UN Women, the United Nations’ organization for women’s rights, is “seriously concerned” by rising rates of violence against women, including “honor” killings in the West Bank, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
A UN statement highlighted the Palestinian Authority’s recent endorsement of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
“The Palestinian government has demonstrated a political will to end violence against women through the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy on violence against women,” the statement said.
However, the UN group said that “political will must be translated into urgent concrete action.”
Some activists said the rise in “honor” killings indicates social and economic problems are mounting in the West Bank.
Palestinian female participation in the labor force stands at 17 percent, a figure the World Bank called “abysmally low,” noting that employers appeared to favor men, among whom joblessness was almost a third lower in 2013.
Palestinian media occasionally reports the discoveries of women’s bodies in what are called “hazy circumstances” – a euphemism for “honor” killings. Names are concealed and the news is rarely followed up.
A 2013 study estimated an average of 15 to 20 “honor” killings occur every year in Jordan, a country with a population of around 6.3 million, compared to around 4 million in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Reuters contributed to this report.