review of the current state of violations of
women's rights in
1996 Lebanon has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Despite this
ratification, an overall look on its true state of affairs,
legislation and the dealing of its public and private institutions
with women, shows the great amount of violations of women's rights.
The process of amending the Lebanese legislation regarding women to
bring it into conformity with the convention is far from being
General law including the constitutional, administrative and election
law complies with the principle of equality and thus with the
convention. In Lebanon the constitutional provisions are considered as
a security for the protection and respect of Human Rights and
constitute a fundamental legal support for women's rights in Lebanon.
most important Lebanese laws that are still discriminating against
women are those found in the sectors of the Private law. These legal
obstacles required the Lebanese government to make reservations on
article 9 paragraph 2 and article 16 paragraph 1 sections (c-d-f-g)
and article 29 paragraph 1 of CEDAW. Examples of such laws are the
Personal Status Law
2- The Nationality
3-The Penal Law
Labor and Social Security laws and the Employees' Laws
The Terrestrial Trade Law
The Personal Status Law
is a country of different religions; the confessional laws by virtue
of article 9 of the Lebanese constitution regulate the personal
status. The Lebanese law recognizes 18 confessions and grants the
authority to religious courts. Therefore the personal status law
depends on these various religion laws and not on one unified civil
law. The attempts to pass such an optional unified civil law collided
with the confessional reality.
is why we have various Personal status laws that regulate conjugal
relations and inheritance. These laws required making reservations on
article 16 of the convention and consequently, they discriminate
against women. Attempts to recommend a uniform civil law for personal
status were launched in 1974 and recently in 1994 an optional formula
was submitted to the government. The cabinet has ratified it after it
was presented by the president; however it was not submitted to the
parliament contradicting the legal rules. At present Ngo's are
drafting a civil optional bill that ensures equality between men and
do violations of women's rights in the personal status law occur?
reservations made on article 16 of the convention concerns personal
status, marriage and family all constitute violations of women's
rights. Part 1 paragraph (c) relevant to the equality between both
parents in rights and obligations in marriage. Paragraph (d) relevant
to the equality in the rights and obligations for mothers. Paragraph
(f) relevant to the equality concerning the children's guardianship,
custody, tutelage and adoption. Paragraph (g) concerning the personal
rights of the husband and wife. So Women's role is acknowledged only
in texts, however, in practice women are confined to their biological
functions. The Personal status laws threaten women with divorce,
homelessness and polygamy. Women are also subjected to the prevention
from compensation, children's custody and from inheritance.The
Personal status laws also encompass different degrees of domestic
violence against women.Violence in Lebanon remains without any legal
protection and expose women to disgrace in case of disclosure or talk.
Such laws still confirm the accessory role of women and allows various
forms of moral and physical violence against them. Such unfair
discrimination against women clearly appears in the law of divorce and
the impacts resulting from it. The consequences of divorce, seperation
or dissolution of marriage comprise many aspects of injustice towards
women.There aren't any measures set forth in such laws to prevent
The Nationality Law
Lebanese nationality law still discriminates against women and has
required the government to make reservations on article 9 paragraph 2
of CEDAW. This reservation regards the right of the Lebanese women to
grant the nationality to their children.
do violations of women's rights in the nationality law occur?
Lebanese nationality law restricts consanguinity to the father. Every
person born from a Lebanese father no matter where is deemed Lebanese.
Consequently, the Lebanese mothers can not grant their nationality to
their children and are deprived of their basic rights as citizens.
Lebanese nationality law also discriminates between mothers Lebanese
by origin and foreign naturalized mothers. Since this law entitles
foreign mothers who have acquired the Lebanese nationality the right
to give it to their children after the death of their father, while it
deprives this right from the Lebanese women by origin.
This law gives the Lebanese husband the right to give his Lebanese
nationality to his spouse, while it deprives this right from the
Lebanese women married to a foreigner.
Finally, this law constitutes a minimization of women's rights in the
case of their reacquiring the Lebanese nationality lost due to their
marriage to foreigners, because it is subject to the approval of the
The Penal Law
Lebanese Penal Law still includes some provisions that are considered
as violations of women's rights.
do violations of women's rights in the penal law occur?
562 of the Lebanese Penal Law still obviously discriminate against
women and constitute a clear violation to CEDAW; particularly to
Article 2 pargraph (g) that obliges state parties to repeal all
national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against
562 of the penal code on what is called "Crimes of Honor" is
of great discrimination against women. It was recently amended in 1999
but the amendment was not complete, it can be considered as a partial
one because it only amends the conditions of benefiting from the
article. The article still preserves the principle of killing women by
family men members and is incompatible with article 2 paragraph (g) of
the convention. Provisions concerning adultory crimes are also
discriminating against women. Domestic violence is a major type of
violence practiced against women. Our penal law does not protect women
from such violence. The penal law punishes those who commit any act of
harm in general, so it does not consider harm caused by violence
against women as a crime on its own . The Lebanese penal law still
lacks such specific provisions . Once more, the penal law doesn't
comprise special provisions concerning slander, defamation and
vilification incurred by married women.
Labor and Social Security Laws and the Employees' Laws
do violations of women's rights in the labor and social security laws
and the employees' laws and regulations occur?
became partners with men in assuming the responsibility of their
families and in building up society. Unfortunately, employees' laws
and regulations, in addition to procedure, are discriminating between
men and women employees through some of their articles. They also
prejudice women employees, especially in respect of equality and the
right to family allowances. Unlike men, women employees do not profit
from social security benefits and family compensation. Moreover, they
are not subject to the same conditions as men, although the Lebanese
government deducts, every month, from women employees' salaries the
same amount as from men's salaries in order to finance the cooperative
fund. Yet, judicial authorities apply the ILO covenants to the
advantage of women in this field.
october 30, 1999 law no. 149 was issued to ensure equality between
female and male employers but it turned out that this law still
discriminates against women because it is based on other
also still exists in the labor law although some amendments have been
brought about on it recently. Law no. 207 issued on may 26,2000,
amended articles 26-28-29 and 52 (1) of the labor law. One of this
laws amendments is that of article 28 and 29 concerning the maternity
leave period; the initially 40 days leave was extended to 49 days.
Nevertheless, the provisions of the labor law still discriminate
against women in a way or another. The Lebanese law did not give women
the freedom of choice regarding the types, place and timing of the
jobs performed by them until it was recently amendment under article
26. Furthermore, it does not punish the employers or their agents who
use their positions to sexually harass their female employees.
Moreover, the maternity leave period that was amended is still unfair;
it must be amended so that it shall be according to ILO laws and
CEDAW. Eventually, there is no equality concerning working hours and
salaries between men and women in Lebanon.
although the social security fund collects the same contribution from
insured working women and men, yet there are some articles of this law
that are contradictory to and incompatible with articles 2, 11, 12 and
13(a) of the convention and discriminate between men and women.
Furthermore, this law does not completely ensure human rights for
working women, especially with regard to pregnancy and maternity
The Terrestrial Trade Law:
appears in the terrestrial trade law, at least, in its provision
despite the fact that women are working the same as men, yet some
provisions, especially articles 625, 626, 627 and 628, still
discriminate between men and women. Parliament members passed a bill
to amend the terrestrial trade law and sent it to the Prime Minister
on May 31,1999 for examination and on August 17,1999 the government
approved the amendment of certain articles, namely articles 625 and
627, thus women became almost equal to men as far as bankruptcy is