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Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Her Excellency Emmanuelle Lamoureux, Swedish Ambassador to Jordan, His Excellency Erik Ullenhag and Fredrik Westerholm, First Secretary Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden Beirut & Damascus. Photo: Twitter @CanadaLeb

Legislation on Violence Against Women in the MENA Region Conference

Published 5 December 2017

Beirut December 4, 2017 - In conjunction with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign, IM Swedish Development Partner, Diakonia, Norwegian People’s Aid and Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World will be holding the “Legislation on Violence Against Women in the MENA Region” Conference, on the 5th and 6th of December, in partnership with the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut, with the active participation of leading Civil Society Organizations, Government representatives, and women’s rights activists from Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon.

The conference, which will be kicked off by welcoming speeches of the four organizing partners, will highlight women’s rights organization’s role in the recent law reform that took place in Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon. On July 26, Tunisia’s parliament approved a comprehensive new legislation addressing violence against women. Following Tunisia’s footsteps, the Jordanian parliament voted to abolish the article 308 in the penal code that allows rapists to escape punishment by marrying the victim. A few days after, the Lebanese parliament abolished article 522, which allows rapists to marry their victims in order to avoid imprisonment.

Speakers will include civil society organization representatives, members of the parliament and governments, women’s rights activists in addition to Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Her Excellency Emmanuelle Lamoureux, Swedish Ambassador to Jordan, His Excellency Erik Ullenhag and Fredrik Westerholm, First Secretary Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden Beirut & Damascus sharing their countries’ experiences on executing the two only feminist foreign policies.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström in a visual participation will emphasize Sweden’s commitment through its feminist foreign policy to achieve gender equality and women empowerment in the region.  “I believe that this is the unfinished business of our time and that gender equality also works as a pillar for democratic and inclusive societies,” she voiced.

“The collaboration of different INGOs with Civil Society Organizations and experts is a great initiative coming at a crucial time, where violence in new forms has been rapidly accelerating.  I believe that this conference will offer us the platform needed to formulate creative mechanisms to combat violence, especially through partnerships and joint efforts,” states Amneh Al Zoubi, a speaker in the conference and Jordanian Women’s Union’s President, CSO in Jordan.

The conference, inspired by  the 16 Days of Activism on Gender-Based Violence Campaign and the slogan of “We Stand Tall When We Stand Together’” is open for public and will be held at the Business School at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut on December 5th and 6th.
 

See the greeting by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström to the women activists at the conference.