Date : 19 Feb 2021
A statement to the public
International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights “ICSPR” condemns the issuance of a Judicial circular by the Supreme Council of the Sharia Judiciary in Gaza on 10/2/2021, which came into effect on Sunday 14/2/2021.
The circular prevents Palestinian citizens from traveling without permission. This circular is contrary to the provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law in particular Article No. (11) thereof, which stipulates that “No one shall be arrested, searched, imprisoned, or his/her freedom be restricted in any way, or prevented from moving except by a judicial order”.
It also violated cases of travel bans in accordance with the provisions of the Civil and Commercial Procedures Code, as well as contrary to the international conventions which Palestine joined.
This circular imposes restrictions on citizens’ freedom of movement, freedom to travel, learn about new cultures and acquire life skills, and is considered a restriction on human rights.
Likewise, Article (3) of this circular, which stipulates that “it is permissible for one of the parents and grandfather (father-side) to prevent the youth who is over eighteen from traveling if his travel results in pure harm …”, this text has no legal justification and contrary to the provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law, in which it is stated that a person upon reaching the age of 18 is considered fully competent, and that is confirmed by the provisions of Islamic Sharia law.
This circular would spread discrimination between citizens on the basis of gender, as it was stated in Article (4) “it is forbidden for an unmarried female to travel, whether she is a virgin or not, except with permission from her guardian and her guardian shall prevent her if there is pure harm in her travel …”. This article is considered discrimination based on gender, which is a basic form of gender-based violence, and it is contrary to the provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law, and a violation of the provisions of the Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Furthermore, the Supreme Council of the Sharia Judiciary did not clarify the types of pure harm that were stipulated in the aforementioned circular, rather that it is not within its jurisdiction to issue such a circular, the council put itself as a judicial body, while the Council is an administrative body entrusted with organizing the administration of the judicial facility, while the issuance of travel ban decisions is the jurisdiction of the judiciary. Therefore:
- ICSPR calls upon the Supreme Council of the Sharia Judiciary in Gaza to immediately withdraw this circular.
- ICSPR demands all concerned authorities and Palestinian official institutions not to implement this circular due to its lack of constitutional and judicial legitimacy and the effects it cause that would restrict public freedoms and freedom of movement.