Saturday, July 30, 2011

Criminalizing violence against women in Lebanon

"Lebanon's parliament should adopt a draft law that would specifically criminalize violence against women, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, which would criminalize physical, mental, and sexual abuse, marital rape, and so-called honor crimes, was approved by the former Council of Ministers on April 6, 2010, and referred to a special parliamentary committee. It has remained there since May 2010, in part because the country was without a government for months.  In late June 2011, both Dar al-Fatwa, the country's highest Sunni Muslim authority, and the Higher Shi'a Islamic Council, said that they oppose the draft bill on the grounds that Islamic Sharia law protects the role and status of women and includes provisions governing legal issues related to the Muslim family. With a new government about to start acting on legislation, the debate over the draft bill has continued. A coalition of groups supporting the measure rejected their argument.   "All Lebanese women, like women everywhere in the world, have a right to be protected from abuse and violence, regardless of their religious affiliation," said Nadya Khalife, Middle East women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The clerics should be using their moral authority to condemn gender-based violence.""

PS Of course, I agree with all that and  call for the elimination of all religious laws but it would be nice to hear them HRW speak out in such forceful language against Israeli crimes.