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Despite setbacks for women’s rights around the globe in 2017, some of the most exciting reforms and positive momentum emerged from the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisian women have new protections against violence. Migrant domestic workers in…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News
Lebanon is once again staring down a waste management crisis, with news that the Costa Brava and Bourj Hamoud landfills will reach capacity in 2018—two years before the government’s initial estimate of 2020. In response, the cabinet is reportedly…
Garbage is piled near a highway in Beirut, Lebanon January 19, 2016. © 2017 Reuters
News

Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Lebanon’s patchwork of personal status laws is failing women

All couples hope their marriages will work out and they will live happily ever after. But the truth is that many relationships end in divorce and Lebanese couples are no exception. According to a 2012 study by the Lebanese Central Administration of…
News
When Lebanon was part of the Ottoman Empire – before it was even a country – its religious groups were allowed to oversee the equivalent of family law. French colonizers upheld this system, and today Lebanon has 15 different codes – for Sunni, Shia, Druze…
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Safia, 35, taught school in Syria. She fled the conflict for northern Lebanon, where she picks eggplants, strawberries, and “bad, rotten things” as an agricultural day laborer. She earns about $11 for eight hours of back-breaking work. “The…
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Death of domestic worker renews call for basic rights

Alem Dechasa-Desisa’s death at age 33 would have probably gone unnoticed – like that of so many other migrants – if not for a widely circulated video showing her being physically assaulted by a man, later identified as labor recruiter Ali Mahfouz, at the…
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As told by Nadim Houry, director of Human Rights Watch's Beirut office It was 2008, and along Hamra Street, one of Beirut's main thoroughfares, women's rights demonstrators had placed a series of identical cutouts shaped like women's bodies. Painted red…
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From Lebanon’s advocacy campaign to June’s international convention

As told by Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women's Rights Division Each poster in the ad campaign featured a woman in the uniform typically worn by housekeepers and nannies, complete with ruffled apron. Below the image were facts about abuse of…
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Quotas for women always make the news in this part of the world and in Beirut, they will be the talk of the town this week. The third annual New Arab Woman Forum will take place here on October 15 and16, bringing together regional and international…
News
If you think Lebanon is a complicated place, the state of Lebanese women's political participation should be no surprise. Lebanese women won the right to vote and to participate in national elections in 1952, 19 years before women in Switzerland. Yet,…
News
International Women’s Day is an opportunity not only to evaluate women’s progress in areas such as education, employment, and politics, but also to honor the importance of what has been traditionally viewed as “women’s work”: cooking, cleaning, and…
News
Over a month ago, a French documentary, "Liban, Pays des Esclaves," harshly criticized Lebanese society and the authorities for their treatment of migrant domestic workers. But instead of being outraged by the behavior of their fellow citizens, many…