“Irrespective of all good intentions and hard work for gender equality and women’s rights including their political, economic, social and cultural aspects, violence against women and girls in Lebanon not only persists, but risks and occurrences have become even higher in the debilitating context of the compounded crises and Covid-19 pandemics. Only too often they are first to suffer both at home and in the public sphere from physical and psychological violence, pressure and coercion, with little recourse to protection, accountability, justice and help” said Mr. Ján Kubiš, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon. “To remedy this requires changing societal mindsets and bold structural reforms, including the creation of a unified personal status code, criminalization of sexual harassment and general strengthening of laws against gender-based violence or abolishment of the abhorrent kafala system.
Given the deepening crises, priority must be equally given to immediate economic, social and legal measures that will put interests and concerns, safety and dignity of women and girls at the center, be it Lebanese, refugees or migrant workers” he added. “Women should play a central role in the political, security and economic decision-making processes necessary to put a stop to these shameful practices.”