Webinar: Personal Status Laws: Amending the Codes
The Arab Institute for Women (AiW) in collaboration with the MEPI TLS Program at the Lebanese American University (LAU), and KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation) hosted a webinar which discussed the social, political, and legal challenges to amend personal status codes in Lebanon, their detrimental effects on women’s lives, as well as KAFA’s draft law on unified personal status codes.
In her opening speech, Director of AiW, Ms. Myriam Sfeir, introduced the objectives of this session, and welcomed the speakers of the event: Judge John Azzi (a strong advocate for Lebanese women’s rights), Ms. Diana Moukalled (a feminist journalist and the Co-founder of Daraj Media), and Lawyer Leila Awada (a leading attorney and the Co-founder of KAFA). Judge Azzi discussed the limitations which women face within the private sphere. He particularly addressed mothers’ inability to grant their children the Lebanese nationality, in addition to the inequalities and discriminatory practices applied in custody and divorce laws across sects. On similar lines, Ms. Moukalled deliberated, based on her personal experience in media coverage in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the various discriminatory practices which women continue to endure in Arab countries and in Lebanon. As she argued, child marriage remains a prominent and unsolved problem across several conservative communities. Then, building on the information shared by Judge Azzi and Ms. Moukalled, Ms. Awada discussed KAFA’s advocacy campaign in protecting women from family violence.
In this discussion session, the speakers introduced the students, through facts, evidence, and personal experiences, to some of the major challenges which slowdown the realization of gender-positive change in matters of personal status codes in Lebanon. At last, the webinar ended with a short Q&A session where students shared their questions, remarks, and concerns with the discussants.