The road to equality is still a long one in Lebanon. The promises following the period of civil peace were betrayed, especially those intended to forge equality for women, which was a fundamental demand of Lebanese civil society.

Lebanon ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1996 in response to continuous pressure from civil society organizations. 

Despite this, the Lebanese state continues to maintain reservations on nationality, arbitration and marriage and family life, and the Lebanese Penal Code still discriminates against women in a number of its provisions, including rape, adultery and impudence.

I publish here a list of key legislation restricting women’s rights in Lebanon, and breaches of the laws aimed at upholding them.

Lebanese Penal Code 1943

* Rape is permitted within marriage [Articles 503 and 504].

* If a man rapes a woman but then offers to marry his victim, he is given a pardon [Article 520].

* An adulterous woman is sentenced to three months to two years of imprisonment [Article 478] .

* “Honor killing”: Men benefit from an extenuating excuse if he catches his wife, daughter or sister during the act of adultery or sexual intercourse and kills or unwillingly injures one of the two people involved [Article 562].

Nationality Law

Lebanese citizenship is granted to:

– The children of a Lebanese father

– The person born in Lebanon and did not prove that he/she has acquired on birth another foreign nationality by filiation.

– The person born in Lebanon from unknown parents or parents whose nationalities are unknown[Article 1, Law 1925].

 Personal Status and Family Rights Law 

* In all sects, the father is the mandatory custodian over children. He is, therefore, the only one entitled to authorize their travel or open banking accounts [Family Rights Law].

* Couples cohabiting outside of marriage have no legal protection [Personal Status Law]. 

For Sunni and Shiite sects:

* The testimony of one man is equal to that of two women [Family Rights Law: Article 34]. 

* The husband has the right to forbid his wife from leaving the home of the married couple, to watch her visits, to bring her back to the house against her will and to educate her [Family Rights law: Article 73].

* A man has the right to inherit twice the amount that a woman does.

 For Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Evangelical sects:

* The man must protect his wife and the woman must obey her husband and follow him to wherever he sees appropriate for her to live. 

Key International Conventions on Human Rights signed by Lebanon:

* The Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women in 1996: reservations on Article 9 pertaining to nationality, Article 16 pertaining to marriage and family life, and Article 29 pertaining to arbitration 

* The Convention for the Political Rights of Women in 1948 (ratified in 1955).

* The Convention against Discrimination in Education 1960

* The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of other in 1956

* Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

* Universal Declaration of Human Rights

* The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1972

 Lebanese Constitution:

* “Lebanon is … based on respect for … social justice and equality of rights and duties among all citizens without discrimination.” [Paragraph (c) of the Preamble]

* “All Lebanese are equal before the law. They equally enjoy civil and political rights and equally are bound by public obligations and duties without any distinction.” [Article 7]