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Lebanon – Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Submission – 81st Session, 2022

The legal provisions and practices detailed in this submission highlight the failure of the State to comply with its duty to provide equal protection under the law.

  • Discrimination in nationality laws is expressly prohibited by Article 9 of CEDAW, and also violates Articles 2, 3, and 15 (right to equality before the law).
  • Exemption of offenders, including sexual offenders, who marry their victims promotes violence against women and girls and violates Article 2, particularly 2(g) which calls on States Parties to undertake “to repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women,” as well as Article 15.

We welcome the 2017 repeal of the main “marry your rapist” article of the Penal Code, Article 522, but note there are loopholes remaining which still exempt some sexual offenders. We note that the Committee’s joint recommendation with the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices recognizes that this type of law, “legislation that enables a perpetrator of rape and/or other sexual crimes to avoid sanctions through marriage to the victim,” is “contrary to the obligation of the States parties under both conventions”.

Furthermore, we submit that the root causes of the failures of the State are its non-compliance with the obligation to transform gender hierarchies and stereotypical attitudes towards women, contrary to Articles 2(f) and 5(a) of the Convention and the obligation to combat violence against women and provide access to justice to survivors, as described in General Recommendations 19, 33 and 35 of the CEDAW Committee. 

Submitted by:

  • Equality Now – an international human rights NGO with ECOSOC status with the mission to achieve legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against all women and girls around the world. Founded in 1992, Equality Now is a global organisation with partners and supporters in every region. Ending sexual violence, ending sexual exploitation, ending harmful practices and achieving legal equality are the main areas of Equality Now’s work. 
  • The Lebanese Council to Resist Violence against Women (LECORVAW) – a non-governmental organization working for the purpose of fighting and resisting all forms of Violence Against Women (VAW) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lebanon since 1997. LECORVAW contributed to multiple legal reforms of discriminatory laws against women and girls in Lebanon and launched and took part in many advocacy campaigns to support legal reforms and call for the repeal and/or amendment of oppressive laws against women. 
  • Women Alive – an organization founded in 2021 and based in Lebanon, works on eliminating all forms of GBV, including EGBV (Economic gender based violence) and SGBV (Sexual gender based violence). Women Alive’s mission is achieved mainly through advocacy campaigns, socio-legal studies of women’s rights, as well as conducting trainings and awareness raising. 
  • The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights – a coalition mobilizing international action for the removal of gender discriminatory provisions from all nationality laws, through its coalition of national, regional and international organizations and activists, including Steering Committee Members Equality Now, Equal Rights Trust, Family Frontiers, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, Nationality For All, Women’s Learning Partnership, and the Women’s Refugee Commission.