Parliament Adopts Domestic Violence Law, Activists Criticize it

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

A controversial draft-law on domestic violence was approved by the parliament on Tuesday, although it did not meet the expectations of activists supporting the cause.

The draft-law on the protection of women against domestic violence was one of the 70 items on the agenda of a three-day parliamentary session.

Change and Reform MP Ghassan Moukheiber, who played a key role in lobbying for the law, told Agence France Presse: "It is a big step forward in protecting women, we should be proud."

"We now have a law that provides effective protection for women ...

"It's not the ideal text, but it's a first step," Moukheiber said, while stressing that the law must now be enforced.

Earlier, KAFA, a non-governmental organization that supports non-discrimination, gender equality, and women's rights within the Lebanese society, held a protest near the building of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in downtown Beirut to press MPs to adopt the draft-law with amendments introduced to it.

The protesters chanted slogans against domestic violence and held banners calling for the non-adoption of a “distorted law.”

But a KAFA spokesperson told TV stations that the NGO was not satisfied with the law.

KAFA was calling for parliament's approval of amendments introduced to it. But MPs adopted the proposed draft-law without changes.

“This is not an achievement for the Lebanese woman because it does not guarantee her full protection,” Maya Ammar, the spokeswoman, said.

Layla Awada, a lawyer from KAFA, called the adoption of the law a “farce.”

Speaker Nabih Berri did not allow any MP to make remarks at the legislative session in collaboration with the lawmakers, she said.

“This is a punishment,” she added.

Awada promised to propose amendments to the law and work on putting it back on parliament's agenda.

Meanwhile, for the NGO's Faten Abu Shakra, who led the campaign, the law "does not specifically focus on women."

She opposed the introduction "by religious men of religious language" into the bill, which fails to specifically refer to marital rape as a crime.

It criminalizes causing "harm", including "beatings" and "threats", to obtain sex, but the term "conjugal right" is used without mention of consent.

Moukheiber said the term aimed to appease Lebanon's powerful clerics, who had been opposed to the bill outright.

According to Rothna Begum of Human Rights Watch, the law is "a positive step forward in ensuring protection for women from domestic violence."

She told AFP: "It includes positive steps such as providing for restraining orders against abusers; temporary accommodation for the survivors of abuse."

The law also "assigns a public prosecutor in each of Lebanon's six governorates to receive complaints and investigate cases of violence; and establishes specialized family violence units within Lebanon's domestic police to process complaints."

But "parliament should seek to urgently reform this new law if it is to ensure women full protection from domestic violence including criminalizing marital rape."

The law passed after a KAFA-led campaign which saw thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Beirut on March 8, International Women's Day.

Several Lebanese women have been killed in recent domestic violence cases which have led to a large-scale condemnation on social media.

The Lebanese Forces parliamentary bloc later issued a statement voicing some reservations over the approval of the draft-law, suggesting the inclusion of a few amendments.

It said that the name of the law should be stated as the protection of women from domestic violence, seeing as the draft-law was initially written with the goal of protecting women.

“Any change in the title would make it seem as the law was aimed at protecting the family from domestic violence, which consequently ignores the bitter reality” that women are facing, it remarked in a statement.

In addition, it said that women subject to domestic violence should be able to resort to the General Prosecution or police stations should they seek to report a case.

The General Prosecution is the quickest and least costly resort for the women, explained the LF bloc.

It also addressed the case of marital rape, stressing the need to designate such incidents as crimes, not giving them legal descriptions that apply to laws on beatings and threats.

It therefore demanded the rephrasing of the draft-law's article on cases of marital rape.

The bloc rejected the use of “the term 'fulfilling marital sexual rights' because obtaining such rights through violence, threats, or deception is a form of rape and a violation of human dignity.”

It criticized how the draft-law did not explicitly mention marital rape, saying that the current phrasing “only emphasizes such acts and justifies violence in marriage.”



Comments 10
Thumb ex-fpm 01 April 2014, 14:12

Speaker Nabih Berri did not allow any MP to make remarks at the legislative session in collaboration with the lawmakers, she said.

who expected otherwise from Berri:(

Thumb bronco 01 April 2014, 16:55

that tells me that Berri is guilty of being a wife beater himself,so he wouldn't like to draw attention to the subject

Thumb -phoenix1 01 April 2014, 16:18

This law falls well short of what it was originally intended for. It definitely comes as a real disapointment for everyone who expected to end this terrible situation over our women and girls. As usual, the sectarian sector will influence heavily such decisions as would some other political sectors. In many ways, it's like telling politicians to show their assets before and after taking a government post. Few are legal anyway. I hope that this law will be rectified to encompass real justice, and not simply an abberation of it. Truly shameful.

Thumb geha 01 April 2014, 16:37

these retard MPs think they will stop women from demanding their rights to be protected :)

after so many years of working for a good law, they give them back an empty law.

pathetic stupid behavior.

Default-user-icon hanoun (Guest) 01 April 2014, 16:42

the best law for all our social problems is to turn Lebanon to a secular country and all aspects of social life will be judged by law not by religion

Thumb ado.australia 01 April 2014, 17:35

It's a start, which is always a good thing. But I must agree with the LF position." The bloc rejected the use of “the term 'fulfilling marital sexual rights'. Why would this sentence be included in a law? Does every married woman under Lebanese law, must have sex with their husband anytime he wants it? This is a shameful. No one should be forced to have sex with anyone if they don't want it. Married or not... Get divorced if your wife wont have sex. No other way to explain it but approving "rape".

Missing peace 02 April 2014, 00:04

"Get divorced if your wife wont have sex."
not that easy in mascists countries like lebanon... a man would never accept that his wife disobeys him, he would look like a sissy in front of his friends...and he is fully covered by religious people of his sect!

Default-user-icon Zeina (Guest) 01 April 2014, 22:32

The real cannibals are all of the above:
Mustaqbal, LF, Kataeb, FPM, HA, and Amal, who did not leave the room (like they've done so many times when they really believed in the cause or it benefited them) and stopped the session when Berri refused to discuss the changes.

Missing peace 02 April 2014, 00:01

too much religious pressure to protect women... if they pass this law it would open a door to other civil laws and we all know the the family laws are under the control of retarded religious people....

Thumb -phoenix1 02 April 2014, 13:01

Pales in comparison to your many aliases ya Bani Maarouf, aka Ibinharathreik, aka, Sit Bani Zeinab, aka as the fake FD or better known as Walid Jumblat. Grow up!!