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Hamas allows Gaza parents, guardians to block dependents from traveling

Gaza parents and guardians have new powers to block adult children or dependents from traveling, the territory’s Hamas rulers say, in a decision condemned by rights groups.

The ruling allows “males over the age of 18 to be banned from traveling by court order based on the wishes of the father or grandfather, and bans virgin, widowed, or divorced women from traveling without permission from a guardian,” the decision says.

“One of the parents or the grandfather may prevent a male child over the age of 18 from traveling if genuine harm will result from the travel, by bringing a case at the relevant court,” it says, without elaborating on what constitutes “genuine harm.”

A Palestinian pushes vegetables in front of a shop displaying Valentine’s day decorations, in Gaza City, on February 14, 2021. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The decision, authored by the head of the Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Council in Gaza with immediate effect, was circulated in the Mediterranean enclave late Sunday, with no further explanation.

The secular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemns the edict as “a violation of basic Palestinian law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor says the measure is “a flagrant violation of the right to movement” and demands its immediate withdrawal.

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