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Towards Creative Change in Palestinian Education
Towards Creative Change in Palestinian Education
Success Story-Al-Dahireyyah
 
Human Rights& International Law Program
Success Story 
Project title:
Enhancing the National Education Sectors Role in Promoting Respect for IHL and IHRL in Palestine
Al-Dahirriyyah- Hebron District
2015

Al- Dahirriyyah is a Palestinian town in Hebron Governorate located 21 km south of Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank. Al- Dahirriyyah is bordered by As Samu' Town to the east, the villages of Rabud, Abu al 'Asja, Kurza, Al Bireh and Al Burj to the north, Ar Ramadin village to the west and the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) to the south. In 2007, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics PCBS estimated Al- Dahirriyyahs population at 28,560, of whom 14070 were females. In 2007, the results of the PCBSs Population, Housing and Establishment Census 2007 showed that Al- Dahirriyyahs illiteracy rate stood at 9.2% of the total population, with women constituting 71.6% of the total number of illiterates. 
The economy of Al-Dahirriyyah depends on various sectors. Approximately 50% of the work force of Al- Dahirriyyah are engaged in the Israeli labor market; 15% work in the governmental or private sector and 15% work in the agricultural sector. The remaining 20% work in trade and the commercial sector. Similar to the rest of Palestinian Territories under occupation, Al- Dahirriyyah continues to suffer from violations of the International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law. Perpetrators mainly include the Israeli Occupation, which deprives Palestinians there from an array of basic rights including the right to housing, the right to access to natural resources, the right to free movement and the rights to basic freedoms including the freedoms of speech, association and assembly; the PNA and the traditional unequal power relations that governs the society and mainly affect womens potential and the full attainment of their rights. One of the most widespread violations of Human Rights in Al- Dahirriyyah is womens right to inheritance. The prevalence of this violation in Al- Dahirriyyah is deeply rooted in the cultural beliefs and perceptions that view women as an inferior social component that should simply enjoy what the male component decide. 
During 2015, Al- Dahirriyyah Secondary Girl School took part in TCCs project Enhancing the National Education Sectors Role in Promoting Respect for IHRL and IHL in Palestine, which has been financed by the Human Rights & IHL Secretariat. 29 female 9th graders from this school received a training package in the IHRL/IHL and their co-applicability in the Palestinian context, documentation of and building integrated cases on violations of both international law regimes, UN tools and mechanisms and establishing individual and in-group complaints using the available UN complaint mechanisms and procedures including: HRs Council Complaint Procedure, Complaint Mechanism of the Special Procedures, Complaint Mechanisms via the Special Rapporteur and Treaty-based Complaint Procedures. The training package provided for the 29 girls also included the IHL/IHRL Civic Link technique, through which target youth get engaged in defining the violations that affect their communities most; contextualizing identified violations identifying root causes and impacts, determining right-holders and duty-bearers and investigating the international and local legal frameworks related to this violation; proposing several rights-based alternatives; voting for the most applicable alternative and engaging with various community stakeholders and the decision-making level to adopt and enact the proposed alternative. Following the training, target students chose womens right to inheritance as the most violated right in Al- Dahirriyyah. Two factors influenced students decision to select this violation. The first factor was Al- Dahirriyyah citizens feedback, which was obtained through a questionnaire that had been distributed among women and citizens there, while the second was students strong belief that the fulfillment of womens right to inheritance would positively influence their socio-economic and political empowerment. Results of the questionnaire can be summarized as follow:
Only 54% of respondents answered Yes when asked whether an inventory of the deceaseds estate is drawn up or not. 
In cases when an inventory of the deceaseds estate is drawn up, Only 35% of female respondents answered Yes when asked whether women in their families have gotten their legitimate share of the deceaseds estate or not, compared to 68% of male respondents who answered Yes.
77% of female respondents said that they would claim their legitimate share of the deceaseds estate
Only 29% of male respondents agreed that women heirs had obtained their legitimate share of the deceaseds estate in their families.
66% of female respondents said that they would seek the court to claim the legitimate share of the deceaseds estate.
Only 40% of female respondents said that they are aware of the local legal framework related to their right to inheritance.
 
Following, target students held several interviews with women and men from the town in an attempt to interpret the aforementioned results. They also met with a number of legal experts and lawyers to understand the legal challenges that impede women from accessing their right to inheritance. In so doing, they met with Mrs Intesar Seifan lawyer, Dr. Motaz Qfeisheh dean of faculty of law Hebron university, Mr. Mohammed Hamdan General Director of the Palestinian Institute for Human Rights and Eman Al-Battat a university student from the faculty of law- Hebron university.  They came up with the following conclusions:

A common view of shame and abashment prevents women from claiming their right to inheritance, forcing them to abandon their inheritance shares in most instances.
Women fear that their families will break off relations with them if they would claim their inheritance shares.
Most applicants for certification of succession are males who tend to take the initiative to apply for a certificate of succession more so than women.
Families often deny womens claim of the right to inheritance. Families react to these claims in various ways.
The majority of families do everything within their power to place pressure on women to discourage them claiming their right to inheritance.
Most families show unwillingness to transfer inherited properties to other families. So they exert pressures on their female daughters to abandon their inheritance shares. 
Unawareness state among women of the legal provisions and laws related to their right to inheritance exists.  
Explicit legal provisions are lacking so as to incriminate fraudulent practices or intimidation used to disinherit women. Legal deterrence is absent by a lack of severe penalties against men who deprive women of inheritance. Relevant legal provisions do not ensure womens access to their right of inheritance by force of the law.
Women are challenged by judicial and procedural challenges, including lengthy court procedures in inheritance cases. Complicated legal procedures take a long time to list the deceaseds estate and distribute inherited properties, shares and land between heirs. Also, women cannot afford high court fees, forcing many to abandon their right of inheritance and avoid this unduly complex and thorny process.

Thereafter, target students investigated the international legal framework related to womens right to inheritance as well as the related domestic laws and procedures in an attempt to verify whether this international framework is reflected in the domestic laws and legislations. In so doing, students reviewed a number of publications and met again with Dr. Motaz Qfeisheh dean of faculty of law Hebron University and Mr. Mohammed Hamdan General Director of the Palestinian Institute for Human Rights.
As a consequence of these reviews and meetings, students concluded that the local legislations, laws and policies dont respond totally to the relevant international conventions and treaties to which the PNA has actually acceded, mainly CEDAW.  

Later, students met to discuss what can be done by them as Human Rights activists to promote womens right to inheritance in their town. They decided to first form a female Human Rights Defender club. The decision to form this club arose from female students belief that the struggle to attain womens right to inheritance in their town would be long-term and needs to be sustainable, organized and effective. According to the students, the club will be tasked to raising womens awareness of the international and domestic legal and policy frameworks related to their right to inheritance; mobilizing various community stakeholders to promote this right and other womens rights; enacting the role of schools and education in promoting womens rights; distributing educational materials on womens right to inheritance; pressing the decision-making level to amend the domestic legal framework related to this right to become fully responsive to the international laws and treaties and to enact laws that incriminate fraudulent practices or intimidation used to disinherit women and making use of the available UN mechanisms and procedures to promote international solidarity with Palestinian women. 
Since its establishment in April 2015 the club has achieved the following:

Launching a school radio programme that was aired to the public through Al- Dahirriyyah Radio station. The programme hosted members of the club and other Human Rights activists from Al- Dahirriyyah town. The focus of this programme was on the local and international legal and policy frameworks related to womens right to inheritance. 
The club made use of the radio programme Arabesque, which is broadcasted by Al- Dahirriyyah Radio station, to promote Palestinian womens right to inheritance through reaching an agreement with this Radio station to devote an episode of the aforementioned programme to womens right to inheritance. The episode hosted Mrs Sali Allawi, the famous media activist. 
Organization of a workshop under the title: Womens Right to Inheritance- Challenges & Solutions. The workshop was held in the Chamber of Commerce and Industrys Hall in the Southern Hebron on Jun.16th of 2015 with the participation of a number of legal experts, media activists and lawyers including Dr. Nasser Dodeen, the lawyer Intesar Eseifan, Mr. Majid Abu Sharkh and Dr. Jalal Al-Majarzeh.
Coordination with the Young Mens Christian Association to provide a training workshop for another 30 students from the same school on womens right to inheritance. the workshop was organized on the 21st of May 2015
Holding a panel to introduce members of the Legislative Council to the local and international legal frameworks related to womens right to inheritance and the necessity to amend local legislations to become more responsive to the international law in this regard. The panel was organized on the 18th of August 2015.
Establishing and raising a complaint on the status of womens right to inheritance in Palestine via the HRs Council Complaint Procedure. 
Preparation of a Wall Magazine at school on womens right to inheritance and related topics.   

TCC will keep providing support for the newly-formed club. For instance, TCC intends to target members of this club through a training course on protection mechanisms for HRs Defenders including communication and digital security. Additionally, members of this club will be members of TCCs Shadow Assembly, which formation will be completed during the month of December 2015.