Press release on Palestinian women’s visit
Women in Camden – working with the human rights charity CADFA – are in the last stages of preparation now for the visit of twelve Palestinian women coming to Britain to take part in international Women’s Day events.
The visitors – students, teachers, representatives from women’s organisations in towns and villages across the West Bank – are getting ready to meet women here and exchange discussion about their lives.
The human rights charity CADFA, working with organisations across the country in its new project Building Hope | Voices from Palestine is working hard on the visas that will allow the women to fly to Britain on 9th March. “The current UK visa system is shameful,” says Nandita Dowson, Director of CADFA. “On the way to getting twelve visas, we have had seven refusals which we have had to battle hard – When it comes out right, as I think that it will, no one will know the number of hours that have gone into this, the mistakes that needed correcting, the extra money paid for extra applications…
“The whole time we are doing this I am remembering that Israeli settlers – living in some cases right next door to our visitors – don’t have to apply for visas to come to Britain at all. In its visa system, in fact, the UK is reproducing the divisions that Israel has imposed and which are not internationally accepted. If people live in the West Bank, they have to pay $129 for a passport application. In Jerusalem, which Israel has carved off from the West Bank (and this isn’t even accepted officially by Britain), they have to pay an extra £55 on top of that…
“In any case, we are really looking forward to the arrival of our women visitors and we are sure they will enjoy themselves in London and across Britain, and that everyone they meet will also learn a
Many of the Palestinian visitors have never left Palestine before. They are from a land of sunshineand olive trees but also bring with them the realities of life under Israeli military occupation. Formany of them it means taking for granted having military checkpoints between towns, huge military walls preventing them from moving freely or even living with their homes under direct threat of demolition owing to the pressure on Palestinians to leave Jerusalem to make way for new Israeli neighbourhoods.
CADFA has been organising visits of Palestinians to Camden since 2005 (apart from the Covid years) and is now working with organisations across the country in the Building Hope | Voices from Palestine project which aims to help people to hear about the human rights situation in Palestine, rarely properly explained by the media, from Palestinian people themselves.In Camden, the women will be taking part in an International Women’s Day event at Calthorpe Community Gardens in King’s Cross on 10th March and two evening events at Café Palestina in Kentish Town. There will be an opportunity to share skills, enjoy food together and also to hear about the visitors’ lives in Palestine. Local organisations are welcome to join these activities or invite the women to join their own.
Photographs of previous women’s visits can be supplied.
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