National Commission for Lebanese Women Lebanon

To the MPs of Lebanon: So that the step is not incompletely achieved, we demand efficient protection of women victims of domestic violence and their minor children in the amendments brought to the law on domestic violence. In light of the high incidence of domestic violence during the lockdown period, and after Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, discussed with Deputy House Speaker Elie Ferzli the need to include the proposal to amend the ‘Protection of Women and Family Members from Domestic Violence’ law on the agenda of the joint committees to be voted on before submitting it to the General Assembly for approval, the National Commission urges the MPs to speed up the adoption of these amendments to ensure the protection of domestic violence victims and their children, and to curb the increase in domestic violence crimes that our society is witnessing today. The National Commission had suggested amendments to the law in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and KAFA Association and submitted them to Parliament in 2018. In this context, we commend the parliamentary sub-committee for adopting a significant number of these amendments given their positive impact in ensuring the rights of women and other family members who are victims of domestic violence. But the National Commission considers that the omission of some of these amendments will have negative repercussions on the fight against violence and on ensuring legal protection for victims of domestic violence and their children, and will exacerbate discrimination between Lebanese men and women according to their religion. Therefore, in order to have a complete achievement in the amendments brought to the law on domestic violence, the National Commission for Women stresses the following: -The need to amend articles 12 and 14 of law 293/2014 in order to protect the victim and her minor children and remove them from home, without linking the age of children subject to the protection order and the removal from home to the age of custody, especially that the protection decision is temporary, and aims only at protecting children from violence and not at amending custody provisions that remain under the jurisdiction of the competent religious courts. Moreover, the age of custody, which varies from one sect to another, will lead to discrimination between Lebanese children according to their religion, and will be harmful to the mental and physical health of children above the age of custody, should they continue to live with the violence, since linking the issue of their protection and removal from home by proving that they are at risk may require lengthy judicial proceedings. Article 18 of the said law must be amended to provide for an incarceration sentence of more than one year for those who violate the protection order, to enable the Public Prosecutor’s Office to arrest him, as it may not suspend a person who does not exceed the penalty for the offence committed by a year of imprisonment. Article 20 of the law, which gives the Court the power to compel the perpetrator of domestic violence to undergo rehabilitation sessions, should be amended in order to grant this prerogative to prosecutors and investigating judges, since the danger posed by the perpetrator may require quick intervention in order to subject him to rehabilitation to calm his violent tendencies. The need to amend article 3 of the law, in order to abolish the offence of adultery under articles 487, 488 and 489 of the Penal Code, because despite the fact that adultery is illegal and exposes the marital relationship to the risk of divorce, separation or otherwise, it still does not require a penalty. The National Commission for Lebanese Women relies on the crucial role of the Parliament to prevent and redress women and citizens from violence by adopting fair laws that sanction and rehabilitate offenders in order to reintegrate them into society and efficiently protect victims. 

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