Lebanon passes contested domestic violence laws

"You didn't vote for us, we won't vote for you".

“You didn’t vote for us, we won’t vote for you”.

Last week, Lebanon’s parliament passed its first ever specific legislation against domestic violence. But whilst the law introduces a framework for protection, activists argue that it does not go far enough.

A release by Human Rights Watch found that the legislation’s narrow definition of domestic violence leaves Lebanese women facing significant risk of harm, as some forms of abuse remain unacknowledged.

Originally drafted seven years ago by Lebanese non-profit organisation KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), the bill was redrafted several times to remove all references to forced marriage and the criminalisation of marital rape. The name of the bill was also changed, now referring to violence against the family as opposed to violence against women.

Women’s rights organisations like KAFA have indicated that they will continue lobbying the Lebanese government to amend the Law on Protection of Women and Family Members from Domestic Violence until it offers the adequate protection that was originally intended.

Meanwhile, activists mobilised on social media with the hashtag #NoLawNoVote, a reminder to Lebanon’s politicians of their people’s voting power.

 Deanna Hadid speaks to KAFA spokesperson, Maya Ammar, on the issue.

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