Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2011

Hakki met…. Do you know hakki?

A handful of  protesters, met today at noon thirty in front of the general directorate of the Lebanese ministry of health…. they were chanting: “Hakki met hakki met… ala bweb el mestachfetyet“…

Protest in of the General directorate of the Ministry of Health in Lebanon ( old building on the left)

The general directorate is an old building near the Lebanese university, and the Museum square;  The offices can easily get unnoticed, there are just 2 small signs on the balcony of the directorate;

The protesters are those who prepared the “hakki 3layi” campaign, my colleagues of CRTD.A joined them, especially the ACGEN team ( the one who launched the campaign for health and education for all);

The protestors voiced out their frustration with the health care system in Lebanon : there is No health care system in Lebanon;

“Hakki met hakki met”…. 3ala bweb el moustachfayet”  Hakki is the arabic word of my right, and the protesters were chanting : ” my right is dead my right is dead… at the doors of hospitals”

The protesters chanted their demands, while standing near the “dummy” dead skeleton of Lebanese people who died because they were not allowed to be hospitalized ;

Protesters demanding a complete health strategy covering all lebanese

Yes, in Lebanon if an individual doesn’t have a proper health private insurance, or is rich enough to pay the hospitalization fees, it is very difficult to be admitted in the urgency;

As the slogans shows: the protesters highlighted the importance of health, the problem that many Lebanese have: they are indebted because of the health services they want; or they go to their political leader, and ask him ( usually he is a him) for a recommendation, and that causes the problem of “clientelism” in Lebanon;

One of the slogans that caught my eye was: your political leader is not your doctor…

za3imak mannou tabibak... Your political leader is not your doctor

The demands of the protesters were clear: the economical situation Lebanon is witnessing, is because of years of bad economical policies and strategies;

The protesters distributed a pamphlet were they explain that is it unacceptable to have more than 50% of Lebanese citizens without free health care, and it is unacceptable to have people dying because they were not admitted in the Lebanese hospitals ….

Lebanese people are not begging, they Want their rights!…

The minister of health Ali Hajj Hassan came down, and addressed the protesters,

He highlighted the fact that their demands are legitimate, and the Health should be a Right to all,

when the protesters said that they don’t have faith and confidence in him, and he is taking too much time to finish his health strategy,

he answered that with the governemnt, he was searching on how he can make sure that the taxation system can be more fair, how he can cover up the health expenses,

and he promised them to work asap on finishing the strategy for a health care for all, and submit it to the parliament for voting,

Lebanese health minister ALi hajj hassan hearing the protesters demands

Minister Ali Hajj Hassan addressing the protesters and promising to finish the policy offering free health care to all Lebanese

while waiting for the policy to change,

I hope that the Lebanese people take good care of themselves, specially with the bad weather Lebanon is witnessing,  they shouldn’t be sick, sickness is expensive in Lebanon, Very expensive.

Rita a Lebanese citizen, that is not insured, and hoping that the state of law will cover her or her family sicknesses ( la samaha allah)!

some pictures taken during the event:

One of the protesters adressing the people on the balcony of the ministry of health, asking them to come down and hear the screams of the lebanese

I don't have social security... I am an irregular worker

Minister Ali Hajj Hassan addressing the protesters

Demands of the collective action " a minute of death" in front of the ministry of health in lebanon

gathered around the skeleton representing lebanese who died because of the lack of health care

The money is spent for clientelism....

Collective action: skeleton on the side walks of the lebanese roads

Read Full Post »

A short story by Taghrid el Azza written for the Women news agency: http://wonews.net/ar/index.php?act=post&id=1401

تبدو قصتي غريبة بعض الشيء لكنها تستحوذ على ذاكرتي،حين دقت الساعة الرابعة مساءً حان وقت العودة الى البيت بعد يوم عمل طويل ومرهق، خطر ببالي أن اتمشى في مدينتي التي تتزين  لأعياد الميلاد، كأنها مرسومة كلوحة جميلة مبهجة وبراقة تحمل ذاك المزيج المدهش بين أجراس الكنائس وصوت الأذان، لتعزف سيمفونية خاصة بها، حيث تشع من فوقها أشعة الشمس وحين تمعن النظر تجدها خلابة ورائعة تزينت بأجمل حللها، وشوارعها أضيئت بمصابيح ملونة، فيها كثير من المقاهي والمتاجر، أشجار العيد التي تزين الساحات والبيوت، بابا نويل ما أجمله يحمل قطع من الحلوى وينثرها لكل المارة يرقص ويغني توقفت قليلاً لأعيد الرقص معه كعادتي في كل عيد، أخذت قبعته الحمراء الجميلة ووضعتها على رأسي وغنينا أغنية العيد
ثم ما لبثت أن أكملت سيري، أتامل جمال وروعة مدينتي المبتسمة، وصلت محطة السيارات متجهة إلى البيت، السيارة خالية لايوجد بها سوى فتاة تجلس في المقعد الأمامي، انطلق صاحب التاكسي
كان ينظر الى الفتاة بإستغراب، ربما الصليب الذي تلبسه هو ما لفت انتباهه، ثم  اندفعت يداه الى الراديو، ينقلنا من موجة الى موجة حتى استقرت معالمه الى موجة تبث القرأن الكريم ، وبدأ يشرح للأنسة عن معنى كل أية، نظرت إليه ثم ألقيت سمعي نحو ما يقوله
أما الفتاة فهي تومأ برأسها موافقة على أمل منها ان ينتهي هذا الدرس الديني، وفجأة نظر صاحب التاكسي إليها وحدق بعينيه ثم قال: هلا القران هو خاتم الديانات وأنجيلكم هذا محرف، يعني ما لازم تأمنو في لأنو الانسان هو الي كتبو، ونبينا عيسى مرفوع مش زي ما بتقولو انهم صلبوا ومات، واسمعي خيتو اسمعي .. وعيب عليكم تحكوا انو عيسى ابن الله هذا شرك..
ربما إيماءات الفتاة لم تكفها ،حتى نظرت إليه وصرخت: لهون وبس . .. وليش ما تحكي عن قرأنكم انو محرف ..لو سمحت طول الطريق ساكتة إحترمني ..
 ربما لنظرة السائق للديانة الأخرى التي تعبر عن أغلبية المجتمع، فهذا ليس بمبرر منطقي لأن أكره المختلف بدينه أو أن أحقد عليه أو أن أضع حاجزاً بيني وبينه. لأننا في هذه النقطة نقطة الإيمان بالدين متكافئان تماماً. هو ابتدأ إيمانه وراثةً وأنا كذلك، وهو اقتنع ببرهانه ولم يقتنع ببرهاني وأنا كذلك، هو يعتبر ديانته نزلت من السماء وأنا كذلك، هل كنت أنت بذلك العصر وعرفت فعلياً حقيقة التحريف هو أيضا يعتقد تماما ان دينه هو الصحيح، لماذا نتجادل من هو الأصح إن كنت مؤمن بالله فكل الديانات تؤمن به وتعبد الله لكن كل ديانة لها طقوسها الدينية ومعتقداتها  الخاصة  
ومما سبق يستلزم أن ننظر للأخر من منظور إنساني بحت، فإعتقاد الإنسان بدين معين لا يبرر له إطلاقاً إغلاق عقله عن سماع الآخرين أو إقصائهم أو إطلاق الأحكام في حقهم وكأنه الإله الذي خلقهم. وتزداد حدة المشكلة عندما نتبنى تفسيرات معينة للنصوص التي تتحدث عن مصير من لم يؤمن بالدين الذي نؤمن به. 
أضف إلى ذلك في ظل غياب والبحث عن الهوية او هوية الإنتماء، بكونها أزمة ثقافة منطقة لم تتشكل ولم تتبلور في تعاملها مع ذاتها ومع المختلف معها
وبقينا في حالة تصارع منذ حقب طويلة، دون الوصول الى نقاط تقاطع مشتركة أو حتى قواسم  للدفع أنسانيتنا للأمام، وخلق من التضاد نتاج على مستوى الصعيد الفكري الانساني والسياسي والاقتصادي للوصول للمجتمع متكامل في ظل مجتمع عربي يسوده الاختلاف في الأفكار والأراء والتضاد في الايدلوجيات والاختلاف ايضاُ على مستوى النظريات البشريه على صعيد الكم والنوع في كل شيء، فالقضية ليست قضية تراث وثقافة، انما قضية تنمية إقتصادية وإجتماعية متوازنة ..
نظرت إلى السائق بعد أن “سرحت قليلاً بأفكاري” بتعجب وما إن إنتهى من كلامه حتى تعالت ضحكاتي نظر إلي من المرأة الأمامية وارتسمت ابتسامة على شفتيه وقال: بتعرفي ؟؟ تسمحيلي بدي احكيلك شي!! 
قلت له” تفضل”
حرك رأسه قليلاً وقال: أنت تشبهين إليسا
انهالت علي الضحكات مرة أخرى، فسرعان ما إنطلق هذا الرجل من هداية الفتاة التي تلبس صليبا على صدرها حين أدرك هو أنها تحمل ديانة اخرى، إلى التحديق بي وتشبيهي بالمغنية إليسا
ثم قلت له : عندك اذا سمحت
نزلت من السيارة متعجبة، وسرعان ما همت الفتاة للنزول معي ثم التفتت إلي قائلة : كل واحد على دينو الله يعينو
أردت الهروب قليًلا من نظراتها، بعثرت نظري هنا وهناك وخطرت ببالي نكتة قد سمعتها يومًا ما وقلت لها اسمعي النكتة :” في إتنين مسيحيين جوعانين كتير، واحد اسمو ميشيل والتاني اسمو جورج .
لما صارو بجانب جامع قام قال ميشيل لجورج أنا راح فوت عالجامع وغيّر اسمي مشان يطعموني وراح سمي حالي محمد .بس جورج ماغيّر اسمو .
دخلوا عالجامع ، شافوا شيخ الجامع قلو محمد (ميشيل) : جوعانين ياشيخي . قام قال الشيخ : شو أساميكم ؟ قال ميشيل : اسمي محمد، وقال جورج : اسمي جورج .
قام قال الشيخ لأصحابو : طعموا لجورج معليش بس انت يامحمد مابتعرف انو نحن صايمين لأنو نحنا برمضان …هههه

Read Full Post »

Each year on 10 December, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is marked by celebrating International Human Rights Day. This year marks immense changes that swept over the Arab region. Many found their voices using the internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilise supporters to seek their basic human rights. Through the transforming power of social media, ordinary people have themselves become human rights defenders.

Three young, active and mobilized Lebanese bloggers and activists in various fields and lobbying for different causes, have shared with us their thoughts on the Human Rights Day and how the social media played a role.

Beirutspring

‘The international day for human rights is an opportunity for us Lebanese bloggers and activists to renew our commitment to stand for the weakest elements in our society and continue to spread awareness of their plights. Foreign domestic workers, LGBT groups, the handicapped and the poor,  like the rest of us, deserve a full life of empowerment, pride and dignity.’

Short Bio: Mustapha Hamoui is a Lebanese businessman, designer and writer who lives and works in Ghana. He blogs at ‘http://beirutspring.com

Rita Chemaly

In my personal blog, I do share information about discrimination, women’s right, environmental crimes happening here and there; My aim is to use a simple tool a free blog to express my opinion freely and share it with others that might come through the pages of my blog; The posts covering the need to implement a State of Law in Lebanon are numerous; In a funny or cynical way, in my way, I try to describe my daily life and the challenges we need to overcome in Lebanon: mainly the gender component, the gender violence issue in Lebanon,  the patriarchal system, the confessional (sects) system, the need to have a unified civic personal status law , and lately the nationality issue.

Short bio: Rita Chemaly is a social-political researcher and author of “Spring 2005 in Lebanon, Between Myths and Realities”. She won The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press in 2007 and blogs at www.ritachemaly.wordpress.com.

Mohamad Hijazi 

“On International Human Rights day, I stand for a moment of silence on the situation of online freedom that is gradually getting worse in the Arab region. Governments are trying their best to limit freedom of speech: in Lebanon, bloggers will have to register their blogs with the government soon. In Syria, iPhones are banned from entering the country.  Saudi Arabia applies strict filtering and denunciations to the online content. Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia employ surveillance (spying) on their populations’ internet usage.  Bloggers are being detained and harassed left and right. It is a sad day indeed for the online community.”

Short Bio: Mohammad Hijazi is a student at the American University of Beirut majoring in Biology and Business Marketing. He currently works as social media consultant for various organizations. He has been blogging on Mind Soup for three years and was one of the early Lebanese who embarked on utilizing social media as a daily tool for communication. Mohammad currently heads Online Collaborative, a student organization that aims to promote proper digital citizenship to the Lebanese community. He blogs at moudz.blogspot.com

Source: http://ukinlebanon.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/working-with-lebanon2/001-human-rights1/#.TuMeQZp055g.twitter

Read Full Post »

Chers, et chères, dans notre observatoire continu des activités concernant les femmes, un colloque aura lieu au Liban en 2012 sous le titre la femme dans les sociétés arabes;

a vous plus d’informations via le site du colloque;

et en résume l’Appel à contributions lancé:

Le Centre Supérieur de la Recherche (CSR) de l’Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik organise, en collaboration avec la Faculté de Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines (FPSH) un colloque international sous le titre La femme dans les sociétés arabes du 23 au 26 octobre 2012.

Institution universitaire ancrée dans la culture arabe, l’USEK se situe au cœur de la dynamique sociale, politique et économique du milieu géographique et humain dans lequel elle est implantée. Forte de cette appartenance, l’Université entend investir son capital académique et mobiliser chercheurs, acteurs sociaux, hommes et femmes de lettres et de science, pour la mise en chantier d’une réflexion pluridisciplinaire et transdisciplinaire centrée sur la condition féminine dans les pays arabes entre réalité et perspectives d’avenir.

À cet effet, sont sollicités, en sus des instances gouvernementales compétentes, les particuliers, les institutions académiques d’enseignement supérieur ou de recherche ainsi que les associations et mouvements directement concernés par la question de la femme dans l’une ou l’autre de ses dimensions multiples.

 

Objectifs du colloque
Le colloque s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une démarche réflexive initiée par le CSR en vue de penser le monde arabe et se situe, à ce titre, dans la ligne des tables rondes et colloques précédents organisés à l’USEK avec la participation, outre les universitaires libanais, de chercheurs venus d’Europe et du Moyen-Orient.

La démarche propre au colloque « La femme dans les sociétés arabes » consiste à exposer l’état actuel de la question et à explorer l’espace socio-culturel comme espace d’expression, de changement, de tensions, d’interactions, et ce, dans un double but :

  1. étudier l’évolution de la situation de la femme dans les domaines divers de la vie privée ou de la vie communautaire et en mesurer les effets. L’analyse critique des progressions et des régressions perçues permet d’apprécier justement les retombées et les incidences des changements dans l’histoire des sociétés.
  2. construire une vision d’avenir répondant aux besoins réels des sociétés arabes et aux aspirations des nations ancrées dans leurs cultures, riches de leurs particularismes et de leurs valeurs mais en même temps soucieuses de se tenir dans une attitude d’ouverture au monde et de réceptivité intelligente et lucide où l’accueil des valeurs universelles n’est pas reniement identitaire mais renforcement de l’identité et promotion de l’humain.

Le colloque propose ainsi une lecture éclairée du vécu social de la femme dans une perspective humaniste de nécessaire complémentarité des genres. En mettant l’accent sur le rôle spécifique de la femme, le colloque entend mettre en lumière, plus que des réalisations ou des records ou même une liste de droits dont la revendication s’impose, d’abord et surtout l’unicité et l’originalité de son apport sur les plans humain et civilisationnel.

L’objectif du colloque est de proposer une approche philosophique, anthropologique et microsociologique de la condition féminine dans les pays arabes intégrant ses dimensions constituantes et notamment les dimensions politique, professionnelle, juridique, éducative et religieuse en vue de réunir des éléments pour une charte éthique transculturelle sur la question de la femme susceptible de servir de plate-forme théorique pour la mise en chantier de stratégies sociales nationales par les gouvernements.

Formulaire d’inscription : http://www.usek.edu.lb/CSR/La-femme-dans-les-soci%C3%A9t%C3%A9s-arabes/Inscription/Registration

La date limite pour l’envoi des résumés est le 31 mai 2012.
Deadline for submitting abstracts is May 31, 2012.

Préparer le résumé en formats doc ou docx.
Please prepare your abstract in one of the following file formats: doc, docx.

Inclure dans le résumé titre, auteur et mots-clés.
Details that should be included in the file are title, author and keywords.

Le texte du résumé ne doit pas dépasser 1500 caractères, espaces comprises.
The abstract body should be no more than 1500 characters, including spaces.

Contact

Secrétariat du colloque
Téléphone : +961 9 600 322
Télécopie : +961 9 600 100
femmearabe.csr@usek.edu.lb

Contact permanent :
Randa Abi-Aad
randaabiaad@usek.edu.lb
femmearabe.csr@usek.edu.lb
Téléphone : +961 9 600 304
Télécopie : +961 9 600 100

Adresse postale :
Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik
Centre Supérieur de la Recherche
B. P. 446 Jounieh
Liban

Call for papers

The Higher Center of Research (CSR) at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik organizes, in collaboration with the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, an international colloquium under the title of “Women in Arab Societies” from October 23 to 26, 2012.

Being an academic institution rooted in Arab culture, USEK is at the heart of the social, political and economic dynamics of the geographical and human milieu in which it is established. Based on this belonging, the University seeks to invest its academic capital and mobilize researchers, social actors, men and women of letters and science, in order to initiate a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary discussion, highlighting the condition of women in Arab countries between reality and future perspectives.

To this end, in addition to competent governmental bodies, individuals, higher education academic or research institutions as well as associations and movements directly concerned with the issue of women in one of its various dimensions, are sought.

 

Objectives of the Colloquium

The colloquium falls within the scope of a reflexive approach initiated by the CSR in order to stimulate thoughts related to the Arab world, and is accordingly placed in line with previous round tables and colloquiums organized by USEK with the participation of, besides Lebanese academics, researchers from Europe and Middle-East.

The proper approach to the colloquium “Women in Arab Countries”consists in exposing the current conditions of women and exploring the socio-cultural space as a space of expression, change, tension, interaction and this, for two purposes:

  1. Study the evolution of the situation of women in the various fields of private life or collective life and measure the effects of such evolution. The critical analysis of any perceived development and regression shall facilitate the evaluation process of these results and their impacts in the history of societies.
  2. Build a future vision that meets the needs of Arab societies and the ambitions of nations rooted in their cultures, rich in their particularities and values, and at the same time, anxious to maintain an attitude reflecting openness to the world as well as intelligent and lucid receptivity of universal values, not as a denial of identity but a strengthening of identity and moving the human dimension onward.

The colloquium seeks therefore to propose an enlightened reading of the real-life social experience of women within a humanist perspective based on the necessary complementarity of genders. By highlighting the specificity of the women’s role, the colloquium does not only seek to shed light on their achievements or records, or even a list of rights whose claim is judged necessary, but first and foremost, to underline the uniqueness and creativity of women’s contributions on the humanitarian and civilizational levels.

The objective of the colloquium is to propose a philosophical, anthropological and micro-sociological approach of the condition of women in Arab countries, covering all its constituent dimensions, particularly the political, professional, legal, educational and religious dimensions, in order to gather necessary elements to establish a transcultural code of ethics on the issue of women, likely to serve as a theoretical platform upon which governments may build their national social strategies.

 

Contact

Secretariat of the Colloquium
Tel.: +961 9 600 322
Fax: +961 9 600 100
femmearabe.csr@usek.edu.lb

Permanent contact:
Randa Abi-Aad
randaabiaad@usek.edu.lb
femmearabe.csr@usek.edu.lb
Tel.: 961 9 600 304
Fax: 961 9 600 100

Postal Address:
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Higher Center of Research
P.O. Box 446, Jounieh
Lebanon

Read Full Post »

Rape is an underreported crime. Victims are afraid – of their attackers, of stigma, of being subjected to sometimes humiliating medical exams – to the extent that they often don’t report attacks.

And when women are raped by their husbands, inside their own homes, they are perhaps even less likely to tell someone. This makes accurate rape statistics, and even more so accurate marital rape statistics, hard to come by.

Even if the exact numbers aren’t known, some husbands do force their wives into sex. Maya Ammar of the nongovernmental organization KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), says KAFA’s Beirut center alone sees some 300 cases of marital rape a year.

But a section of an anti-domestic violence law that would criminalize marital rape has been removed by the parliamentary subcommittee that is currently studying and amending it. This has caused a stir among the activist groups who drafted the law – KAFA is running an ad campaign that targets the subcommittee’s eight lawmakers – and brought the issue of marital rape into the local spotlight.

Rima Abinader, a social worker at KAFA, has counseled many women who have been raped by their husbands. She says that wives are often slow to reveal they have been raped, because “they’ve been raised to think of this issue as a taboo. They can’t even talk to their families about it.”

The social worker says that marital rape tends to be part of a wider, complicated web of abuse. This may include economic, physical and emotional violence, any of which might prompt a woman to seek help. It is only once a victim develops a trusting relationship with a counselor, Abinader adds, that details begin to emerge.

Abinader recounts graphic details from victims of marital rape. One woman’s husband forced her to have anal sex; another’s raped her while she was on her period. “Women start talking in minute detail about everything,” Abinader says, “because they need to talk. Especially about this issue.”

It is because marital rape, by definition, takes place between spouses, that Ammar thinks some people are uncomfortable with the concept. “You perceive sexual intercourse … between a woman and a man as very normal, and something that comes as a package with marriage.” But this, Ammar argues, doesn’t mean rape can’t happen within matrimony.

“I think rape is rape. Whenever someone has sex with you without your consent, it is called rape. Be it your husband, your friend or [an] anonymous [person].”

Beirut MP Imad Hout, a member of the subcommittee that is studying the draft law, disagrees. “There’s nothing called rape between a husband and a wife. It’s called forcing someone violently to have intercourse,” he told The Daily Star.

He confirms that the term “marital rape” has been removed from the draft law that Parliament passed in 2010, but says in the new draft “we just changed its name. Using violence to force a woman to have sex will still be punished by the law.”

In addition to criminalizing marital rape, the original draft law creates specific sentences for perpetrators of domestic violence and allows women and children to quickly seek restraining orders. The country’s highest Sunni and Shiite religious bodies have both come out against the law. In Lebanon, neither marital rape nor domestic violence is criminalized by legislation.

Another subcommittee member, Metn MP Ghassan Moukheiber, told The Daily Star that he was “extremely concerned” about the amendment to eliminate the criminalization of marital rape, but that a majority of the eight members wanted it removed.

The MPs have also removed the aspect of the law that specifically addresses violence against women.

One of KAFA’s recently launched ads features photographs of the eight subcommittee members, with the phrase “the law is a reflection of you: do not distort the law.”

Another image reads “MPs: marital rape is also a crime.”

Hout says that unnamed groups are “promoting” the idea that “MPs who are studying the law approve of using violence in sexual relations, and that is not true.”

At least on one point, Hout and KAFA’s Ammar agree – the importance of naming. Hout says there’s nothing called rape between a husband and wife, and that’s why the law has been amended. And Ammar says that “even if it is provocative,” the existence of marital rape “is just a reality, and we should name it the way it is.”

It’s possible that few women would take advantage of the law, she continues, given the already low reporting rates for rape and the difficulty of proving it. “But at least the state has the duty to acknowledge that women are subjected to these kinds of crimes … and [impose] a penalty for everyone who commits it. That’s the least they could do.”

For those seeking help, Abinader says recovery is tough but possible. She says that it involves “social workers and psychotherapists to face the situation.”

But getting help takes picking up a phone, at the very least. And, as Ammar says: “It’s hard to call.”

Source Rape is an underreported crime. Victims are afraid – of their attackers, of stigma, of being subjected to sometimes humiliating medical exams – to the extent that they often don’t report attacks.And when women are raped by their husbands, inside their own homes, they are perhaps even less likely to tell someone. This makes accurate rape statistics, and even more so accurate marital rape statistics, hard to come by.

Even if the exact numbers aren’t known, some husbands do force their wives into sex. Maya Ammar of the nongovernmental organization KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), says KAFA’s Beirut center alone sees some 300 cases of marital rape a year.

But a section of an anti-domestic violence law that would criminalize marital rape has been removed by the parliamentary subcommittee that is currently studying and amending it. This has caused a stir among the activist groups who drafted the law – KAFA is running an ad campaign that targets the subcommittee’s eight lawmakers – and brought the issue of marital rape into the local spotlight.

Rima Abinader, a social worker at KAFA, has counseled many women who have been raped by their husbands. She says that wives are often slow to reveal they have been raped, because “they’ve been raised to think of this issue as a taboo. They can’t even talk to their families about it.”

The social worker says that marital rape tends to be part of a wider, complicated web of abuse. This may include economic, physical and emotional violence, any of which might prompt a woman to seek help. It is only once a victim develops a trusting relationship with a counselor, Abinader adds, that details begin to emerge.

Abinader recounts graphic details from victims of marital rape. One woman’s husband forced her to have anal sex; another’s raped her while she was on her period. “Women start talking in minute detail about everything,” Abinader says, “because they need to talk. Especially about this issue.”

It is because marital rape, by definition, takes place between spouses, that Ammar thinks some people are uncomfortable with the concept. “You perceive sexual intercourse … between a woman and a man as very normal, and something that comes as a package with marriage.” But this, Ammar argues, doesn’t mean rape can’t happen within matrimony.

“I think rape is rape. Whenever someone has sex with you without your consent, it is called rape. Be it your husband, your friend or [an] anonymous [person].”

Beirut MP Imad Hout, a member of the subcommittee that is studying the draft law, disagrees. “There’s nothing called rape between a husband and a wife. It’s called forcing someone violently to have intercourse,” he told The Daily Star.

He confirms that the term “marital rape” has been removed from the draft law that Parliament passed in 2010, but says in the new draft “we just changed its name. Using violence to force a woman to have sex will still be punished by the law.”

In addition to criminalizing marital rape, the original draft law creates specific sentences for perpetrators of domestic violence and allows women and children to quickly seek restraining orders. The country’s highest Sunni and Shiite religious bodies have both come out against the law. In Lebanon, neither marital rape nor domestic violence is criminalized by legislation.

Another subcommittee member, Metn MP Ghassan Moukheiber, told The Daily Star that he was “extremely concerned” about the amendment to eliminate the criminalization of marital rape, but that a majority of the eight members wanted it removed.

The MPs have also removed the aspect of the law that specifically addresses violence against women.

One of KAFA’s recently launched ads features photographs of the eight subcommittee members, with the phrase “the law is a reflection of you: do not distort the law.”

Another image reads “MPs: marital rape is also a crime.”

Hout says that unnamed groups are “promoting” the idea that “MPs who are studying the law approve of using violence in sexual relations, and that is not true.”

At least on one point, Hout and KAFA’s Ammar agree – the importance of naming. Hout says there’s nothing called rape between a husband and wife, and that’s why the law has been amended. And Ammar says that “even if it is provocative,” the existence of marital rape “is just a reality, and we should name it the way it is.”

It’s possible that few women would take advantage of the law, she continues, given the already low reporting rates for rape and the difficulty of proving it. “But at least the state has the duty to acknowledge that women are subjected to these kinds of crimes … and [impose] a penalty for everyone who commits it. That’s the least they could do.”

For those seeking help, Abinader says recovery is tough but possible. She says that it involves “social workers and psychotherapists to face the situation.”

But getting help takes picking up a phone, at the very least. And, as Ammar says: “It’s hard to call.”

Source the Daily star:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2011/Dec-05/156020-mps-ngos-clash-over-marital-rape-terminology.ashx?mid=5469#ixzz1ffGPZm9e

Read Full Post »

Below are 3 articles covering the progress made in UAE: children of women married to foreigner can now ask for the nationality of their mothers;

this step is needed in Lebanon: Lebanese women married to no-lebanese, cannot transmit their nationality to their families.

With the actual law, Lebanon is not complying to his Constitution, or ratified international docs!

treating lebanese women and their families as citizens,  is a need to fulfill equality and to build a State of Law …

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/nations/emirates/2011/12/01/visualizza_new.html_11297151.html
DOHA, DECEMBER 1 – Progress has been made in the field of equal rights for men and women in the United Arab Emirates. From now on, the children of female citizens of the UAE married to foreigners will be able to acquire their mothers’ nationality, due to a law recently approved by the federation.

According to the new law, at age 18 the children of an UAE mother and a foreign father can request their mother’s nationality as well as enjoy the same rights of UAE citizens even before reaching the required age for the official request.

So reports The Peninsula, a daily paper in Qatar, where this equal right has not yet been recognised but on which a wide-ranging debate has begun. ”I would like all Gulf countries, including Qatar, to establish a law like that of the UAE,” said Moza Al Malki, Qatari psychologist cited by the newspaper. The extension to mothers of the right to hand down their nationality to their children, as well as giving more rights to women, makes it possible to increase the number of citizens of the countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who are still a minority compared with the foreign community. In Qatar, for example, Qatar nationals total only 20% of the overall population, compared with 80% of foreigners without the chance for naturalisation. According to Sheikha Al Jefairi, the sole female member of Qatar’s Central Municipal Council, the country has a law which recognises the same rights to the children of Qatari women married to foreigners, but not the right to hold a Qatari passport. But however close the Qatari law comes to that of the UAE, it is not applied. ”I urge the authorities appointed by the Emit to take measures on the issue, ensuring that this law is enforced and that it has immediate binding effects,” said Al Jefairi. Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee has also taken a position on the issue and is putting pressure on the government. (ANSAmed).

UAE decision on nationality law highlights need for new approach
As the United Arab Emirates became the eighth Arab state to grant equal nationality rights to women Wednesday, campaigners in Lebanon warn the domestic struggle still has some way to go.

Currently, Lebanese women who marry foreigners can’t pass their nationality onto their children, unlike Lebanese men. Activists have been campaigning on the issue for years, having first presented a draft law to Parliament in 2005.

Ghida Anani, founder and director of Abaad, a Beirut-based regional gender research center, said the UAE decision might give some encouragement to other Arab countries, but that Lebanon was a very different scenario.

“Here we have the issue of the Palestinians, of confessionalism, and of quotas,” said Anani.

Many believe the introduction of the law would lead to the naturalization of Palestinian refugees married to Lebanese women, however a U.N. study showed in 2010 that only 18,000 Lebanese women had married non-Lebanese men between 1995 and 2008.

The campaign in Lebanon, Anani believes, needs a fresh approach.

“The campaign is losing momentum. I sense there is frustration and activists are not pushing hard enough on decision-makers.

“We need new and concrete arguments,” Anani added. “Politicians must be lobbied.”

Metn MP Ghassan Moukheiber, a member of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee who has publicly supported the nationality campaign for years, agrees that the struggle needs a new angle.

“We must find a solution to this problem, but this will only happen if we have a dialogue which addresses the concerns and fears of the people and the parliamentarians,” he said.

“We need to sit down with the key players and conduct straight talk about how we can improve the lives of Lebanese women,” he said. “We need to discuss the problems that no one wants to talk about publicly.”

Lina Abou Habib, executive director of the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action, a Beirut-based regional gender equality center, sees encouragement in September’s decision by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas to grant the right to work to the non-Lebanese spouses and children of Lebanese women.

CRTD is continuing to lobby MPs to study the draft law and is also conducting an extensive study on the daily ramifications that the absence of such a law has on the lives of Lebanese women.

The center is also encouraging Lebanese women to “be more vocal in demanding their rights. To consider what are the potentials and possibilities of active citizenship,” Habib said.

“I do believe there are solutions to these problems,” Moukheiber said, “We just need to find them.”

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2011/Dec-02/155801-uae-decision-on-nationality-law-highlights-need-for-new-approach.ashx#ixzz1fMzpmQ8C
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

(AFP) – 1 day ago

ABU DHABI — The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that children of Emirati women married to foreigners could apply for citizenship once they turned 18, moving closer to giving women the same nationality rights as men.

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan decreed that the “children of women citizens married to foreigners should be treated as citizens,” WAM state news agency reported.

In the move, the children are to get the “right to apply for citizenship when they reach 18,” it added.

Most Arab countries link nationality to blood relation from the father’s side, disenfranchising women who face various forms of gender discrimination across the region.

Tunisia had for a long time been the only country that gave men and women equal nationality rights with few other countries responding to continued campaigns for the regulation to be changed.

But in 2005, Algeria amended its nationality law, giving women the right to pass citizenship to their foreign husbands and children.

In 2007, Morocco said the children of Moroccan women will automatically get the nationality, while foreign husbands can demand the citizenship after five years of marriage and residency in the country.

Egypt followed suit giving women the right to pass their citizenship to their children.

The campaign continues in many other Arab countries…

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: