justice those suspected of criminal responsibility for such abuses. Perpetrators of serious human rights abuses continued to operate without fear of being held to account for their crimes.
Libyan authorities launched initiatives to integrate militias and armed groups into an institutionalized security sector. These attempts overlooked the groups’ records of serious human rights abuses and disregarded the need to ensure accountability for past crimes. Militias and armed groups acted as de facto police, abducting individuals they accused of criminal offences and detaining them unlawfully.
In March, Saddik Essour, the head of investigations in the office of the public prosecutor, announced that 205 arrest warrants had been issued for Libyans and foreign nationals suspected of involvement in a smuggling network for migrants heading to Europe. No further steps were taken to implement the warrants.
In central Libya, armed groups abducted judge Abdelsalam Al-Senoussi and prosecutor Ismail Abdelrahman, along with two security officers, from a courthouse in the town of Waddan on 22 July in retaliation for the detention of two people on smuggling charges. All the abducted men were released after two days.

Torture and other ill-treatment were widespread in prisons, detention centres and unofficial places of detention, with victims having no possibility of any form of protection or redress. Victims recounted mock executions, beatings and floggings with a rubber hose; many were left with clear signs of torture, including broken limbs.

Thousands of Libyan families remained internally displaced due to the ongoing clashes and hostilities as well as the lack of access to basic services, targeted violence, threats and human rights violations that continued to occur throughout the country. Many had been in a protracted state of displacement since 2011. The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons reported a dire humanitarian situation throughout Libya in which the most vulnerable internally displaced persons had few mechanisms to support themselves and had their access to essential household goods – such as food – reduced due to insecurity, inflation and limited availability of cash in the country. She also noted that many faced serious protection concerns and that state authorities linked to either the GNA or LNA were doing very little to bring an end to their displacement.

On 1 February, Tawerghan families internally displaced since 2011 travelled from the east, south and west of Libya, attempting to return to the town of Tawergha following a decree issued by the Presidential Council - the body created under the Libyan Political Agreement to carry out the functions of the head of state - on 26 December 2017 to initiate a return process. Armed groups blocked the families from returning to their homes, using violence and intimidation, on the pretext that other parts of the agreement had not been fully implemented. Some 202 Tawerghan families subsequently set up camps in the area of Qararat al-Qataf, around 50km south-west of Tawergha, and in Harawa, east of Sirte.
On 3 June, representatives of the city of Misrata and the town of Tawergha signed a reconciliation pact ensuring safe return for the Tawerghan people. However, the GNA did not enforce the agreement.
On 10 August, a militia belonging to the Ghnewa brigade, a GNA-affiliated militia based in Tripoli, attacked the Tariq Al-Mattar camp for internally displaced people in Tripoli, home to over 500 Tawerghan families. The attack resulted in the forced eviction of around 1,900 internally displaced people from the camp by the militia and the arbitrary arrest of 94 residents by the brigade.

The situation for refugees, asylumseekers and migrants in Libya remained bleak. Militias and armed groups subjected them to arbitrary arrest and abduction, as well as sexual and other violence and extortion both inside and outside facilities they ran. On 7 June, the UN Security Council sanctioned four Libyan nationals for involvement in human trafficking and smuggling migrants, freezing their assets and imposing travel bans and other measures.
Libyan authorities continued to unlawfully detain refugees, asylumseekers and migrants, mainly those intercepted at sea, in centres recognized by the authorities, formally operated under the Ministry of Interior and run by the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM). These centres were, however, largely controlled by militias who did not necessarily adhere to the central authorities’ chain of command. Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants were kept in appalling conditions. They were also subjected to forced labour, torture and other ill-treatment, and verbal abuse by guards, often to extract money from their families in exchange for their release. Women in particular were subjected to rape in official centres and while being held by armed groups, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies.
There was no judicial oversight over these detention centres. Refugees, asylumseekers and migrants were held without any judicial process. They could not challenge their detention and were not offered legal counsel. The DCIM often held women, men and children together, breaching international standards on detention.
Libya, which is not a party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, continued to refuse to recognize UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. In the absence of a national asylum framework, the authorities did not recognize the status of refugees. Previously, they had recognized people from certain countries as in need of international protection and released them from detention to UNHCR. In 2018 this practice was halted and the authorities refused to release anyone from detention except those being evacuated by international organizations to third countries or those who paid a bribe.

Libyan authorities failed to protect women, including journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and other activists, from gender-based violence at the hands of militias and armed groups or ensure that they were able to express themselves freely.
Women who spoke out against corruption or the violent actions of militias or the LNA were subjected to threats, abduction and gender-based violence by them. Such women were also subjected to genderrelated slurs by militias and smear campaigns on social media, including allegations of adultery and engaging in sex work. Harmful gender stereotypes and social stigma attached to women’s activism normalized these forms of abuse and forced many women to withdraw from the public space altogether.
On 27 December, police forces affiliated to the Ministry of Interior in Benghazi raided a café in the city where a group of nearly 20 young girls, most with their mothers, were attending a gathering they had organized on Twitter. The police arrested the manager and staff on grounds of “immoral behaviour”.

Courts imposed dozens of death sentences. In January, a military court in Misrata sentenced Salah Gadhafi to death by firing squad for his involvement in violence in the 2011 uprising in Libya. No executions were reported.


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Friday, June 21, 2019


The authorities continued to unduly restrict the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including by prosecuting and imprisoning government critics under criminal defamation laws. Members of the Bidun minority continued to face discrimination and were denied the right to a nationality. Migrant workers remained inadequately protected against exploitation and abuse. Courts continued to hand down death sentences; no executions were reported.

 Kuwait led mediation efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis that erupted in June 2017, when Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed relations with Qatar. Kuwait remained part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition engaged in armed conflict in Yemen (see Yemen entry).
The government terminated the employment contracts of over 3,000 foreign employees in the public sector under a nationalization policy.
In September, the government established the National Committee on International
Humanitarian Law; its purpose will be to review judicial verdicts and legislation relating to international humanitarian law in light of the Geneva Conventions.

 The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly remained curtailed. The authorities prosecuted government critics under provisions of the Penal Code that criminalize speech deemed offensive to the emir or disparaging to neighbouring countries. In August, the government proposed a law that would punish with five years in prison anyone who defames or disparages the crown prince or his deputy Blogger and online activist Abdullah Saleh was sentenced in his absence to a total of 25 years’ imprisonment in different cases simply for expressing views on social media deemed “insulting” to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In February, the Court of Cassation upheld the prison sentences of 13 people for publicizing or reciting extracts of a speech by former opposition member of parliament Musallam alBarrak, for which he was sentenced to two years in prison in 2015. In May, Hamad al-Naqi, who had received a 10-year prison sentence in 2012 for “insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media”, was pardoned and released after serving half his sentence.
In June, Kuwait’s minister of social affairs dissolved the board of directors of the Kuwait Liberal Society for participating in a forum on free thought with a Dutch political party, joining the Arab Liberal Federation (a network of political parties) and fundraising during the month of Ramadan without prior official permission. A member of the Society was sentenced to six months in jail for a Twitter post.
In July, the Court of Cassation upheld the convictions of 16 opposition politicians, human rights defenders and peaceful demonstrators, including eight former or current members of parliament, on charges relating to their participation in a 2011 protest. The convictions were based on politically motivated charges after trials that violated international standards of fairness and contravened the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Trial observer Pete
Weatherby, who was part of a legal team monitoring the trial, was blocked from entering the country.

In March, a law was passed that allows Bidun to join the military. Parliament also approved a draft law that would grant Kuwaiti citizenship to up to 4,000 Bidun, but it had not been enacted by the end of the year.
The authorities continued to withhold citizenship from more than 100,000 Bidun long-term residents of Kuwait, who remained stateless and unable to access a range of public services. In June, the minister of education rejected a parliamentary proposal to register children of Bidun at public schools. According to the ministry’s regulations, registration is only allowed for Bidun children born of Kuwaiti mothers, and children and grandchildren of Bidun categorized as “martyrs” after being killed during the Iraqi invasion of 1990.
 In October, the Council of Ministers approved the reinstatement of Kuwaiti nationality for several individuals, including government critics, whose citizenship had been revoked several years earlier.

 Migrant workers continued to face exploitation and abuse under the kafala (sponsorship) system, which ties a worker’s visa to their employer
and prevents them from changing jobs without the employer’s consent. Migrant domestic workers, mostly women, remained especially at risk and exposed to physical, sexual and psychological abuse by their employers.
In February, the Philippines imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait following the murder of a Filipina domestic worker by her employers. It also facilitated the voluntary repatriation of thousands of migrant workers. Following months of diplomatic crisis, the ban was lifted in May after Kuwait and the Philippines signed a bilateral agreement regulating some working conditions for domestic workers.

Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice. In particular, the law accords women fewer rights than men in family matters such as divorce, child custody, inheritance, nationality rights and domestic violence.
Courts continued to hand down death sentences for offences including murder and drug trafficking; no executions were reported.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019


People were subjected to prolonged pretrial detention, solitary confinement and torture and other ill-treatment. Freedom of expression was curtailed: journalists and activists critical of the government or King Abdullah were detained; access to the internet was restricted; and online content was censored. Proposed amendments to the cybercrime law that would further threaten freedom of expression stalled after demonstrations against the legislation. The authorities opened a shelter for women at risk of family violence in the name of “honour”.
However, women’s rights continued to be restricted in law and practice, including in relation to abortion, guardianship, marriage and inheritance. The rights of migrant workers continued to be violated and insufficiently protected in law. Jordan continued to offer sanctuary to around 2.7 million refugees, though the rights of some of them were violated. Death sentences were passed; there were no executions.

Jordan remained part of the US-led military coalition fighting in Iraq and Syria against the armed group calling itself Islamic State (see Iraq and Syria entries), and of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition engaged in the armed conflict in Yemen (see Yemen entry).
The UN Human Rights Council held the third Universal Periodic Review of Jordan on 8 November. Jordan accepted 131 recommendations, agreed to examine another 21 and rejected 74 others related to, among other issues, ratification of human rights treaties, abolition of the death penalty, “honour” killings, repeal of the Crime Prevention Law, nationality rights, prevention of torture in detention and protection of migrant workers.
On 30 May, trade unions called a strike to protest against amendments to the 2014 tax law presented by the government of Hani Al-Mulki and supported by the International Monetary Fund. The next day, the government raised fuel and electricity prices, triggering further protests. On 1 June, King Abdullah ordered a freeze on price hikes, but protests continued. On 4 June, Al-Mulki resigned and the next day King Abdullah appointed Omar AlRazzaz as prime minister. The protests ended after Al-Razzaz announced that the new government would withdraw the amendments. In September, the government presented an amended tax law; it exempted lower-paid individuals from filing tax returns, but still prompted strong public criticism.
DETENTION The General Intelligence Directorate (GID) continued to subject people to prolonged pre-trial detention, solitary confinement and torture and other illtreatment, according to the National Centre for Human Rights (NHRC) and other organizations. Detainees held in GID prisons were not allowed unsupervised visits, even by lawyers.

Administrative governors continued to issue thousands of administrative detention orders under the 1954 Crime Prevention Law, which allows detention of up to one year without charge or trial or any means of legal remedy.

 The authorities continued to harass, intimidate, detain and imprison activists and journalists who voiced criticism of the government or King Abdullah. Several journalists were summoned for interrogation and detained for days without charges being brought against them. The authorities also enforced bans on the distribution of selected books for religious, moral and political reasons; restricted or disrupted access to the internet; and censored online content.
In September, the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, referred a number of draft amendments to the cybercrime law to its legal committee for review. They included provisions that threatened freedom of expression. One contained an overly broad definition of online “hate speech”, which would criminalize statements that spread rumours against
people with the aim of damaging their reputation in the absence of incitement to violence and carry harsh sanctions. In December, following demonstrations against the law, the government suspended the process to subject the amendments to further examination.

 Following a long-standing campaign by Jordanian women’s rights organizations, including Mizan – Law Group for Human Rights, the Ministry of Social Development opened Amneh House shelter for women at risk of family violence in the name of “honour”. By the end of the year, 16 women were living in the shelter. The shelter’s regulations, published in May, guaranteed that no one could be held in the shelter against their will. Civil society organizations were still debating whether the shelter would end the long-standing practice of imprisoning women at risk in “protective custody” through the (mis)use of powers set out under the Crime Prevention Law of 1954.
While celebrated reforms had been made to the Penal Code in 2017, no further action was taken to modify discriminatory provisions. Articles 321 and 322 continued to criminalize abortion, even in cases of rape, and Article 282 criminalized adultery. As of 27 October 2018, seven women were in prison on adultery charges.
Some provisions of the Penal Code also contributed to other forms of discrimination against women in practice. According to the women’s rights organization Sisterhood Is Global International (SIGI) – Jordan, a provision penalizing the failure to pay back contractual debts has led to the prosecution of women who were being pressured or deceived by family members to take loans. SIGI also reported that, among the 17 women on death row at the end of 2018, some had been sentenced for killing their abusive husband in self-defence.
The Personal Status Law continued to discriminate against women and girls,
including in the areas of guardianship, marriage, divorce, common marital property and inheritance. In practice, guardianship established was interpreted widely to restrict women’s autonomous decision-making on issues of marriage and residence until the age of 30. The police continued to act on demands by guardians to forcibly return women “absent” from their guardian’s home.
In the context of poor enforcement of alimony payments following decisions of Shari’a courts, an alimony fund provided for in a 2010 amendment to the Personal Status Law became available in early 2018 and benefited at least 400 divorced women whose former husbands had not made maintenance payments.

While positive measures were adopted in 2017 to combat human trafficking and improve occupational safety, they remained insufficient to ensure the protection of migrant workers’ rights. Migrant domestic workers continued to be inadequately protected from abuse by their employers and agents, and remained at risk of arbitrary detention by the state. According to activists with access to detention facilities, scores of women migrant domestic workers were administratively detained in 2018, mostly because they had been unable to pay visa overstay fees.
Non-Jordanian domestic workers who were not married reported giving birth at home to avoid losing custody of their children and faced barriers registering their children or travelling with them to their home countries. It is illegal in Jordan to give birth outside of wedlock and migrant women were less able than their Jordanian counterparts to access family or community support to circumvent legal threats.

 In September, the government cancelled the requirement of five years’ uninterrupted residence for women married to non-Jordanians as a condition for their children to access certain rights and benefits, and took the positive step of accepting as official ID the card issued to these children by the Department of Civil Status and Passports. The rights and benefits were related to education, health care, employment, investment, property ownership and obtaining driving licences, in addition to permanent residence.
Citizenship laws continued to discriminate against children of Jordanian mothers and non-Jordanian fathers, who unlike children of Jordanian fathers married to non-Jordanians, were denied Jordanian citizenship.

Jordan hosted over 670,000 Syrian refugees registered by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, of whom some 125,000 lived in camps, in addition to over 13,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria and over 2 million long-term Palestinian refugees, among others.
Of 37,000 Syrian refugees in Azraq camp, nearly 9,500 remained in Village 5, an area fenced off from the rest of the
camp. Most people in this area had been transferred there in 2016 on the basis that they would be screened and then relocated outside Village 5. Their status remained unclear. Unlike refugees in other parts of the camp, those in Village 5 were not allowed to leave the area, visit relatives in other parts of the camp, obtain temporary leave permits or access work outside the camp.
In March, the Ministry of Interior launched a campaign to rectify the status of Syrian refugees living informally in urban areas. The campaign targeted Syrians who had left refugee camps without permission to settle in host communities or who had arrived in Jordan across informal border crossings and not registered with UNHCR. The rectification allowed them to benefit from the protection and assistance provided by UNHCR and to receive a Ministry of Interior service card.
The NCHR stated in August that Syrian refugees had been facing an increasing risk of deportation since the beginning of 2017 and that authorities were returning refugees to Dara’a governorate despite the lack of infrastructure and security there.

In September, Jordan appealed against the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling that Jordan had failed to comply with its obligations as a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC for not executing the court’s request for the arrest and surrender of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir when he visited Jordan in 2017. The ICC had issued two arrest warrants for Al-Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, Sudan.

Courts continued to hand down death sentences; no executions were carried out.

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Monday, June 17, 2019


New legislation entrenched discrimination against non-Jewish citizens. Israeli forces killed more than 290 Palestinians, including over 50 children; many were unlawfully killed as they were shot while posing no imminent threat to life. Israel imposed an illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip for the 11th year in a row, subjecting approximately 2 million inhabitants to
collective punishment and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis. Freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank remained restricted through a system of military checkpoints and roadblocks. Israeli authorities unlawfully detained within Israel thousands of Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), holding hundreds in administrative detention without charge or trial. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, including children, remained pervasive and was committed with impunity. Israel continued to demolish Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank and in Palestinian villages inside Israel, forcibly evicting residents. The Israeli justice system continued to fail to adequately ensure accountability and redress for victims of grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The authorities continued to deny asylum
seekers access to a fair or prompt refugee status determination process; hundreds of African asylum-seekers were deported and thousands were threatened with deportation. Conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned.

The Israeli authorities continued to expand illegal settlements and related infrastructure in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, including by legalizing outposts built without state authorization on private Palestinian land. They held local elections in October across Israel and in illegal settlements including in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied Golan Heights.

Negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian authorities remained stalled. On 15 May, the USA moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in violation of international law. Two police investigations recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted over corruption allegations. The attorney general had not yet ruled on the recommendations by the end of the year.

Waves of armed hostilities broke out between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces launched dozens of air strikes on Gaza, killing 46 people. Palestinian armed groups launched hundreds of rockets into Israel, killing one Palestinian civilian. On 13 November 2018, after two days of intense hostilities by both sides, a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, brokered by Egypt, was announced. Individual Palestinians, most unaffiliated to armed groups, attacked Israelis in the West Bank and in Israel, killing at least 13. Attacks by settlers on Palestinians resulted in the death of a Palestinian woman.
Israel reportedly conducted scores of air strikes inside Syria.

 Israel continued to pass legislation that discriminates against non-Jewish citizens, particularly Palestinians. The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, passed in July, described the Israeli state as being only for the Jewish people, confirming the status of the almost one fifth of the population who are Palestinian citizens of Israel as second-class citizens.

 Israeli military and security forces killed at least 195 Palestinians, including at least 41 children, in demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank. Many were unlawfully killed as they were shot while posing no imminent threat to life.
Israeli forces killed scores of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during sustained
protests that started in March for the right to return of refugees to land from which they were displaced 70 years earlier, and against the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 180 were killed, among them 35 children, three paramedics and two journalists. While some protesters engaged in violence, including by burning tyres, unleashing incendiary kites and balloons towards Israel or throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in the direction of Israeli soldiers, social media videos, as well as eyewitness testimonies gathered by Amnesty International, Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups, show that Israeli soldiers shot and killed journalists, medical staff, bystanders and unarmed protesters who posed no threat to life; many were at distances of around 150-400m from the fence separating Gaza and Israel when they were shot. Some of these unlawful killings appeared to be wilful, which would constitute war crimes. Israeli forces also injured at least 13,458 Palestinians, many of them seriously, including more than 7,000 shot by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. In May, the UN Human Rights Council established a commission of inquiry into the killings and other abuses in the OPT since the protests began.
On 27 July, Majdi Ramzi al-Satri, 12, was killed after being shot in the head by a live bullet fired by Israeli security forces while standing 50m away from the fence, during his participation in a protest in Rafah.
Israeli air strikes and shelling killed at least 13 Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip not directly participating in hostilities. On 28 October, an Israeli drone missile killed three children, Khalid Bassam Abu Sa’ed, 14, Abdul Hamid Mohammed Abu Thaher, 14, and Mohammed Ibrahim al-Satri, 15, when they tried to cross the Gaza/Israel fence. For almost two hours ambulance crews were unable to enter the area due to shooting by Israeli forces from the other side of the fence.

 Israel’s illegal air, land and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip entered its 11th year, restricting the movement of people and goods into and out of the area, and collectively punishing Gaza’s 2 million residents. Israel increased the restrictions in July, saying this was in response to the launching of incendiary kites and balloons, rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel. Several human rights organizations petitioned against these restrictions on the grounds that they constituted collective punishment prohibited under international humanitarian law. Israeli authorities lifted the additional restrictive measures on 20 October.
Throughout much of the year, the Gaza Strip suffered fuel shortages that resulted in a maximum of four hours of electricity per day. In October, the UN brokered a deal to allow Gaza’s main electricity plant to be refuelled as part of a plan to increase electricity supply to eight hours per day. Electricity cuts worsened Gaza’s water and sanitation crisis.
Israel reduced to a record low the number of medical permits issued to residents of the Gaza Strip to allow them to enter Israel and the West Bank for treatment. Denial of medical permits led to the deaths of at least eight Palestinians, according to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.
On 20 June, Masoud Abdul Hai Abu Saqer, 49, died at Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel, where he had presented himself for an interview with Israeli security services in the hope of being able to travel to an East Jerusalem hospital to obtain treatment for kidney cancer. Since he was diagnosed in December 2017 he had submitted four applications for a medical permit. The first three were rejected by the Israeli military. On the fourth occasion, he was summoned for an interview.
Almost 100 Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks continued to heavily restrict the movement of Palestinians in the West
Bank. Palestinians are denied access to tens of roads in the West Bank that are designated for the use of Israelis only.

 Israeli authorities conducted hundreds of raids throughout the West Bank to arrest Palestinians without judicial orders detailing the reason for arrest. They placed in detention or continued to detain thousands of Palestinians from the OPT in prisons in Israel in violation of international humanitarian law. Israeli authorities used renewable administrative detention orders to hold Palestinians without charge or trial. Palestinian civilians were prosecuted in military courts that did not meet international standards of fair trial and more than 5,500 Palestinians, including 480 administrative detainees, were held in Israeli prisons at the end of the year, according to Palestinian human rights organization Addameer. Among those held were civil society leaders, NGO workers and journalists.
Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and board member of the NGO Addameer, and Addameer staff member Ayman Nasser, remained held under administrative detention orders since their arrest in February 2017 and 17 September 2018 respectively.

 Israeli soldiers, police and Israel Security Agency (ISA) officers tortured and otherwise ill-treated Palestinian detainees, including children, with impunity, particularly during arrest and interrogation. Reported methods included beatings, slapping, painful shackling, sleep deprivation, use of stress positions and threats. Prolonged solitary confinement, sometimes for months, was commonly used as a punishment. Many families of Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israel, particularly those in Gaza, were not permitted entry to Israel to visit their relatives.
Four Palestinians died in custody as a result of alleged torture or other illtreatment by Israeli forces. One of them, Mohamed Khatib al-Rimawi, died from heart failure after Israeli forces beat him during a pre-dawn raid at his home in the West Bank village of Beit Rima on 18 September. Soldiers shackled him while unconscious before taking him away. An autopsy was conducted on 24 September in the presence of Israeli and Palestinian doctors. The Palestinian doctor’s report noted that he had bruises on the torso, the right thigh and the back. It concluded that the fear and anxiety resulting from his arrest, coupled with a genetic condition of narrow arteries, led to a fatal restriction of blood flow to the heart. The Israeli military denied the beating and said the cause of death was still to be investigated.Israel held 230 Palestinian children in prison, including 41 under the age of 16. According to Defense for Children International-Palestine, many children were beaten, threatened and intimidated after arrest, interrogated without their parents, and handed disproportionately harsh sentences. It added that children were tried in front of a military judge and placed with adults in the same prison facilities. Under international law, detention of children should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate time.
Some Palestinian prisoners were denied adequate medical care or received treatment in humiliating conditions. Raja’i Abdel-Qader, for example, received eight hours of continuous chemotherapy while his hands and feet were shackled.

 The authorities used a range of measures, including detentions, movement restrictions, judicial harassment and incitement campaigns, both in Israel and the OPT, to target activists, including human rights defenders, who criticized Israel’s continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel started implementing the 2017 amendment to the Entry into Israel Law,
which banned entry into Israel or the OPT of anyone supporting or working for an organization that promotes a boycott of Israel or Israeli entities, including settlements. As a result, human rights defenders, lawyers, students and doctors were denied entry. Human Rights Watch staff member Omar Shakir had his work permit revoked on 9 May based on allegations that he supported such a boycott. He challenged the decision; the legal process was continuing at the end of the year.
On 25 May, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs published a report that listed European and Palestinian human rights organizations that allegedly support terrorism. The EU responded that Israel was spreading disinformation.
Israeli authorities continued to obstruct attempts to document human rights by denying human rights bodies entry to the OPT, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the OPT.
Political leader Raja Eghbaria, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was held first in detention for a month and then under house arrest without access to telephones or the internet, during his ongoing trial for Facebook posts that, according to the Israeli prosecution, contained incitement to terrorism. His lawyer argued that the posts, while praising Palestinians who were killed after shooting members of Israeli security forces, included no call to violence and that their meaning in Arabic had been altered by the state’s Hebrew translation. Amnesty International agreed with this assessment.

Israel demolished 148 Palestinian properties in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 139 for lack of permits and nine for punitive reasons, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem; 425 people, including 191 children, were left homeless as a result. Punitive demolitions constitute collective punishment and are expressly prohibited under international law.

The Knesset (parliament) debated a bill that would raise the legal fees for contesting demolition orders in the West Bank, and prohibit non-profit organizations from submitting petitions against demolition orders if they were not directly affected by them.
In September, the Supreme Court approved the demolition of Khan alAhmar village and forcible transfer of its residents to make way for illegal Jewish settlements. The village was home to 180 members of the Bedouin community and a school that educated 170 children in the area. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court released a statement in October reminding Israel that extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute.
On 9 August, an Israeli air strike targeted and destroyed the al-Mishal cultural centre in Gaza, in violation of international law, which prohibits the destruction of cultural buildings unless they are being used for military purposes.
The authorities also demolished Palestinian homes inside Israel that they said were built without permits, including in Palestinian towns and villages in the Triangle (a concentration of Palestinian communities adjacent to the northwest of the West Bank), the Galilee and “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab region. In August, Israeli police forcibly demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 132nd time.

The authorities failed to adequately ensure accountability in the aftermath the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict, during which Israeli forces killed some 1,460 Palestinian civilians, many in evidently
unlawful attacks including war crimes. They had previously indicted only three soldiers for looting and obstructing an investigation. In August, the Military Attorney General closed the case relating to an attack on Rafah on 1-4 August 2014, when between 135 and 200 civilians were killed.
In May, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by Israeli human rights groups to order the army to stop using lethal force against demonstrators in the Gaza Strip.

Violence against women persisted in Israel. At least 20 women were killed as a result of gender-based violence, according to the group Women Against Violence. The group said the authorities prosecuted all cases involving the killing of Jewish women, but only half of those involving women who were Palestinian citizens of Israel. The group, along with other organizations and some legislators, criticized the lack of police action to bring perpetrators of such crimes to court, in particular with regard to socalled “honour killings”.

The authorities continued to deny asylum-seekers from Eritrea and Sudan access to a fair and prompt refugee status determination process. Some 6,530 asylum claims were closed or denied unlawfully in 2018, while some 15,000 were pending at the end of the year. Only 11 claimants from Eritrea or Sudan had been granted refugee status since 2008.
In January, Israel accelerated its deportations of Eritreans and Sudanese asylum-seekers. As a result, 668 were deported to Rwanda and Uganda or their
countries of origin. Another 300 or so were detained in Saharonim prison for refusing to leave Israel; the practice ended in April, after the Supreme Court found the detentions unlawful.
As a result of a decision by the interior minister in May, about 300 Sudanese people were given temporary residency status in order to close pending appeals and avoid a Supreme Court ruling obliging Israel to grant refugee status to all Sudanese asylum-seekers. 

At least six Israeli conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned. One of them, Adam Rafaelov, was awaiting trial at the end of the year.


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