Women - Discrimination and violence against women 

Women continued to be discriminated against and inadequately protected from violence in the family. Discriminatory practices were permitted under personal status laws, nationality laws and laws contained in the Penal Code relating to violence in the family.

In July, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommended that Lebanon withdraw its reservations to Articles 9 and 16 of the UN Women’s Convention concerning nationality and marriage rights and address inequalities which allow children to obtain Lebanese nationality only through their father and permit only men to divorce their spouse.

Testimonies : 

Rania Choueiri, a jewelry designer who owns her shop on trendy Monot Street, recounts her story of trying to open a bank account for her son, Karim.

“They asked me where is his father,” says Rania. “I asked why they need his father when I am his mother and want an account for my son. They told me that only the father could open the account. I couldn’t believe it.” “I can’t believe that Lebanese women carry their children for nine months and then the government and society tells us that we don’t have a right to it,” she adds.

Legal Framework, gaps and practices : 

Under Article 562, in the 1943 Lebanese Penal Code women, which is known as ‘honor crimes,’ discriminâtes against women because it allows men to kill female family members without punishment. Articles 503 to 522 are lenient towards marital rape and allow for a rapist to cover up his crime by mariage. Abused women can either seek justice from religious courts – thèse vary from one community to another and dépend on the person’s sect. – or pénal courts. In case of the latter, a victim can file an official complaint, but this is generally addressed to officers who are not trained for the task or who don’t take spousal abuse seriously. In addition, most women are financially dépendent on their spouse and don’t have the means to pay the légal costs incurred in a civil court. There are only a few shelters for victims of abuse in Lebanon but they mainly don’t take women with children. There is no législative text on combating violence against women in the context of the family and on protecting them.

Nationality law- The Lebanese law still prohibits the Lebanese woman, married to a foreigner, from passing her nationality to her husband and children. Whereas, men are able to pass their citizenship on to their foreign spouse one year after the mariage is registered. Critics of a new draft law presented to the Lebanese parliament recently say the exemption of Lebanese women married to Palestinian men is discriminatory.

Civil Status law- Marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance in Lebanon are still subject to the laws of different confessions and sects, which constiutes blatant discrimination by placing women in a postion of dependency. In the évent of a divorce the man gets custody of the children. The présence of multiple civil status laws and a civil code for personal status makes it difficult for civil society organizations to achieve women’s equality for a woman’s position Inside the family. As the mandatory custodian of the children, the father is the only one authorized to grant travel or open bank accounts for the children.

Labour law/Social Security- According to the Social Security Law and the Civil Servants Cooperative Law a married Lebanese man who works receives tax exemptions whereas a married woman does not. Lebanese men with children are given a family allowance by the state whereas a woman can only receive it if she is widowed or has a handicapped husband.

There continues to be a lack of governmental initiatives aimed at clearing laws of any texts that discriminate between sexes, which allows for the existence of discrimination between procédural laws and in the procès of their implémentation.