A brief review and presentation on the major NGOs mobilized
for the advancement of women's rights in Lebanon

The most effective mechanism that protects women's rights in Lebanon at the present moment, is that of the national level.This sector has played the major role in the incitement to ratify the CEDAW convention and the follow up of its enforcement. NGOs have made voluntary, continuos and hard efforts to abolish discrimination against women and expanding awareness among the population. NGOs work towards protecting, rehabilitating and assisting Lebanese women. More than three thousand NGOs are working at the present time in Lebanon. Some of which are directly concerned with women's issues, while others include some programs about women in their work. The participation of NGOs is mostly reliable. We shall only mention the names of some women's and human rights organizations that are the most concerned in ratifying and implementing the convention:

1. Women NGOs that are directly involved with women's rights in Lebanon

2. Women NGOs that are not directly involved with women's rights in Lebanon

Many of the above mentioned organizations prepare draft laws and submit them to the parliament in order to be passed. Up till now they have succeeded in amending many laws that were discriminating against women. NGOs monitor the implementation of the CEDAW convention and prepare shadow reports on it. They also organize various conferences, training sessions and studies on women's rights.

1. Women NGOs that are directly involved with women's rights in Lebanon

The Lebanese Women's Council:

The Lebanese women's council is an umbrella organization founded in 1952. It includes more than 140 Lebanese NGO dedicated to women's rights and human rights in general. The main objective of the Council is raising the awareness of the Lebanese society of women's capacity and her role in the development process. In addition to working on many programs to implement the UN's instruments in Lebanon and especially the CEDAW convention in order to lift the reservations made by the Lebanese government. The council also works for women's rights in the field of politics, work, environment, education, health, family violence, legislation and many others in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination against her. The Council is a member in many local and international organizations. It participated in the Beijing conference and drafted the NGO report on the progress made after the conference along with other NGOs and United Nations agencies. The Council also participated in the first official national report on the CEDAW convention.

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The Non-Governmental National Committee For The follow-up of Women's Issues (Post Beijing):

The National Committee was established in 1996 following the Beijing conference. It aims at coordinating a network of various non-governmental organizations dealing with women's affairs in order to promote women's participation in social, political and economic fields and to abolish discrimination against her. The committee encourages women to exercise their rights and participate in the decision-making process. The committee participated with the Women's Council in drafting the national report on the Beijing conference; and drafting of a shadow report on the progress made in implementing the CEDAW convention.

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The Lebanese Council To Resist Violence Against Women:

In 1997, as a response to the alarming rate of violent acts against women, LCRVAW was established. Its goal is to carry the concept of violence from private to public awareness. They work on disseminating information about this phenomenon in the Lebanese society. They also provide free legal aid, counseling and support to victims of violence. The Council contributed to the establishment of the Permanent Arab Court To Resist Violence Against Women- Headquarters in women's court.

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The Permanent Arab Court To Resist Violence Against Women- Headquarters in Lebanon:

The Women's Court or the Permanent Arab Court to Resist Violence Against women is a symbolic popular court that aims at fighting all kinds of violence against women (physical, political, juridical…) practiced against women in the Arab societies. It was established in December 1996 in Morocco and is located now in Lebanon. Together with the Lebanese Council to Resist Violence against Women, the court works on transferring the issue of violence against women from being a personal issue into a public concern. It also exerts pressure on Arab governments and ngos in order to take measures to protect and support women victims of violence.

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The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering:

Founded in 1976, this organization is a member of the Lebanese women's council, the Union of Arab Women "Aicha" and the "Network of Arab NGOs for Development". It collaborates with other Arab democratic women's associations for the freedom of women. Their main objective is to activate women's participation in the economic, social and political fields. It also supports women victims of violence and offers them support and legal,moral, and social aid. The Democratic Gathering seeks to implement all clauses of international treaties in order to secure the abolition of injustice towards women in the laws concerning personal status- citizenship- sentences- social welfare- work. The gathering has also created a developing healthcare center that caters to 150 patients monthly. It also works for women's education and provides literacy courses.

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Association Dar el Amal:

Founded in 1970, this associations works to prevent women's and child's delinquency and deviation. Their target groups are women from different ages. A specialized prevention program has been made to young girls at risk aged between 12 and 18. Such programs provide young girls with social problems with help and families follow up. In addition the association has programs on the rehabilitation and reinsertion in the society of girls victims of prostitution in its special centers. They also work inside prisons and offer social rehabilitation sessions and vocational training to women prisoners.

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The Working Women League in Lebanon:

It was founded in 1994; its main goal is to improve women's rights in the field of work and syndicates unions. It has established with some volunteer lawyers a free legal consulting office with hotlines to resolve women work problems. The League also supports women in gaining cases concerning social benefits, and personal status cases. It has many new projects for the year 2000 in different Lebanese areas; such as workshops on education, agricultural production, economic development and many others.

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League of Lebanese Woman's Rights:

It was founded in 1970, and aims at defending women's rights in all Lebanon including the rural areas. The League includes many organizations from all over Lebanon. In March 1999, it created the "national meeting to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women". This meeting seeks to implement the principales stated in the Lebanese Constitution and in the CEDAW convention. It also works on the amendments of the Lebanese laws that are still discriminating against women. It also promotes the optional civil law to regulate the personal status affairs. It has made many attempts with the government and the Chamber of Deputies to amend the laws unfair to women.

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2. Other NGOs that are not directly involved with women's rights but have included women issues in many of their programs

Name of NGO Topics
The Lebanese Association For Human Rights

Implementing all human rights instruments. Studies on: personal status law- penal law concerning Crimes of Honor-education-refugees.

René Moawad Foundation

Women rights in public and political life literacy and vocational training for women in rural areas. Projects and training on gender, public health, democracy, and particularly agricultural development.

Imam Al Sader Foundation

Increasing women's participation in the development process. Improving her access to education, culture, health and work Women and child's welfare projects. Health and social services in mother and child care centers.

Joseph and Laure Mogaizel Foundation

A long history of struggle for women's righs. It is a Foundation for democracy and human rights. Many studies and books on women, especially violence against women, crimes of honor, and women light and CEDAW .

Dar el Sadaka-The Friendship Home

Child's and women's education, shelter and social and cultural awareness. Family support programs.

The Lebanese Family Planning Association

Chosen to be the national focal point for Lebanese NGOs in the preparation for the Civil Forum( ICPD+5). Works on women and family health and protects and promotes awareness in the field of reproductive health. Conferences on gender and reproductive health. Supports women in social and economic development. Also works to support rural women.