Joint committees approve the law to protect women...
On Monday July 22, 2013, the parliamentary joint committees in Lebanon approved the law to protect women from family violence, but under a new title: "The Bill for the Protection of Women and Family Members against Domestic Violence" .
"KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation" and the "National Coalition for Legislating the Protection of Women from Family Violence" welcomed this step, but expressed their concernsabout the amendments made to the law by a special parliamentary sub-committee, and which was approved by the joint committees, and asserted their perseverance in lobbying efforts to reach the sought-after results in the general assembly.
According to the version that was approved in the committees, the powers of the religious versus the criminal courts are clearly separated in article 22 (previously article 26 that was added by the Cabinet in 2010), a victory for the campaign, after months of advocacy. However, and despite the re-introduction of the crime of marital rape in the latest version of the law, it is still not explicitly criminalized as an assault by itself; rather it is the harm that accompanies it that is penalized. Moreover, and as indicated by the new version, minors do not profit from the protection order, unless they are still under the age of custody as set by the different religious laws. This article will make women more reluctant to report abuse because they may not be able to protect their children when they file for a protection order.
The national coalition will continue its efforts to introduce the required revisions to the law and most importantly keep it, and particularly the protection system, specific to women in order to preserve the core essence of the law and maintain its effectiveness.
The law was put as a first item on the agenda of the parliamentary joint committees on July 5, 2013, one day after KAFA held a press conference to launch the campaign "I haven't died, but many others have" with the presence of two women, Reem and Zeinab, survivors of murder attempts by their husbands. Reem and Zeinab gave their testimonies and addressed Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri demanding him to add the law on the parliament agenda as soon as possible. A parliament representative who attended the press conference raised her report to Berri, and the next day, we learned that the law was put on the agenda of the joint committees.