For the first time Lebanese and Palestinian women’s organizations have joined forces for women’s rights in Lebanon. In a two-phase demonstration, on the 8th and 25th of March, they protested in Beirut with the watchword “Towards the achievement of full equality and citizenship for women”.
- We have planned these demonstrations since the beginning of the year. It was the first time that so many civil society actors and NGOs agreed to integrate other women’s rights demand, such as the rights of Palestinian refugee women, into a Lebanese women’s action, says Leila el Ali from the women’s rights organization Najdeh.
The demonstration on the 8th of March took place on the stairs of the National Museum in Beirut. Around 25 NGOs working for women’s and human rights gathered, and although the majority of the protesters were women, there were also men participating. The organizations had put together a 10-point list with actions necessary to meet their demand of full equality:
- Personal status civil law
- Women’s right to pass on the citizenship to her children and family
- Criminalization of violence against women and girls
- Women’s quota in the Lebanese parliament
- Reform of the electoral law
- Civil and human rights for Palestinian women in Lebanon
- The protection of women and promotion of their right in decision making
- Elimination of discrimination against women in the Lebanese Penal Code
- Gender equality in labour law and social security
- Gender equality in the tax system
Many Palestinian women from camps
On the second demonstration, the 25th of March, the protesters marched from Beirut’s Barbir area toward the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut. And this time even more people joined.
- Over 1 000 persons participated and half of them were Palestinian women from the camps, says Leila el Ali.
The action also recieved supporting letters and statements from other women activists and NGOs in the Arab world. Even Lebanon’s First Lady, Mrs Wafaa Sleiman, sent a statement supporting the protesters’ demands.