Latest News

Lebanon UPR Pre-session: WILPF and ABAAD Present to Advocate for Women’s Rights

13 October 2015

The second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Lebanon will be held on November 22015. The UPR is a mechanism through which the human rights record of each United Nations Member State is reviewed by all the other member states. During the UPR, UN Member States make recommendations to the State under Review on how to improve their human rights records. The State under Review then has to implement these recommendations before the next review. If you want to learn more about the UPR process, watch WILPF’s webinar on the Human Rights Council and the UPR.


WILPF systematically engages in pre-sessions to bring its expertise and to share it with various stakeholders in Geneva. Anthony Keedi from ABAAD (one of WILPF’s partner organisations) participated in this UPR pre-session with the support of WILPF to voice women’s concerns in Lebanon. Anthony emphasised that the recent peaceful protests of the Lebanese people show their desire for reform of the political system. States should thus make full use of this timely UPR review of Lebanon to make strong recommendations that can support change towards stronger human rights protection.


Firstly, ABAAD denounced Lebanon’s failure to fully comply with CEDAW as it has ratified this text with major reservations on Articles 9 (nationality), 16 (marriage and family life), and 29 (disputes under the Convention). These reservations continue to expose women to a legal system that is biased towards patriarchal ideals, for instance by depriving women from the right to give their nationality to their children or from the right to freely divorce their husbands. As such, ABAAD called on States to recommend Lebanon to withdraw its reservations on CEDAW.

In addition, a segregated, sectarian, confessional, and religiously regulated legal system (called personal status laws) exists in Lebanon. This places citizens under differentiated legal statuses depending on their religion. With approximately 15 different personal status systems all placed under the authority of male religious leaders and scholars, it is a system made by men, in which women have not decided for the laws that affect them. Women strongly suffer from the gender inequalities inherent to these laws, notably regarding marriage, divorce, custody rights, inheritance, wills or legal age of marriage. Hence, ABAAD urged Member States to recommend Lebanon to repeal personal status laws and to adopt a unified civil law, guaranteeing gender equality, compliant with the Constitution and with Lebanon’s international commitments under CEDAW.


ABAAD stressed that the statistics regarding political participation of women in Lebanon are appalling by international standards. ABAAD thus called on Member States to recommend Lebanon to promote policies encouraging the involvement of women in public life and in particular, to adopt women’s quota of at least 33% in both the legislative elections and in the cabinet in line with Lebanon’s obligations deriving from CEDAW.

Furthermore, Lebanon is to abide by the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and its sister document 1820. These documents aim not only to ensure specific measures are adopted to protect women from violence and discrimination in times of conflict, but also to enhance women’s participation in peace processes and politics. As of yet, Lebanon has failed to even organise a committee with the goal of developing a National Action Plan and a subsequent budget for UNSCR 1325. ABAAD hence strongly called on States to recommend the Lebanese Government to develop a National Action Plan implementing UNSCR 1325 with a subsequent budget and accountability plan, in full partnership with Lebanese CSOs working on gender equality.


Refugees in Lebanon face an overwhelming number of Human Rights violations as Lebanon currently hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. In this context, refugee women and girls are especially vulnerable.

Women and girls of the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon have fallen victim to unprecedented Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lebanon including, but not restricted to: forced labour, trafficking, sexual exploitation, early marriage, domestic violence, GBV in public spaces, sexual harassment, and lack of timely, gender-sensitive, and adequate health services and medical attention. ABAAD thus called on Member States to make recommendations to Lebanon acknowledging the vulnerabilities of refugee women and girls, ensuring that refugee camps have proper shelters that respond to women’s specific physical and health needs and ensuring equal access for refugees to health services.

Refugee women who are working are expected to pay for costs and fees related to social security without eligibility to benefit from the resulting services, they have no rights related to property in Lebanon, and they have no legal protection from domestic violence under the existing Lebanese Family Violence Law (number 293) should they reside within Palestinian refugee camps. ABAAD hence called on States to allow Palestinian refugees to enjoy full social security rights and to extend the Lebanese State’s procedural justice, to include refugee camps, in order to protect Palestinian refugees.

Lebanon must ensure that refugees on its soil are duly protected and afforded their human rights. Nonetheless, it is essential that all other States take responsibility in the refugee crisis and in helping Lebanon and Turkey welcome the largest proportion of asylum seekers.

WILPF and ABAAD will actively follow the outcome of the UPR session taking place on 2 November and will keep you updated. Note that you can watch the UPR session live online on 2 November on the website of the United Nations.

Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content