Coverage: UN Secretary-General visits One Stop Centre in Palestine to meet survivors of violence
Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2017
On his first mission to Israel and Palestine in his capacity as UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres visited the One Stop Centre in Palestine on Tuesday morning, 29 August, 2017. Established in April 2017 in Ramallah, the central town of West Bank, the One Stop Centre is a unique facility that provides comprehensive in-house services to women and juvenile survivors of gender-based violence, such as medical examination, legal consultation, psychosocial support, referral service to long-term shelters, and police protection, all under the same roof. Since its establishment, with the support of UN Women, UNDP and UNICEF, the centre has already assisted more than 400 women and juvenile survivors of violence.
During his visit, Mr. Guterres met with two beneficiaries of the One Stop Centre and learned about how the centre supported them. “It was not an easy decision to seek help, but the moment I entered the centre, I knew I was safe,” said Maya Saeed*, one of the beneficiaries. “I felt like I knew all the staff for a long time. They listened to my stories and helped me find the necessary help and filing a complaint against my abusive husband,” she added.
Ms. Saeed shared with the Secretary-General about the key challenges she experienced as a survivor of violence, including the long-term trauma, but also the hopes that she has about her future. The Secretary-General listened to the beneficiaries and learned about how survivors have been able to rebuild their lives with the help of the services provided by the One Stop Centre.
The Secretary-General also met Major General Hazem Atallah, the Chief of Palestinian Civil Police who warmly welcomed him with his staff. Mr. Guterres congratulated the Palestinian Civil Police and its UN partners for creating an impressive programme that helps to protect women and children by providing them a safe space, as well as critical legal and mediation services. He noted that not many countries have such programmes.
At the end of the visit, Secretary-General Guterres met with Hanan Kamar, UN Women’s Access to Justice Analyst, who presented him about the ongoing inter-agency effort by UN Women, UNDP, and UNICEF to ensure that all Palestinians have access to justice, security and protection, particularly the most disadvantaged groups such as women and girls. The One Stop Centre, administered by the Family and Juvenile Protection Unit of the Palestinian Civil Police, is supported by a joint programme of UN Women, UNDP, and UNICEF titled “Promoting the rule of law in the occupied Palestine territory” (locally known as “Sawasya”). The programme, generously funded by the Government of Netherlands, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU), aims to ensure that all Palestinians have access to justice, security and protection, particularly the most disadvantaged groups, including women and girls.