Open Letter to President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad on Poverty in Palestine
National Coalition for the Global Call for Action against Poverty
Today as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza took a stand and spoke out to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the National Coalition for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty – Palestine (GCAP-P) issued an open letter to the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas and the appointed Prime Minister, Mr. Salaam Fayyad, as well as the Ministers for Labour, Planning, Social Affairs, Agriculture and Sports and Youth.
In the letter, GCAP-Palestine noted that the increased poverty faced today by the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation and the ongoing political turmoil in Palestine constitutes a form of “undeclared war”, which seeks to undermine the world-wide recognition of Palestinian achievements and capabilities.
GCAP-Palestine points out to the Palestinian President and appointed Prime Minister that more than two-thirds of Palestinian civilians are living in poverty, the majority of them in the Gaza Strip. In addition to the absence of the minimum level of social protection, there is a disconnection between the citizen’s social needs and the orientations of the Palestinian National Authority, which contributes to the poverty of the Palestinian people. As a result, Palestinian citizens are exposed socially and economically, not even enjoying a minimum level of social protection guaranteed by international law and/or Palestinian laws.
The letter to the President, appointed Prime Minister and Ministers draws to their attention that workers in the private sector are exposed to daily violations of the basic human, civil and democratic rights in the absence of social insurance in the case of job loss, injury, death or retirement. Workers currently also have no access to health care. It also notes that there are currently no laws in place to protect the unemployed and to grant them unemployed allowance. In addition, families, who lack sufficient income or have no breadwinner (including the elderly and poor families presided over by women) also lack appropriate social protection. Many students, both female and male, are also deprived from being able to obtain higher education due to poverty, as free education for all has not been implemented.
GCAP-Palestine presents the following demands to the President, the appointed Prime Minister and Ministers:
- The review of the tax system in favor of the lower-income, the criminalization of tax evasion and activating the National Authority in this regard.
- An end to the misuse of public money meant for the aid of the Palestinian people and call for activating the laws relating this issue, and the declaration of the investigations results of the abusers use of this money.
- Ensure the citizen’s complaints process instituted in 2005 is fully activated.
- Guarantee the right of retired workers to allocation and concessions due to them.
- The repeal of exclusion of laws relating to social insurance which ensure workers aren’t exposed to the violation of their rights by private enterprise.
- Implementation of a national system of health care, the improvement of health services and compulsory health insurance premiums and charges for the majority of the population.
- Free education for all in order to ensure higher education for the poor.
- Activate a national committee to ensure the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals
GCAP-Palestine met today with Ministers for Social Affairs, Youth and Sport and representatives from the Ministry of Labour and will meet with appointed Prime Minister Fayyad tomorrow.
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For more information contact: Dr Hamdi Al-Khawaya, GCAP-Palestine Co-ordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 00972 2295 2608 – ext 103