Lebanon activists ramp up pressure on reviled rape law
Beirut: Lebanese activists ramped up their marketing campaign to scrap a controversial regulation permitting rapists who marry their victims to go free, with a dramatic set up on Saturday alongside Beirut’s sunny seaside.
A proposal to scrap Article 522 of the penal code — which offers with rape, assault, kidnapping and compelled marriage — was launched final yr and accepted by a parliamentary committee in February.
It should go earlier than parliament on Could 15 and activists hope that MPs will vote to get rid of it.
On Saturday they urged Lebanese residents to signal a marketing campaign to ramp up the strain on legislators at an open-air exhibit.
Thirty-one marriage ceremony attire manufactured from white lace and wrapping paper hung limply from makeshift nooses between 4 palm timber alongside the Lebanese capital’s corniche.
“There are 31 days in a month and each single day, a girl could also be raped and compelled to marry her rapist,” mentioned Alia Awada, advocacy supervisor at Lebanese non-government organisation ABAAD.
“We try as a lot as we are able to to make clear this problem and inform parliament that the time has come for them to vote on cancelling Article 522.”
The reviled article, which additionally offers with the rape of minors, permits offenders to flee punishment by marriage ceremony their victims.
“If a legitimate marriage contract exists between the perpetrator of one among these crimes … and the abused, the prosecution is suspended,” it reads.
“If a verdict has been issued, the implementation is suspended.”
Awada mentioned: “We referred to as on all parliamentarians and decision-makers within the Lebanese state with this message: each ‘sure’ from you is a ‘no’ to a rapist.”
Standing amid the fluttering marriage ceremony attire, Minister for Ladies’s Affairs Jean Oghassabian described the article as being “from the stone age”.
“Its flip has come, it’s the second merchandise on the agenda” at an upcoming legislative session on Could 15, Oghassabian, who can be an MP, instructed AFP.
Lebanese artist Mireille Honein, who designed the exhibition in Paris and introduced it to her homeland this week, mentioned she made the attire out of white paper “to focus on the ephemeral nature of marriage and of legal guidelines”.
“And I hung them up, as a result of this kind of regulation merely robs girls of their essence, leaves them with out an identification and suspends them in a life that doesn’t go well with them and is shameful for these imposing it on them,” Honein instructed AFP.
As passers-by paused to have a look at the ghostly set up, volunteers from ABAAD invited them to signal a petition demanding parliament prioritise the article’s elimination.
Silver-haired Rafiq Ajouri, who hails from a southern Lebanese village, was persuaded to signal on whereas on his morning stroll alongside the corniche.
“If I have been to get raped, why wouldn’t I get my rights? I’d need individuals to face beside me,” he mentioned.
However the aged man, who has 5 sons and three daughters, hesitated when an ABAAD volunteer mentioned girls needs to be allowed the identical liberties as males.
“They’ll have their freedoms, however inside limits. Why? As a result of they’re ladies.”