HOME Legal Encounters The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the Light of the Lockdown due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip

The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the Light of the Lockdown due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip

The Institute of Law (IOL) Organizes a legal encounter in Gaza on

“The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the Light of the Lockdown due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip.


Gaza – On Tuesday, the third of November 2020, the Institute of Law (IoL) of Birzeit University organised a legal encounter on “The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the light of the total ban due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip“. It was held in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Palestinian Territories. Mr, Samir Al Manaama lawyer from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Dr. Mohammed Nassar, Director of the Development Projects’ Department at the Ministry of Social Development in Gaza, had taken part in the presentation of the legal encounter via Zoom, with the participation of a group of lawyers, jurists and interested individuals.  

Then Mr. Samir Al Manaama had begun his address by talking about the difficult economic conditions in Gaza Strip, and the unprecedented deterioration due to what the world is currently experiencing from the spread of Corona pandemic, that has taken over the entire world, including Gaza Strip. In addition to other factors, which contributed to the deterioration of economic and social conditions in Gaza; the most important is the Palestinian political division for more than 13 years, and also the Israeli blockade


He added that the competent authorities had imposed a complete closure since the beginning of Corona pandemic’s spread last August in Gaza, and had closed all economic establishments, work centres and commercial markets. Tens of thousands of day labourers were suspended from work, which expanded marginalised group  categories, other than those recognised during normal circumstances, including women, children, people with limited income, people with disabilities, the elderly and the unemployed. He added that the new categories emerges as a result of the sudden closures and restrictions, imposed from time to time, and as a result of declaring a state of emergency in Palestine.


Lawyer Al Manaama had referred to the legal protection, which is provided by the Palestinian legislation and international human rights conventions for marginalised and vulnerable groups; as he emphasised on the necessity of harmonising these legislations with the obligations of emerging State of Palestine, when signing these agreements, after obtaining the status of a non-member observer state, at the United Nations in 2012.


Al Manaama had also indicated that the essence of protection, which is guaranteed by the national and international legal standards, is requiring to adopt policies and taking procedures that protect vulnerable groups from the danger of marginalisation, and to enable them to enjoy all the rights guaranteed to them, similar to other categories; whereas, in compliance with the constitutional and legal responsibilities entrusted to the public authorities. He also called to speed up the Palestinian political system’s building, and to make the relevant ministries, a subject to oversight and accountability, by elected legislative authority.


Al Manaama then proceeded to talk about the Ministry of Social Development’s tasks in the light of Corona pandemic, which, according to the Palestinian legal system, is entrusted with the tasks of providing protection and care for marginalised groups, as well as preparing development plans and programs that would remove those groups from the circle of poverty and marginalisation. Then he added that the Ministry had taken a set of procedures which focused on supporting the quarantine places, by providing relief aid. He added that this aid had expanded to those quarantined in their homes, after the spread of the epidemic on the 24th of August, and it focused on monetary and food aid.


Then Dr. Mohammad Nassar had discussed in his intervention some economic and social indicators before and after Corona pandemic crisis, and how this crisis affected those indicators. He talked about the indicators of poverty and unemployment, including what was mentioned in the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, issued in August 2020, as he indicated that 80% Gaza Strip people depend on international aid, which is constantly fluctuating, and that the World Bank and the Ministry of Social Development’s expectations indicate that the poverty rate after Corona pandemic will reach to 64% in Gaza Strip.


He also added that in the monetary assistance and food security’s indicator, the Ministry of Social Development’s data, is indicating that the number of beneficiaries of cash transfer program in the batch of July 2020, had reached to 115,000 Palestinian families; 80,000 are in Gaza Strip, and 35 thousand families are in the West Bank, and that in terms of food aid, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and the World Food Security Program are providing assistance to about 270,000 families in Gaza Strip. He pointed out that one of the main challenges which are facing the humanitarian sector was joining 65,000 families to the new poor circle.


At the end of the legal encounter, the discussion was opened, which included many interventions and recommendations. The most important is the need for the international community to assume its responsibilities in providing relief to the Palestinian territories’ residents, and for government agencies to initiate comprehensive development plans and measures. Also, the Palestinian legislator needs to adopt a modern law, to protect the marginalised groups, which aims to provide protection, care and development. In addition to the Palestinian government need to allocate sufficient resources and budgets, to enable the service ministries to carry out their tasks.