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Lebanon passes disputed domestic violence law - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Lebanese activist uses her inked thumb to mark a white sheet during a protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, after the country's parliament approved a long-awaited law that protects women against domestic. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

A Lebanese activist uses her inked thumb to mark a white sheet during a protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on April 1, 2014, after the country’s parliament approved a long-awaited law that protects women against domestic violence. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Beirut, Reuters—Lebanon’s parliament approved a law on Tuesday designed to curb domestic violence but activists said it had been watered down so much it would provide only limited protection for women.

Meeting for the first time since a year-long political deadlock was broken last month with the approval of a new government, parliament swiftly passed the law without introducing any of the changes demanded by campaigners.

“It was just theatre. In two minutes the law was approved without any of the requested amendments,” said Faten Abou Chakra of KAFA, a group supporting abused women.

“This law is distorted, and will not guarantee real protection for women.”

Thousands of protesters marched in Beirut three weeks ago to demand measures to outlaw domestic violence after the deaths earlier this year of two women in suspected cases of domestic violence.

One was bludgeoned with a pressure cooker and the other was reportedly poisoned with chemicals.

KAFA first proposed legislation seven years ago to establish penalties for domestic violence and provide protection orders. When the proposals eventually reached parliament they polarized politicians and were amended after lobbying from Lebanon’s powerful religious establishment.

One amendment removes a reference to forced marriage, while another one introduces the spousal right to sexual intercourse, a move which critics say essentially legalizes marital rape.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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