Lebanese laws discriminate against women, surprised much? I didn’t think so.
Human Rights Watch latest report reveal the inequality that women face in Lebanon due the the religion-based personal status laws.
Lebanon has 15 separate personal status laws for its recognized religions but no civil code covering issues such as divorce, property rights, or care of children. These laws are administered by autonomous religious courts with little or no government oversight, and often issue rulings that violate women’s human rights.
The report found that, across all religions, personal status laws erect greater barriers for women than men who wish to terminate unhappy or abusive marriages, initiate divorce proceedings, ensure their rights concerning their children after divorce, or secure pecuniary rights from a former spouse. The laws also violate children’s rights, most significantly the need to consider their best interests in all judicial decisions concerning their welfare.
Human Rights Watch’s report examines the following areas:
- Multiple Personal Status Laws
- Lack of Adequate State Oversight
- Unequal Divorce Laws
- Inadequate Protection from Domestic Violence
- Economic Marginalization
- An Unequal Equation: Maternal Custody and Paternal Guardianship
- International Human Rights Obligations
- Right to Equality during Marriage and upon Divorce
- Protection against Domestic Violence
- Care and Residence of Children according to the Child’s Best Interest
- Marital Property, Maintenance, and Alimony
The report also provides key recommendations and urges for a law reform, because the recent modest law improvements for the rights of children and women are insufficient to address systemic discrimination against women under personal status laws and before religious courts. However I don’t know how responsible the Lebanese government will be towards this report since after all, our Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad Machnouk, in a recent interview clearly stated that a civil marriage, which is a step towards a civil code, is not going to happen in Lebanon and that was kind enough to give us a lesson in geography, saying that Cyprus is really close, for those who wish to have a civil marriage.
On this note, check out LBCI’s Maytham Kassir brilliant response to Mr Machnouk.