Saying NO to sex-based discrimination in senior positions in the judiciary:
Women have the right to hold public office and senior positions of all levels
MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, along with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) signed below, express their deep discontent at excluding a woman from serving as a magistrate judge merely because she is a woman; an unjust decision that has no legitimate justification, and blatantly deviates from the provisions of the Basic Law, in particular Article (9), which clearly and indisputably states that “Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary, without distinction based upon race, sex, color, religion, political views or disability”, as well as paragraph 4 of Article (26) which states that “Palestinians shall have the right to participate in political life, both individually and in groups. They shall have the following rights in particular: 1…… 2...... 3…… 4- to hold public office and senior positions, in accordance with the principle of equal opportunities, 5……”
The aforementioned parties stress that women have the right to hold public office as part of the constitutional rights they are entitled-to by the Basic Law and the international conventions, agreements and declarations, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Not to mention that it has a direct connection to citizenship rights, pursuant to the Declaration of Independence, and it is guaranteed by the various international laws. In her complaint to MUSAWA, the complainant, Huda Tayseer Adwan, residing in Gaza, stated that despite the fact that she had passed the selection exam and a decision had been made to appoint her as a magistrate judge in Gaza, as she came second amongst the candidates for the job, she was excluded from the appointment and she did not take the oath like the rest of her colleagues, merely because she is a woman, on the grounds that those responsible for appointment in the Legislative Council are not willing to appoint women in the judicial field, contrary to what the aforementioned legislation state.
We believe that excluding the complainant, as mentioned above, is an unlawful act that does not conform to the principle of equal opportunities for the applicants and successful candidates to serve as magistrate judges in Gaza. Such an act discriminates among candidates and represents abuse of power, worsening the discrimination amongst citizens on the basis of sex, which is illegal and contradictory to the Basic Law as well as the existing laws which prohibit any kind of discrimination between men and women when it comes to holding public office.
Accordingly, we call upon all of the competent authorities to draw back the aforementioned decision and to give the complainant the opportunity to serve as a magistrate judge in the courts of Gaza, knowing that she matches the qualifications that were set for the said job.
We see that this action warns of a serious matter, which requires actual and practical commitment to the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all citizens under the Basic Law and the international legislation, foremost of which is the right to citizenship, dignity and equality in holding public office. Women have the right to hold public office and occupy senior positions of all levels.
Issued on 05/10/2017
MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
Shabab Al-Aqsa Society
The Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting
Hemaya Center for Human Rights
Palestinian General Union for People with Disability
Palestinian Working Women Society for Development
Qader for Community Development
Bena’ Society for Development and Empowerment
Zakher Association to develop the capacity of Palestinian women
The National Society for Democracy and Law
Brilliant Tomorrow Society
Rural Women’s Development Society
Childhood & Palestinian Family Services
The Palestinian Development Women Studies Association
The National Society for Rehabilitation
Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
Al-Ataa' Charitable Society