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Press releass on the international women day

The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering – RDFL
Press release on the occasion of The International Women's Day 2011

The International Women's Day this year coincides with growing social mobility and the revolutions in more than one Arab country, after the success of the will of the people of Tunisia and Egypt to break the barriers of fear and silence over injustice and oppression and to put and end for the prevalent totalitarian regime. This situation gives us a space of hope for the beginning of the path of change and democratic transition. Here, we must value the active participation of women in this movement through political and democratic struggle and social issues of the homeland from the site of feminist struggle, through which they asserted their citizenship as partners in the revolution and in state building.

In the context of this increasing path of democratic mobility, we assure that:

• The struggle to achieve gender equality is an essential part of the struggle for human rights and freedoms, social justice and equitable development. The struggle for change and democratic reform and building a modern state must be based on equal rights and responsibilities, division of roles between men and women. There is no democracy without women's rights and gender equality, and no equality without democracy and freedoms.

• The state of modern civilization, the secular state, the state of law and equality, the State of citizenship is the actual and real frame for democracy, for the rights and freedoms and for social justice that is based on equality. This projected state ensures pluralism and diversity within the community and protects individual interests. It enables women to exercise their citizenship rights fully and effectively as it recognizes the civil status law as a replacement for the effective personal status laws to achieve equality between the sexes.

• Democratic change requires a parallel change of the structure of the totalitarian political regime along with a change of the cultural and social patriarchal system. Any democratic change, the fall of dictatorships and the elimination of all forms of totalitarianism and oppression can not be achieved without changing the culture of patriarchal system and the prevalent masculine authority.

• The struggle of the feminist movement as a social demanding progressive movement is a part of the democratic movement. As a result this will help to press for changing the status of women and the recognition of necessary achievements for equality. Also, the change and the development of women conditions must be originated from a progressive view of the issue of women that is based on liberal and secular ideas. However, despite the existence of civil pacts for human rights, especially CEDAW and other women right agreements we monitor the growing number of women's organizations that is dedicated to religious authority and thought. This in fact constitutes a major setback, and deterioration in the status of women’s rights.

In Lebanon, women are still facing many challenges especially that applied Lebanese laws still discriminate against women. Despite the struggle of the Lebanese women's movement to combat violence and the elimination of discrimination against women in all areas, the pressure on the Lebanese state to lift discrimination against women persists to achieve necessary changes. In addition to the continued deterioration of the situation and the denied rights of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon. It is from our position as female activists in women's rights issues as an integral part of human rights, in order to achieve gender equality as a condition for the development of the situation of human rights and democracy,
We must claim and assure the implementation of the following actions:

1. The application of the Lebanese constitution in terms of equality between the citizens and Lebanon’s commitment to all human rights pacts, obliges the Lebanese government to adopt a real political will to strengthen and activate the rights of women and to endorse all laws that are necessary to achieve full and effective citizenship for women and to ensure that they enjoy human dignity on an equal foot with men.

2. The importance of lifting reservations about the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the ratification of the Protocol thereto.

3- To comply with CEDAW articles and other human rights agreements , the state is obliged to amend and revise all laws and regulations that discriminate against women (the nationality law, the Lebanese Penal Code and the economic and social laws), in addition to the enactment of laws that protect women from all forms of discrimination and violence against them and ensure their safety and human dignity.

3. The development of civil status law that ensures equality in rights and responsibilities between men and women within the family.

In the International Women's Day, we extend our greetings to the Lebanese woman who faces violence and sectarian discrimination and struggles for human rights and democracy. We also relay greetings to the Arab woman who combats marginalization and exclusion and faces the siege and hostility through struggling for freedom and equality.

Greetings to all women struggling for freedom, justice and democracy.