The National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) has proposed an amendment to Lebanese labor laws that criminalizes sexual harassment.
The commission has raised the proposition to the Chairman of the Administration and Justice Committee.
Unfortunately, there is no national legislation that directly addresses and criminalizes sexual harassment in Lebanon. This does not help the fact that numerous instances of this serious issue take place every day in the country.
On average, 1 in every 4 women in Lebanon is subjected to one or more forms of unwanted sexual advances during her lifetime. These include verbal and physical harassment and stalking/pursuit.
In 2017, The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality and the American University of Beirut (AUB) partnered with the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs to launch the anti-harassment “Mesh Basita” (Not Okay) campaign.
The involved organizations proposed back then a draft law that criminalized sexual harassment to be ratified and legislated by the parliament, but their attempt was unfortunately futile.
And now, the NCLW has referred to the 2017 draft and compiled a new one with the help of The KIP Project and the World Bank-funded Mashreq Gender Facility.
The new amendment proposition includes the articles of the old draft, other articles and texts that were prepared by civil society organizations, and new articles added by the NCLW.
These new articles were introduced by the NCLW and its collaborators to MP Georges Adwan, the Chairman of the Administration and Justice Committee.
This proposition, if and when it gets legislated, would legally protect individuals in Lebanon against all forms of sexual harassment.
Although it’s not often addressed as it should be, gender-based harassment is something that countless women and girls in Lebanon experience every day and in many environments.
Transgressors lurk in the workplace, street, house, school, college, and many other social settings and locations, and Lebanese women and girls have had to endure, unable to speak up or seek justice.
It’s shameful that Lebanon still has no laws that punish sexual harassment. It’s about time for such deviants to be punished by the law…
Actually, it’s already way past that time, considering we’re living in the third decade of the 21st century.
Hopefully, this is the first step towards change and safer workplaces, homes, schools, colleges, shops, and streets in Lebanon.