Experts also highlighted the country’s reservations to article 9 of the Convention (on citizenship), questioning whether Lebanese women who married foreigners could keep their nationality.
According to the report, they pointed out, only the father could transfer nationality to his children, which violated women’s rights and was contrary to the Convention.
Responding to concerns about article 16, Leila Azouri, of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, said Lebanon was made up of several denominations with their own personal status codes, as well as courts and laws.
Adding that the country must overcome that hurdle to pass the law on civil marriages, she assured the Committee that Lebanon possessed the will and the desire to evolve into a society of civil laws.
Acting in their personal capacities, the Committee’s 23 expert members monitor compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, often referred to as an “international bill of rights for women”.In concluding remarks, Committee Chairperson Rosario Manalo recommended that Lebanon lift its reservations to the Convention as soon as possible, especially to articles 9 and 16.The country should also strive for gender equality in its laws, consider defining discrimination in accordance with the Convention, and ensure that the National Commission for Lebanese Women had sufficient resources to effectively carry out its mandate.An attempt had been made in the mid-1990s to allow citizenship through a Lebanese mother, but non-governmental organizations had rejected the draft law, due to restrictive conditions attached to it.
Experts also lamented the lack of specific mechanisms to protect women victims of violence, and that investigations into such acts were hindered by traditions of “family privacy”.
Addressing those comments, Azza Beydoun, of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, said the Government was receptive to discussions about domestic violence, and had shown a willingness to enact laws to combat it and punish the perpetrators.