A Sharia court run by the ruling Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip ruled Monday that women need to request the permission of a male guardian, often her father and sometimes her own son, to travel, sparking an outcry from Palestinians and human rights groups ahead of planned elections later this year.
The sharia judicial council issued the ruling which stated “an unmarried female may be prevented from traveling if she did not obtain permission from her guardian.”
A permit for her travel would then need to be registered at the court.
“Her guardian may prevent her from traveling if there is absolute harm in her travel or if there is a lawsuit requiring a travel ban,” the council ruled.
It also ruled an adult male child may be prevented from traveling by one of his parents or his grandfather “if his travel could result in absolute harm.” However, in such a case the son would not be required to seek prior permission, and the relative would have to file a lawsuit to prevent his travel.
The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) slammed the ruling since it “violates the dignity of women.”
The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said the travel restrictions “clearly violate the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international conventions, as well as the right to travel.”
“The Supreme Council of the Sharia Judiciary should revoke the recent judicial circular since its provisions contradict the principles of the law and guaranteed right of the people to travel,” the group said in a statement.
“The ruling authorities in the Gaza Strip should ensure the application and respect for human rights principles and refrain from issuing discriminatory directives that violate relevant domestic and international laws.”
The ruling is not unlike the guardianship laws that were partially scrapped in Saudi Arabia last year.
Hassan al-Jojo, head of the Supreme Judicial Council, told The Associated Press the criticism surrounding the edict was no more than “artificial and unjustified noise” and the ruling was “balanced” and conducive to Islam.