Civil Personal Status Law Would Restore ‘Lebanon’s Personality’
‘Lebanon is without personality’, because the state is not carrying out its duties and playing its role in legislating a civil law to regulate the civil status of its citizens. A state that has no law has no sovereignty and the various religious communities inside it are the real authority. Also, the Lebanese state is violating what is stipulated in the preamble of its Constitution and its international commitments because, instead of passing a fair general law that equalizes between individuals in their rights and duties and brings them together under one modern law, it is strengthening social and sectarian divisions by subjecting citizens to 15 different sectarian laws, with the only common denominator of their backwardness, misogyny and discrimination against women.
It has been three years since KAFA launched the ‘Personal Status Law is Discordant’ campaign, which had aimed to desanctify the personal status laws in Lebanon and expose their flaws and human rights violations. The marriage of minors, which constitutes the biggest flaw in these laws, was the focal point of the campaign.
Today, we reiterate that the laws of sectarian courts are a form of violence, among many, which women are subjected to in Lebanon. And what we have recently witnessed as to the children who were taken away by force from their mothers as the result of custodianship lawsuits only highlights the backwardness of these sectarian laws which are unfair towards women and which do not take into consideration the children’s interest.
It has also become clear, from KAFA’s experience with the women who have visited the Support Center, that the main step towards ending discrimination against women lies in the adoption of a civil law for personal status that would enshrine full equality in all family-related affairs, seeing as without enshrining equality in this regard, the other reforms will remain minor and superficial without addressing the core and source of the problem that women are suffering from.
Therefore, it is necessary to find a balanced authority within the family, so that women can become partners instead of followers and so that the patriarchal authority can be replaced by parental authority in the civil status laws. How can a woman be active and participating in public affairs when she does not have authority over herself and her decisions, when she needs a custodian, when she is treated as being a minor and when she is forced to marry when she is a minor?
Our demand is aimed at continuing a journey we had started three years ago, a journey that requires patience but is not impossible, knowing that our experience with the law on the protection of women from domestic violence was a proof that the impossible can be achieved.