SUN 20 - 9 - 2020
Date: Jan 11, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Lebanon: Amendments to Law 293 to be examined
Emily Lewis| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The joint parliamentary committees Thursday formed a new subcommittee to examine proposed amendments to Lebanon’s Law 293, which aims to protect women and children from domestic violence.

In August 2017, women’s rights NGO KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation submitted proposed amendments to the 2014 law to Cabinet, which approved the application. However, KAFA’s Managing Director Zoya Rouhana told The Daily Star that the proposal has been “sitting in Cabinet’s drawers ever since,” perhaps, she said, due to opposition to the amendments from religious figures.

One of the amendments would see more people protected by the law. Its current iteration only covers abuse committed by family members, and KAFA would like to see protection from all forms of abuse, regardless of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. For example, the current law does not cover violence committed by ex-husbands, Rouhana said.

Other amendments would give more authority to the public prosecutor to take legal action and criminalize forcing a child to bear witness to violence.

The date for the debate on the new proposals has not yet been set. This falls to head of the National Defense, Interior and Municipalities Committee Samir Jisr, who will act as chair of the new subcommittee.

Beirut I MP Paula Yacoubian, who will be on the subcommittee and was among a group of 10 MPs who approved of the proposal after its approval by Cabinet, told The Daily Star that she hoped her fellow lawmakers will not undermine the hard work of NGOs and women’s rights activists who fought hard to realize the implementation of the law, saying she planned to advocate for KAFA’s amendments when the subcommittee meets.

Little progress was made during Thursday’s hourlong committee session, she said, because a lengthy debate on Lebanon joining the Arab Labor Organization’s 1976 agreement on female workers - which Yacoubian described as “archaic” - took up all the allotted time.

This convention, which the joint committees eventually dismissed, list a number of labor regulations for women working in the Arab world and includes clauses that forbid women from working at night or having “unethical jobs.”

Thursday also saw the formation of a second subcommittee, headed by MP Hussein Jashi, to debate a draft law on the settlement of building violations.

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