Lebanon: Protesters Rally for Domestic Violence Legislation

On Saturday, March 8, an estimated 5,000 women, men, and children gathered in Beirut, Lebanon to protest Lebanon’s lack of legislation against domestic violence. The rally was held on International Women’s Day and led by relatives of Lebanese domestic violence victims. Although Lebanon is considered to be one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East, the country has no law against domestic violence and the Lebanese government does not collect official statistics on the prevalence of domestic abuse. However, advocates state an average of one woman is killed by her husband every month, in addition to the countless women who are emotionally and physically harmed by their intimate partners every day.
Members of a legislative committee approved a law to prevent domestic violence last year, but the Lebanese parliament has not yet passed it. According to the general rapporteur of Lebanon’s parliamentary committee on human rights, Ghassan Moukheiber, this is because Lebanon’s regular parliament resigned in March of 2013, and a “caretaker parliament” was in power until February of this year. However, Moukheiber is confident that once the official parliament meets again, the law will be passed. Moukheiber said he “look[s] forward for the voting of this bill because it is going to be a very important and meaningful step toward stopping all sorts of violence against women and other members of the family that could be subject to violence."