Lebanon News

Over 30 NGOs demonstrate for women's rights

BEIRUT: Around 500 people gathered in downtown to protest for women's rights Sunday.

A group of around 300 women, men and children marched from Barbir, assisted by police and the Lebanese Army, headed for the Grand Serail but were blocked off by police at Riad al-Solh. The group donned purple scarves and marched behind a range rover with speakers projecting their chants.

A source from the Norweigian People's Aid told The Daily Star that more than 30 Non-Governmental Organizations took part in the march and that the group had a list of ten demands.

Among the demands were calls to create female quotas for parliament, reform of the electoral law and support of the KAFA draft law regarding violence against women which is currently a topic of discussion in parliament.

"This is the first time feminist groups collaborate with Palestinian NGOs to demand rights," said Sofia Darwich, Project Officer for Women's Rights with the Norweigian People's Aid.

A second protest demanding the right for women to pass on the Lebanese nationality to their children was also taking place outside the Ministry of Interior in Sanayeh.

Head of that demonstration Mustapha Shaar said it was time for Lebanese women to demand the right to give their children the Lebanese nationality.

"These are stateless people," Shaar expressed emphatically, "if they are from Lebanon then they are Lebanese."

"We were born in Lebanon and we will die in Lebanon," Shaar said before adding that in the 21st century it was shameful that Lebanon did not provide women with the right to pass on their nationality.

According to Darwich, upon hearing about the march the leaders of the protest in Sanayeh moved to downtown. She said that the protest was a success.

"Two months ago we started with 50-60 people," Darwich said as the protestors began singing the Lebanese National Anthem. "This time we wanted to gather all the Lebanese and Palestinian men, women and children to hold a demonstration."

"This is not just one problem. It's a problem in politics and inside the homes. It's discrimination in all ways."





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