Coalition of Women's Groups Call for Reform of Lebanon's Penal Code
Monday, July 25, 2005 10:00 AM

Revitalization of the women's movement in Lebanon has recently resulted in the formation of the Lebanese Women's Network, a coalition of civil society groups with a focus on women's rights. The Network is calling for reform of the penal code to eliminate the blatant discrimination against women. Representatives for the Network spoke out against the bias at the Lebanese Press Federation in an effort to raise awareness and stimulate legislative reform. They gave examples of the bias, including one penal code provision that allows men to kill their wives if they bring dishonor to the family and another that pardons men for rape or kidnapping if they marry the victim.

The penal code also provides for different punishments for the same crime, depending upon the sex of the offender. Mohammad Baalbakki, the head of the Lebanese Press Syndicate joined the network in the call for reform, saying that, "[b]oth genders have to be subjected to the same rules and have the same duties. We are through with ancient times where each of the sexes was given a different kind of treatment."

In the past, women's groups in Lebanon competed against each other. They now realize that working together strengthens their message and improves their potential for success.

Cited in:  Chahine, Jesse, "Women's Groups Call for Amendment of Penal Code," The Daily Star, 22 July 2005.