This statement has been prepared by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and its national partner organisation in Lebanon ABAAD. We recognise that Lebanon has been facing deep socio-political turmoil; yet, this is no justification for not adhering to its international obligations with respect to women’s rights.
Lebanon’s reservations to articles 9 and 16 of CEDAW are contrary to the objective and purpose of the convention, and discriminate against women in nationality laws and family life. The country’s many religious-based personal status laws perpetuate and institutionalise discrimination against women.
We are alarmed that Lebanon did not explicitly accept any of the recommendations by Member States neither on lifting its reservations to CEDAW nor on amending its discriminatory personal status laws.
We regret that no recommendations were made by Member States on Women, Peace and Security, although Lebanon is highly affected by the Syrian conflict. Lebanon has also failed to develop a National Action Plan for SCR1325. We therefore urge the government of Lebanon to develop one, in collaboration with civil society organisations working on gender equality.
As for the status of women’s political participation in Lebanon, it is appalling by global and international standards. Women hold only 3.1% of parliamentary seats, and the current cabinet lacks any women ministers. We commend that Lebanon adopts a gender quota by at least 33%, which must be combined with meaningful participation and stronger influence of women in the political arena.
That Lebanon currently hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world cannot be used as an excuse to justify why Syrian and Palestinian refugee women are facing an alarming number of human rights violations. The Lebanese government must ensure that all women, including refugee women and girls, are protected from gender-based violence and other abuses, and that they are able to seek redress from Lebanese authorities.