The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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August 11, 2011

iloubnan - No more reduced sentences for Honor Crimes in Lebanon - August 11, 2011

Image from's Flickr galery, via website.
The Lebanese cabinet approved during its legislative session on 04/08/2011, on the law reform proposal that aims to cancel the Article 562 of the criminal code which pertains to “honor killing",collective of feminist activists Nasawiya reported.
The Article 562, as it stood before August 4, stipulated that any person who “surprised” his spouse or one of his descendants in the act of adultery, or in an “illegal” sexual relation, such as a same-sex relationship, and kills or injures either party without premeditation, is subject to a shorter prison sentence than he otherwise would receive. On 16/05/2011, the Parliament's Administration and Justice Committee headed by March 14 bloc member MP Robert Ghanem, has raised the recommendation to cancel the Article 562, after cancelling the “exemption from penalty” for such crimes, approx ten years ago.

Regarding the details of the cabinet’s discussion on this subject, and before the voting process, which took the final stage of the session, Nasawiya (a collective of feminist activists), listed on its website some opinions of the MPs regarding the cancellation of the Article, according to the meeting statement:

MP Samir Jisr from Tripoli (Future Movement) said that the Administration and Justice Committee is looking into the law of domestic violence, noting that he does not agree on cancelling the article 562.

MP Imad Hout from Beirut (Islamic Group) also refused the cancelation of the article saying that “it provides a particular case which is “unintentional killing” and not “honor killing”.

MP Sami Gemayel from Metn (Phalange Party) considered that keeping this law will take us back to the middle ages, wishing that deputies will take their responsibilities in this regard.

MP Elie Keiruz from Bcharri (LF) deemed that the Lebanese criminal Code is still distinguishing between women and men. The Mp read out the text of the Article 562, concluding that it justifies murder and the abuse of women, hence the need to cancel it.

MP Ghassan Moukheiber from Metn supported the proposal and considered this crime as dishonest.

MP Elie Aoun from the Chouf (Progressive Socialist Party) said that “the most backward countries do no longer have such an Article.”

MP Ali Fayyad from Hasbaya / Marjayoun (Hezbollah) saw that the Article should not be revoked, wishing to refer the proposal to committees.

It is worth to note that Gilberte Zwein and Nayla Tueni, which account for half of the women in the Parliament, did not attend the session.

After discussions, the proposal was put to a vote and the Article 562 was cancelled after a majority approval of the cabinet.

“Other countries in the Arab world should follow Lebanon’s example and abolish laws that provide excuses for murder and violence,” said Nadya Khalife, Middle East women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “We are encouraged by this move and hope that Lebanon’s parliament will now amend other laws that discriminate on the basis of gender.”

Nasawiya welcomed the abolition of the Article 562, hoping that this will contribute to the eradication of the mentality that lies behind it.

Nasawiya raised the question whether this move will be used to silence the women's movement and push it to give up its demand of a comprehensive law that addresses the issue of domestic violence, and also if is it imperative that Lebanese women wait several decades for this law as much as they waited to hear the news of abolishing of the so-called "honor killing".

In Lebanon, domestic violence is not explicitly covered by the penal code. A draft law criminalizing domestic abuse was passed by the former cabinet in May 2010, and is currently under review by a special parliamentary committee.

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