International Women’s Day

UN Women kicks of International Women’s Day with appeal for ending GBV in Lebanon

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Despite significant advances in programming and policy, gender-based violence remains pervasive in Lebanon. An estimated one in three women experiences physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. Thus, UN Women is putting the GBV at the center of its efforts in connection with the International Women’s Day, at a critical time when the humanitarian situation and fragile contexts are mushrooming across the region with grave impact on women and girls.

 Under the patronage of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs in Lebanon, UN Women and ABAAD (NGO) in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs, organized a national conference titled “Towards National Coordinated Multi-Sectoral response to end GBV in Lebanon”, on Tuesday 07 March in Beirut. Aiming to shed light on how to mainstream GBV prevention and response within multiple sectors.

Divided into five sectoral roundtables, the conference brought together more than 125 experts and practitioners from the GBV sector in Lebanon along with representatives of governmental, non-governmental and international organizations. The roundtables included all relevant sectors, namely the Health, Security, Justice, Education and Social Services. The conference provided a great opportunity for experts to exchange best practices and raise the challenges facing multi-sectoral interventions in addressing GBV.

“It is a well-known fact that Poverty, social, cultural and economic disempowerment, create contexts in which women are more susceptible to abuse and exploitation and mostly to Gender based violence” says Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, UN Resident Coordinator for Lebanon, who also stressed the need for coordinating all efforts to ensure quality and fast services to GBV survivors.    

We want to construct a different world of work for women.  As they grow up, girls must be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encouraged to make choices that lead beyond the traditional service and care options to jobs in industry, art, public service, modern agriculture and science”.  Says Ms. Maryse Guimond, representing UN Women; extracting from the statement of UN Women Executive Director.

The first session focused on health sector, highlighting the fast-medical services that need to be in place when receiving GBV victims and the management of the case to facilitate the legal action.  It also emphasized the need to develop laws that protect women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. The session concluded with the need to develop health policies to promote safe access of GBV survivors/victims to health services;

While the second session on social services sector recommended to institutionalize GBV case management units as well as sheltering services for women survivors of GBV among all service providers in Lebanon.  This will ensure best coordinated efforts among civil society and governmental organizations to develop case management and protection services for women survivors, as well as, to strengthen the capacities of service providers especially those on the front line.   In addition, there was great emphasis on the need to enforce close coordination among relevant sectors that provide services to ensure fast and adequate response to GBV survivors/victims.  

Judicial and legal sector was discussed too, specifically the legal rights of the GBV and the necessary steps to be taken based on medical reports.  The session concluding remarks included  the need to develop a clear criteria for the reports to be submitted by social workers as per the recommendations of the Justice and Administration Committee regarding articles 505 and 518 in the Lebanese penal code, to ensure the best interest of children  and promote their accessibility to juvenile protection services,  to ensure  women’s  inclusive access to justice and existing legal resources, and develop legal financial aid services for women survivors of GBV, and finally to issue a unified civil personal status code as per the international conventions.

Additionally, the main remarks on the security level stressed the important role of the security sector in protecting GBV women/girl’s survivors and to enhance processes to protect the witnesses and to support Lebanon to join the International Criminal Court.

Educational sector was covered too, ending with a call to develop and publish training kits on how to work with sexual assault survivors (to unify conceptual framework among practitioners), and too mainstream protection issues in school curriculum.

UN Women delivered a presentation on the UN Joint “Essential Services package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence essential services “.  The national conference concluded its sessions with a series of important recommendations to be published and shared.