Women in Beirut have taken to the streets to support new laws against domestic violence.
Women in Beirut have taken to the streets to demand the introduction of laws against domestic violence. Thousands of women marched on Saturday in support of a new law designed to protect women from violence by family members. Protestors carried posters reading "Break the silence", "We say no to abuse, do you?" and "Speak out. Stop domestic violence".
However, the new bill has languished amid stiff opposition from religious figures. The proposed bill has already been amended by Parliament after lobbying from Lebanon's powerful religious establishment.
Ghassan Moukheiber, an MP and a member of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, said he hoped the draft bill would be unanimously approved once Parliament meets. "I look forward for the voting of this bill because it is going to be a very important and meaningful step toward stopping all sorts of violence against women and other members of the family that could be subject to violence," he said.
The country has been blighted by a spring of domestic abuse killings in recent times and campaigners claim that one woman is killed each month as a result of domestic abuse. Rights groups say Manal Assi died last month after her husband beat her with a pressure cooker. Her mother, Nada Sabbagh, said she saw her daughter being killed. "I walked in and started jumping in shock then begged him to let me take her out," she said. "He was telling me, 'I will not let her out I want her to die in front of you, I want her to die in front of you' and he killed her in front of my eyes." This is simply one instance of the domestic abuse women are having to suffer in Lebanon, which makes the passing of the bill all the more important for the country.