WED 22 - 5 - 2019
Feb 5, 2019
The Daily Star
Committee talks domestic violence law
BEIRUT: The Lebanese Parliament’s human rights committee met Monday to discuss the implementation of, and potential amendments to, the country’s domestic violence law.
The meeting was held in conjunction with Westminster Foundation for Democracy, a U.K.-based public body set up to promote democratic institutions around the world.
Along with the foundation and committee members, the meeting was attended by Claudine Aoun Roukoz, president of the National Commission for Lebanese Women; Lebanese University professor Marguerite Helou; and by staff from the Labor and Social Affairs ministries, and representatives of NGOs focused on the issue of domestic violence, including KAFA and ABAAD, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Lebanon’s first domestic violence law was adopted in 2014. Last November, a group of lawmakers submitted proposed amendments to strengthen the law, including revising the definitions of “family” and “domestic violence” to provide broader protections. For instance, the proposed amendment would expand the law to include divorced couples in the definition of family so that the law would apply to acts of violence committed by ex-spouses.
Amal Movement MP Michel Musa, chair of the Human Rights Committee and one of the sponsors of the amendment, said that the aim of Monday’s meeting was to “highlight the role played by the Parliament in monitoring the implementation of this law and the challenges that prevent it from being implemented in an effective manner that will lead to the desired purpose of protecting family members, especially the most vulnerable.”
Helou outlined the progress that has been made in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Arab world with respect to legal protections for women, according to NNA, but said that challenges remain to implementation of the law including a “lack of serious political administration in dealing with women’s issues and the sectarian pressures on the legislative process in all matters.” She also noted that Lebanon has placed reservations on its ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women with regards to sections dealing with nationality, marriage and family life.
Advocates have blamed Lebanon’s myriad religion-based personal-status laws for blocking progress on women’s rights, but Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Musawi argued that religious authorities should play an important role in tackling violence against women.
“The issue of violence cannot be checked through legislation only,” he said, noting “the importance of the cultural factor, especially in a society such as the Lebanese society, which is sectarian.”
The joint parliamentary committees last month formed a new subcommittee to study proposed amendments to the law.
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