On Tuesday 5 March 2013, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights was shocked by a press release issued by UNRWA announcing the cancellation of its third marathon in Gaza.
The marathon was planned in order to mobilize solidarity with the people in Gaza and encourage internationals to visit Gaza so that they can experience first-hand the tough lives of the Palestinians caused by Israel’s continuous violations and blockade of theGaza Strip.
Al Mezan is surprised by the reasons behind the UNRWA decision which according to their press release “follow[ed] discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate.
” In a letter sent to UNRWA, the Government in Gaza said that “[It] expresses its regret for UNRWA decision to cancel its marathon in Gaza.
The government asserts that it has given UNRWA its consent to organize the marathon with some regulations related to the Palestinian customs and traditions” (Translation is Al-Mezan’s).
Al Mezan strongly condemns the reasons which have led to the cancellation of marathon.
Al Mezan asserts that the Gaza Government is responsible for the implementation of the law and ensuring its respect at all times.
The management of the the authority’s institutions and the relations between individuals and the government should be conducted in accordance with law regardless of any other consideration or criteria.
In this regard, article 9 of the Basic Palestinian Law states that “Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary without distinction based on upon race, sex, color, religion, political views or disability.
” Article 10 of the same law asserts that “Basic human rights and liberties shall be protected and respected.
The Palestinian National Authority shall work without delay to become a party to regional and international declarations and covenants that protect human rights.
” Moreover, the Palestinian Basic Law asserts that personal freedom is a natural right, shall be guaranteed and may not be violated.
” The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its concern over any form of gender discrimination committed by the government.
Al Mezan calls on the government in Gaza to allow UNRWA to organize the marathon and remove all barriers that could hinder its organization.
Al Mezan calls on UNRWA to change its decision and to organize the marathon in its due time since it could contribute greatly to enhancing international solidarity with the Palestinian people.