Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Demands all actors at COP25: Know that water is life

Ensure water security for women and girls, and protecting the human right to water. This is an urgent issue in climate frontline States, where severe lack of potable water access due to climate change is an issue of right to life, water, food, health, education - with severe consequences for women and girls and their communities. In implementation, countries should undertake extensive environmental impact assessment and social assessment with a gender lens before approving any transboundary / inter-country water management projects, including hydropower projects.
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Demands all actors at COP25: Make fisheries and aquaculture sustainable

Recognize the importance of small-scale fisheries and associated coastal communities in integrated management and securing food sovereignty, and protect access rights for women-led, small-scale and artisanal fisheries in a climate-changing world. 90% of reefs around the world are under threat and fisheries remain the most urgent priority for food security in SIDs. End illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices, addressing their root causes and holding actors accountable to remove the benefits of such activities, and effectively implement flag State and port State obligations, as part of global measures to address loss and damage impacts to climate frontline communities, and for effective climate adaptation. This shift must reckon with the over-consumption of fish in developed countries.
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Demands all actors at COP25: Declare Geo-engineering and BECCS as ‘No-Go’

 Geoengineering, consisting of large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s system using a wide range of technologies, is an unreliable and untested technofix that would create more problems than what it would solve. These types of false solutions serve to uphold business as usual rather than challenge and dismantle the root causes of climate chaos. The side-effects of geoengineering could be disastrous, globally and intergenerationally unjust, and potentially irreversible. BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) for example, would require vast amounts of land, likely leading to the displacement of communities and conflicts, jeopardizing communities and women’s rights. Other UN Conventions, like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have shown concern about the global negative impacts that geoengineering could have by reaffirming a moratorium. We would urge parties to ban all types of geoengineering and focus on real solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Demands all actors at COP25: Be led by ecosystem-based approaches

Gender-responsive, ecosystem-based, community-driven and holistic approaches to climate change adaptation and resilience are essential for women’s livelihoods and for the planet. Governments should provide appropriate forms of legal, policy and financial support for such approaches. Large-scale tree monocultures and other forms of large-scale bio sequestration for mitigation form a significant threat to the lives and livelihoods of women, men, and children on the ground, and to biodiversity, also because they are far more prone to droughts, wildfires, landslides and other climate change-related extremes. All forms of public support to monoculture tree plantations should be immediately withdrawn and governments should actively convert existing tree plantations into more biologically diverse ecosystems.
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Demands all actors at COP25: Protect ecological food systems

Protect ecological food systems Promote a shift away from industrial food systems and agribusiness, including industrial livestock farming, to promote localized and indigenous crop-based food systems and agroecology. Traditional crops, seed sharing and heritage variety help deliver resilience to climate change and food sovereignty for smallholders and women. At the same time, such practices would allow for multiple benefits, including increased agricultural diversity promoting ecological diversity with indigenous varieties, healthy diets, increased household incomes and improved resilience of communities. We equally demand women’s access to productive resources and secure tenure rights to land, including within communities, which is critical to their livelihoods, food security and survival in a changing climate pattern.
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Demands all actors at COP25: Promote energy democracy

Climate actions must also promote gender responsive energy democracy and move us away from top-down, market-based approaches for energy production, distribution and control over natural resources. Communities, including women, should have control over their own energy systems as well as over other natural resources. End-of-pipe technologies such as carbon capture and storage, nuclear energy, biofuels and other unsafe energy proposals should be rejected as they still pose high risks and uncertainties over biodiversity, food security and livelihoods.
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Demands all actors at COP25: Move the money from war and dirty energy to social and environmental solutions

While Parties have committed just over 10 billion USD to the Green Climate Fund, in 2015 alone, global military spending was calculated at $1.6 trillion (SIPRI). To meet climate finance gaps and fully implement the Paris Agreement and SDGs, countries should reallocate funds away from militarization and dirty energy, including the urgent end of fossil fuel subsidies in a way that does not harm those already facing poverty and inequality, to invest in gender equality, environment, social, economic and climate justice policies and programs.

Variaciones sobre la pintura "Mosaico" de  María Jesús Hernández Sánchez  

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Demands all actors at COP25: Listen to people, not profit

UN processes and agencies must maintain both a coherent understanding and enforcement of the concepts of duty bearers and rights holders. There is a trend in multilateral processes to concentrate efforts towards private sector ‘solutions’ and public-private partnerships, through attendance and presence within UN negotiations that are responsible for addressing and regulating, inter alia, global problems created by private interests. States, as representatives of the people and especially the youth of the world, are the primary duty bearers and have a duty to regulate corporations and other actors that cause human rights violations, deplete our natural resources or contribute to climate change. In the climate arena, various corporations have irreconcilable contradicting interests: the UNFCCC aims to stabilize GHG concentrations, whereas fossil fuel companies have strong interests in retaining fossil fuel infrastructure in which they have invested and yield large profits. The UNFCCC requires robust policy and procedures to deal with conflict of interest.

Variaciones sobre la pintura "Mosaico" de  María Jesús Hernández Sánchez  
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Demands all actors at COP25: Break free from fossil fuels and unsafe energy systems

Developed countries must commit to immediately halt all new investments in fossil fuels and nuclear energy, with a clear and urgent phase out/ shift from a fossil fuel based economy to an economy based on energy democracy, efficiency and genuine sustainable and gender-responsive use of renewable energies, alongside phase out strategies and plans from developing countries based on their developmental needs. This must include national commitments to halt development of any new coal mines and close old ones as quickly as possible, as the single biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions from human activity.

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Demands all actors at COP25: Promote health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights

In fulfilling the right to health articulated in the Paris Agreement, gender norms, roles and relations should be considered as essential markers in determining the climate change risks and vulnerability indices, because these differences reflect a combined effect of physiological, behavioral and socially constructed influences including on women’s health. All policies, strategies, and plans that focus on issues of climate change, gender, and health need to be integrated and coherent with, but not limited to, the Sustainable Development Goals. We urge parties to provide universal access to health services for women and girls, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), as well as safeguards to end child/early/forced marriage, exacerbated by climate emergency, into the UNFCCC framework for national climate change strategies, NDCs, adaptation plans, programs and budgeting. When women, girls and LGBTQIA persons experience bodily autonomy and lead lives free from marginalization, stigma, violence and coercion - including sexual and gender based violence, dropping out of school and child/early/forced marriage - and have the ability to decide if, when and how often they have children, as well as have access to SRHR information and services, they and their families become empowered and more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Variaciones sobre la pintura "Mosaico" de  María Jesús Hernández Sánchez  
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Demands all actors at COP25: Ensure climate ‘solutions’ are gender-just

 Climate ‘solutions’ must strive to be gender-just and intersectional and should promote the following: 
a) ensure equal access to benefits/equal benefits to women and girls in all areas of the energy value chain;
 b) are designed to alleviate rather than add to women and girls paid and unpaid workload; 
c) empower women and girls via enhanced accessibility to basic services, livelihood security, food sovereignty, health including sexual and reproductive health and rights, ending all forms of violence against women and girls; 
d) enhance safety and human security including for women and girl human rights defenders and women and girl climate and environmental defenders especially in conflict areas; 
e) ensure involvement of women and men from local communities, groups and cooperatives in all levels of decision-making; and 
f) enhance and promote human rights of women and girls human rights. We equally demand that all women, the elderly, those living with disabilities and girls have free, unregulated access to, use and control of, decision making regarding productive resources and secure land tenure rights, which is critical to their livelihoods, food security and survival in a changing climate pattern. Gender-responsive, ecosystem-based, community-driven and holistic approaches to climate change mitigation and resilience are essential for all women’s livelihoods and for the planet. Governments should provide appropriate forms of legal, policy and financial support for such approaches. 
Elderly women, women living with disabilities, indigenous and local community women and girls as well as gender non-conforming persons, in particular, are often excluded from participation in policy making, decision-making and political processes due to entrenched gender norms and stereotypes dictating behaviour, mobility and receptivity of such actors to girls’ participation. Gender related discriminatory norms are exacerbated by other gender-related realities of girls’ lives such as time spent in unpaid domestic labour and care work, and discriminatory laws and policies, including women’s political participation and participation in public life more generally, requirements related to male guardianship that affect mobility, and often the lack of a distinct legal identity as a rights holder in the state. Notably, the lack of the ability of girls and young women to control their reproductive health and choices also serve as significant barriers to their rights, including participatory rights. 
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Demands all actors at COP25: Create a just and equitable transition for all

Transition to a regenerative energy economy based on 100% safe and renewable sources by 2035, and decentralize and democratize ownership of this new energy economy. Develop a just transition plan that protects people whose livelihoods are affected by the economic shift, including coal communities and gas and oil workers, as well as create educational programs for the transition of these workers into new, renewable energy job opportunities. A Feminist Fossil Fuel Free Future requires a just transition that implies a shift from jobs in carbon polluting industries to green and decent jobs in sustainable, clean and renewable industries. Yet, to be fair and equitable, this transition must also challenge the gendered-division of labour, which places women in often low waged, insecure and informal subsistence and service industries. This just and equitable transition should re-interrogate the very notion of labour so that unpaid care and domestic work, mostly assumed by women, is valued, recognized, reduced and redistributed. Increasing non-work time, growth of community, expansion of the commons and enhanced democratic engagement should all be objectives of this just and equitable transition. We need energy and resource democracy, where local people, particularly women, are allowed to make decisions over the use of local resources and the best way to fulfil their needs. Empowering girls with skills and opportunities to take a leading role in the just transition can ensure no one is left behind.

Variations on the painting "Mosaico" of Maria Jesus Hernandez Sanchez  

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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Demands all actors at COP25: Ensure human rights-based and gender-just climate action

The Paris Agreement implementation guidelines request countries to ensure gender responsive and participatory NDC processes. This has partially operationalized the rights-based approach mandated in the Paris Agreement Preamble in regard to climate action. While updating their National Determined Contributions (NDCs), states have to ensure that gender experts, including women and gender-related groups and national gender machineries, are being included as well as effectively engaged in that process. Moreover, it means to consider gender equality as a cross-cutting element of the NDC planning process, for example, by collecting sex and gender disaggregated data in relation to specific sectors in order to inform its NDC priority actions. The enhanced Transparency Framework’s common reporting tables must provide guidance to report on gender responsive adaptation, as well as information on finance, technology and capacity-building (FTC) provided and mobilized, as well as, needed and received.
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Demands at COP25: launch implementation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP)

 After concluding the operationalization of a robust and rights-based platform for indigenous peoples and local communities implementation must start immediately to effectively protect, respect and fulfill the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and guarantee their free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), meaningful participation, demand and receive accountability in every intervention, document, and policy, in their territories and lands as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The platform must adopt a working program that allows to incorporate the traditional knowledge 
of indigenous peoples and urban poor, rural and remote communities in all responses, taking into account their human rights, gendered needs and responsibilities, and ensuring a fair and just share of conservation benefits. 

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Demands at COP25 : Ensure gender responsive action under the Koroniva Joint Work on Agriculture

Taking into consideration the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change and approaches to address food security, methods and approaches for assessing adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and resilience, we call upon for a gender responsive, ecosystem based, community driven, participatory and fully transparent approach to climate change adaptation and resilience. Corporatization of agriculture should be stopped and the promotion of large scale industrial agriculture at the expense of women farmers, pastoralists and indigenous people. Agroecology has to be considered as it delivers multiple co-benefits (retaining biodiversity, limiting the utilization of chemical fertilizers to enable food sovereignty and social justice) and is practiced in family farming. We highlight the improper use of heavy agrochemicals by industrial agriculture that leads to unsustainable soil and water management and are to the detriment of small scale farmers, that should be prohibited. The Koroniva Joint Work on Agriculture should acknowledge that large-scale ecosystem restoration is an essential element of effective 1.5C pathways and to build resilience for everyone.
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Demands at COP25: Preserve the ocean

Develop effective adaptation and mitigation measures to address sea level rise, ocean warming, ocean acidification and address harmful impacts of climate change and environmental pollution on oceans and coastal ecosystems such as river deltas, estuaries, sand dunes, mangroves and coral reefs, which are in grave danger. This includes action to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris, nutrient pollution, wastewater, solid waste discharges, plastics and microplastics into waterways and the oceans. 

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Demands at COP25: Place communities over markets

 Previous market-based mechanisms developed under the UNFCCC have failed to reduce GHG emissions and have often caused human, indigenous and women and girls’ human rights violations as well as other environmental harms. The Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM) under Article 6 must adopt a transformative approach that moves away from the offsetting logic and be designed in a way that truly ensures GHG reduction, which enables public participation from the planning phase and empowers disadvantaged groups. Moreover, it must include binding obligations to respect human rights, gender equality, the rights of indigenous peoples, local community-led strategies, and environmental integrity and establish a grievance mechanism. 

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Demands at COP25: Effectively address loss and damage and climate-induced migrations

 The world cannot expect poor people and poor countries to pay insurance premiums for a problem they did not create. Action to address loss and damage from climate change is an independent pillar of the Paris Agreement (Article 8). Roughly a quarter of NDCs include loss and damage, and 44% of small island developing states (SIDS) refer to loss and damage in their NDCs. COP25 must accelerate and enhance the work on loss and damage, taking into account the needs of the most affected, including climate migrants. L&D finance needs to be scaled up according to common but differentiated responsibilities, historical responsibilities and respective capabilities and be channeled to the communities most affected, including women. This includes via innovative sources of finance to build a fund to specifically address loss and damage (e.g.: fossil fuel extraction levy, bunkers levy, financial transaction tax, aviation levy) that can generate significant finance independent of government budgets. Disaster risk insurance has a role to play in loss and damage and can offer benefits for dealing with extreme events, but it is limited due to the prevailing system in which SIDS, LDCs and other climate frontline states will have to pay the premiums. Insurance is also of limited value when it comes to slow onset impacts, and when disasters become so frequent that they are uninsurable.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Demands at COP25: Deliver on ambition, including finance

Enhanced ambition must urgently address the current gap in pledges and the dire predictions of the latest IPCC report as to where the world is headed. COP25 it the last chance for Parties for ratcheting up their ambition reflective of the promises to aim towards keeping warming under 1.5 degrees to prove the effectiveness of the Talanoa process held last year and the Climate Action Summit that took place in September.
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Demands at COP25: Deliver on a 5-year Lima Work Programme on Gender and a robust Gender Action Plan

 The Women and Gender Constituency views a comprehensive, targeted and resourced gender action plan (GAP) and a renewed and long-term Lima Work Programme (LWP) critical to urgently advance genderresponsive and human rights-based climate policy and action. The WGC maintains that the LWP and its GAP must be a means to support the overall goal of an urgent transition from a deeply unjust fossil-fuel based economy to a sustainable, just and equitable model of development that ensures women’s rights and gender equality. In reviewing the activities that Parties and observers have undertaken in implementing the two-year GAP, the WGC outlines key areas that should be renewed at COP25, new activities that require enhanced action and attention. 

See for full WGC submission on the GAP.  
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Monday, December 2, 2019

The The Women and Gender Constituency demands at COP25

At COP25, the WGC* demands Parties to:

 Deliver on a 5-year Lima Work Programme on Gender with a robust Gender Action Plan; 
 Deliver on ambition, including finance;
 Effectively address loss and damage and climate-induced migrations;
 Place communities over markets;
 Preserve the ocean;
 Ensure gender responsive action under the Koroniva Joint Work on Agriculture;
 Effectively launch implementation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP);

  In the context of climate action overall, the WGC demands all actors to: 

 Ensure human rights-based and gender-just climate action;  
 Create a just and equitable transition for all;
 Ensure climate ‘solutions’ are gender-just; 
 Promote health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights;
 Break free from fossil fuels and unsafe energy systems;
 Move the money from war and dirty energy to social and environmental solutions;
 Listen to people, not profit;
 Promote energy democracy;
 Protect ecological food systems;
 Be led by ecosystem-based approaches;
 Declare Geo-engineering and BECCS as ‘No-Go’;
 Make fisheries and aquaculture sustainable;
 Know that water is life.

*The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) is one of the nine stakeholder groups of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Established in 2009, the WGC now consists of 29 women’s and environmental civil society organizations, who are working to ensure that women’s voices and their rights are embedded in all processes and results of the UNFCCC framework, for a sustainable and just future, so that gender equality and women’s human rights are central to the ongoing discussions. As the WGC represents the voices of hundreds and thousands of people across the globe, members of the Constituency are present at each UNFCCC meeting and intersessional to work alongside the UNFCCC Secretariat, governments, civil society observers and other stakeholders to ensure that women’s rights and gender justice are core elements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
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Thursday, November 28, 2019

10 Things Men Can Do To End Violence Against Women

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Justice for Women

Justice for women and girls is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, with its commitment to  gender equality (SDG 5) and its promise of peaceful, just and inclusive societies (SDG 16). 

The High-level Group on Justice for Women worked to better understand common justice  problems for women, make the case for investment and identify strategies that work. 

In their report they call to action justice leaders of all countries and sectors, to accelerate implementation of the global goals for gender equality and equal access to justice for all.

Common Justice Problems for Women

Intimate Partner Violence 
The vast majority of people affected by intimate partner violence are women. The law does not protect them. Leaving an abusive relationship produces legal needs that have to be met. More than a billion women do not have legal protection from  intimate partner sexual violence.  {Source: World Bank}

Discrimination at Work
Labor legislation is often discriminatory and legal barriers to women’s entrepreneurship are pervasive, especially for married women. Women working in the informal sector are unable to protect themselves from arbitrary warrants, evictions, and confiscation of goods. Over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the  same choice of jobs as men. {Source: World Bank}

Discriminatory family laws
Discriminatory practices in family life, codified into law are a major obstacle to justice for women. Divorce is one of the most common legal needs, for both women and men. In 57 countries, women do not have the same rights as men to  become the legal guardian of a child after divorce. {Source: OECD}

Unequal access to property
Women’s access and control over land is restricted by discriminatory laws and practices, which worsens the risk of poverty. Women account for about one-eighth of total land ownership in  developing countries, while representing about 43 percent  of all those working in agriculture. {Source: FAO}

Gaps in legal identity 
Women need legal identity documents - relating to property, business, housing, marriage, employment, children or immigration status - to protect their rights and access services, including access to finance and even a mobile phone. One billion people in the world face challenges in proving who they are. Over 45 percent of women lack an ID, compared to 30 percent of men, in low income countries. {Source: UNHCR- CEDAW}

Exclusion from decision making Women judges contribute to improved justice for women.  Yet women continue to be excluded from public life and senior roles, including the legal system. In 2017, only 24 percent of the constitutional court justices globally  were women. {Source: UN Women}

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Proposed action points responding to all forms of violence against women and girls

Action points

Participating States

 Establish coordinated, multisectoral response mechanisms with a sufficient capacity for service providers to deliver public services based on the specific needs of different groups of women and girls. At the same time, improve the quality of, and access to, specialized services for women and girls, including psychosocial support and shelters (free of charge). All specialized services should be accessible for all (available in minority languages) and should be integrated into the response mechanisms. 
 Inform women and girls about available services, including through easily accessible websites, and develop long-term information campaigns using innovative approaches (posters, radio, websites, public announcements) about the steps women can take to seek support.
 Ensure state-supported and/or NGO-provided legal aid.
 Train the police and judiciary on how to protect and support victims, applying a victim-centred approach and improving reporting systems (e.g., accommodating reporting in a confidential and safe way).
 Support and make available specialist support services that take into account the elevated levels of shame in relation to sexual assaults and address self-blaming and longer-term psychological consequences.

OSCE executive structures

 Contribute to a multisectoral approach to support women who have experienced violence, including by promoting better collaboration and co-ordination between security actors, the health sector and other service providers.
 Support the OSCE participating States in addressing low reporting rates of nonpartner and intimate partner violence to the police, including by sharing and reviewing different models and good practices in the OSCE region on the extent to which they protect victims and meet their needs in practice.
 Identify, collect and share good practices regarding victim/survivor protection and longer-term support for victims, including in cases of psychological violence, as well as access to justice in response to all forms of violence against women.
 Improve OSCE training manuals for security sector actors, and include the data and findings from the survey to better inform future projects and activities on all forms of violence against women and girls, including emerging forms. 
 Organize training events for the police and judiciary on practices that enhance victim’s access to justice. 
 Support participating States in developing protocols for maintaining confidentiality and providing victim support.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Poor awareness among women of specialized victim support services and the needs expressed by women

The data illustrates that a majority of women do not know what to do in case they experience violence and that they are not aware of local specialized organizations offering support. Awareness-raising campaigns on violence against women need to be based on credible data to ensure that they target their message at the right audience. 

 Overall, 42% of women across the area covered by the survey feel that they are not well informed about what to do if they experience violence, and nearly four in ten women (37%) indicate that they have never heard of any of the three specialized organizations they were asked about42. A similar proportion (41%) indicate being aware of just one of the three organizations, and only 6% say they have heard of all three. 

  The most-mentioned source of information, advice or support women say they wanted after their most serious incident of physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a partner was just to have someone to talk to who could provide moral support (36%). Protection from further violence and harassment was particularly important for victims of previous partners and non-partners (20% and 16% respectively) and all the more so when the most serious incident included a form of sexual violence (increasing to 37% and 27% respectively). Practical help, medical help and financial support are other common needs. 

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Lack of satisfaction with the police and legal services

Victims’ lack of satisfaction with the police and legal services needs to be addressed by applying existing response and protection measures and monitoring their implementation.  
 Almost half (49%) of women who reported a most serious incident of non-partner violence to the police were satisfied with the contact they had, but 45% were dissatisfied, including 33% who were very dissatisfied. Satisfaction is lower when violence by a previous partner (46%) or a current partner (39%) was reported.  In regard to legal services, 58% of women contacting such services in relation to a nonpartner were satisfied.  
 In the qualitative research, survivors described mostly negative experiences with the police. Some women said their complaints were completely ignored, were not followed up thoroughly enough or were not dealt with appropriately, e.g., the perpetrator was merely given a verbal warning. Lack of confidentiality, particularly in rural areas, was also mentioned throughout the area covered by the study. 
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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Barriers to reporting violence against women

Barriers to seeking help are rooted in attitudes that silence women and protect abusers  and in women’s lack of trust in the authorities to help and protect them. Shame and a lack of expectations of help from the authorities play a particular role when it comes to sexual violence by intimate partners and other perpetrators. The response of professionals has to be based on a zero-tolerance policy for violence that is free of any victim-blaming attitudes and makes the victim’s needs the priority.
 The main reason for not reporting their most serious incident of violence to the police is that the victims decided to deal with the incident on their own, perhaps only involving friends and family This reason for non-reporting is cited by more than half of victims of intimate partner violence (53% of victims of their current partner and 51% of victims of a previous partner) and 36% of non-partner violence. The belief that the incident was too minor to report, wanting to keep things private, feelings of shame and embarrassment, fear of the offender and a belief that nothing would be done were other common reasons.
 Women who agree that domestic violence is a private matter are less likely to contact the police or any other organization following their most serious incident of  non-partner violence (56% did not report the incident, compared to 49% among those who disagree), current partner violence (84% versus 77%) and previous partner violence (69% versus 63%).
 Victims of non-partner sexual violence who did not call the police are particularly likely to believe that the police would not do anything (22%). Shame (38%) and wanting to keep the matter private (27%) are also prevalent reasons. Among victims of intimate partner violence, fear of the perpetrator (their partner) is more pronounced when the violence was sexual (mentioned by 28%) than when it involved some form of physical violence only. Shame is also a common barrier for these women, particularly victims of previous partners (37%).

In the qualitative research, several barriers were identified that may play a role in women’s decision not to seek help after incidents of violence:

 Shame - including shame associated with certain types of violence and with divorce.  Financial reasons - including concerns that the woman would not be able to financially support herself and her children and would not receive support  from her family.

 Lack of trust in institutions - women did not expect an effective response from the police or feared that they would not be believed.
 Lack of awareness of specialist services - women did not know where else they could go to get help.
 Fear of repercussions from the perpetrator - women were afraid that the  violence could escalate.
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Monday, July 22, 2019

Reporting rates to the police and other institutions are low

Based on the data from the survey, it is clear that women do not report the vast majority of incidents to the police, and they rarely seek support from other institutions. The findings suggest that only in cases of more extreme violence do women seek help from the police or another support organization. Even then, the vast majority of cases are never brought to the attention of the authorities or a specialized service. Very few women contact a shelter or victim support organization. 

 Eighty-one per cent of victims of current partner violence, 65% of victims of previous partner violence and 53% of victims of non-partner violence did not contact the police or any other organization about their most serious incident.  

 Victims of non-partner violence are most likely to report their most serious incident to the police (19%). Victims of previous partner violence (15%) are more than twice as likely as victims of current partner violence (7%) to go to the police.  

 When the most serious incident involves a sexual assault, victims of all three perpetrator types (non-partner, current partner and previous partner) are less likely to contact the police than if the assault was of a physical nature. 

 Among victims of sexual harassment, only 2% contacted the police about their most serious incident. The figure is higher among victims of stalking, with 13% reporting their most serious incident to the police. 
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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Long-term impact of violence on women’s health and public health

The experiences women shared in the survey make it clear that violence against women is a public health issue with significant direct and long-term consequences that may translate into economic costs for the health sector. Well-trained healthcare professionals can play a significant role in identifying and helping prevent cases of violence against women.
 Fifty-five per cent of victims of the most serious incidents of intimate partner and nonpartner physical and/or sexual violence have experienced one or more physical consequences as a result of the incident. This translates into approximately 3.25 million women in the area covered by the survey who were left with an injury or physical consequence of the violence they experienced, considering only the most severe cases they identified during their adult lifetime. More specifically:

– 2.5 million had bruises or scratches

– 700,000 suffered wounds, sprains or burns

– 652,000 experienced concussion or another brain injury

– 352,000 had fractures or broken teeth

– 147,000 experienced internal injuries

– 82,000 experienced a miscarriage

– 70,000 contracted an infection or sexually transmitted disease

– 53,000 became pregnant

– 29,000 were left infertile or unable to carry a pregnancy to term

The psychological impact of violence can be severe and long-lasting. The majority of survivors of physical and/or sexual violence develop longer-term psychological symptoms. Anxiety was mentioned most often (39%) among the women surveyed, followed by feelings of vulnerability (32%). About three in ten women say they have experienced difficulties in their relationships (29%) or depression (28%) as a result of their experience.
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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Responding to the impact of violence on women’s well-being, reporting to institutions, and raising awareness of available support

Violence has a severe physical and psychological impact, and women in the area surveyed suffer from health problems as a result of their experiences of violence. Data is essential to measure whether women’s needs are being met in practice and to determine the most efficient way to spend resources to assist women. The vast majority of women do not report violence to the police. Eleven per cent of women who have experienced previous partner physical and/or sexual violence say that incidents of violence happened after they broke up with their partner, pointing to the need for continued protection and support even after women leave abusive relationships. 
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Responding to the impact of attitudes and norms on women’s experiences of violence

Responding to the impact of attitudes and norms on women’s  experiences of violence
A continuous effort is needed to empower women to recognize that violence against them is a violation of their rights and to increase gender equality in general. The survey data suggests that beliefs in female subservience, spousal obedience, victim blaming and silence surrounding violence against women continue to persist in the area covered by the survey and that those women who hold these beliefs are more likely to say they have experienced violence. Since other research has shown that these views are also held by men, campaigns on, and responses to, violence against women and girls must take these attitudes and norms into account, they must target society as a whole, and they must also be directed at men and boys.

 Women who agree with statements on female subservience, spousal obedience, victim blaming and silence surrounding violence are more likely to say they have experienced sexual harassment, non-partner physical and/or sexual violence, and intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence. For example:

– Women who agree that domestic violence is a private matter are almost twice as likely to say they have experienced current partner physical violence than those who disagree (18% versus 10% respectively). – Women who think that their friends would agree that it is a wife’s obligation to have sex with her husband even if she does not feel like it are also more likely to say they have experienced violence at the hands of their current partner than those who disagree (with physical violence indicated by 18% of those agreeing and 12% of those disagreeing and sexual violence by 8% and 3% respectively).  – Women who agree that violence is often provoked by the victim or that women exaggerate claims of abuse or rape are generally more likely to say they have experienced all forms of violence.

 Women participating in the qualitative research thought that such attitudes were changing, and findings from the quantitative survey show that younger women think their friends are less likely to adhere to norms of female subservience  and are also less likely to place responsibility for violence on the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Action points 

Participating States 
Overarching efforts are needed to change gender stereotypes, prejudices  and biases, including:
 Mainstream information about gender equality and violence against women and girls in the education system, including by incorporating it into curricula (from kindergarten to university) and by training teachers and other education professionals.
 Implement awareness-raising campaigns for men and women on the importance of gender equality. Interventions should target society as a whole by involving men and boys. They should address, in particular, sexual violence in intimate relationships and sexual harassment. Campaigns and interventions should use the survey data and other evidence to be tailored to different groups in society.
 Improve the co-ordination of both prevention and support efforts (including with international partners), recognizing how they are interconnected, and allocate resources to address the root causes of violence against women.
 Use the data from the OSCE survey to calculate the EIGE Gender Equality Index in order to monitor changes in gender attitudes and behaviour.

OSCE executive structures
 Collect lessons learned and good practices on changing attitudes that condone violence against women and on addressing the root causes, including for specific target groups like legal professionals, police, parliamentarians and policymakers.
 Develop innovative materials for various target groups (with a focus on police and judiciary) to change attitudes of individuals, organizations and society at large.
 Share information and good practices on preventing violence against women  in the OSCE’s main areas of work through seminars, round tables and  peer-to-peer learning.
 Participate in interagency efforts at the national and regional level to promote gender equality and combat violence against women and girls.
 Support gender ethics training for the media with the aim of raising awareness among participating States of the need to address discriminatory and harmful stereotypes through the media.
 Work with education systems to establish curricula on gender equality in schools and universities
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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Action points responding to all forms of violence against women and girls

Participating States
 Update and implement national legal frameworks to prevent and address in a holistic manner all forms of violence against women and girls, including online violence, sexual harassment, stalking and psychological violence in full compliance with CEDAW and its General Recommendations Nos. 19 and 35 and with the Istanbul Convention’s standards and norms.
 Participating States covered by the survey have to improve the collection, analysis and use of data for the purposes of evidence-based policy-making. Improving data quality and accessibility have to be prioritized and linked with commitments on the part of participating States to monitor the progress of SDG 5 and SDG 16 by using internationally agreed comparable data disaggregated by sex, age, rural/urban group. This enables to review progress and challenges international commitments for ending violence against women and girls.
 Ensure the regular review and monitoring of recently introduced laws and policies on combating violence against women, e.g., women who seek help should be surveyed on a regular basis to determine their level of satisfaction with the assistance they received.
 Ensure engagement of national human rights institutions to promote gender equality and human rights of women and girls, and ensure transparent monitoring of the support provided to victims of violence.
 Provide the necessary resources and support for national mechanisms and relevant ministries for gender equality, so that they are able to conduct their key role in the implementation and monitoring of the policy and legal frameworks.
 Prevention of violence and response measures and policies should accommodate the needs of disadvantaged groups of women and girls.
 Provide specific support for (former) soldiers and their families.
 Consider addressing heavy alcohol use as a compounding factor to violence against women and girls.
 Share examples and best practices of programmes that address men of all ages, including programmes that deal with online violence.

OSCE executive structures
 Carry out a comparative study (meta study) based on existing studies by UN agencies and EU institutions on the costs of violence against women and the allocated budgets for prevention and response.
 Integrate the topic of preventing and combating VAWG and the data from the survey into all OSCE projects with security sector actors.
 Develop tailor-made approaches to accommodate the needs and challenges of disadvantaged groups of women in OSCE projects and activities.
 Research, document and share good practices in the implementation of legal and policy frameworks, as well as effective implementation plans to combat all forms of violence, including online violence against women and girls in the OSCE region.
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Friday, July 12, 2019

Nature and scale of intimate partner violence as the most common form of violence against women

Increased focus on the implementation of existing legislation and prevention and protection measures is required. To effectively respond, institutions must treat intimate partner violence as a public, rather than private, matter and take psychological violence seriously. The more severe nature of violence at the hands of previous partners and the fact that women continue to experience violence at the hands of their former partners even after the relationship has ended suggest a need for better protection of victims.
 Of women who are or have been in a relationship, 23% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and 7% indicate that this occurred in the 12 months prior to the survey. Among those women aged 18–49 who have ever had a partner, 8% say they experienced intimate physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey
 Of women (aged 18–74) who are or have been in a relationship, 20% were subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or previous intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey (SDG Indicator 5.2.1) ç
 Among those women who have ever had a partner and who indicate that they have experienced physical violence, two-thirds say that they have experienced two of more different forms of physical violence, including 32% who say they have experienced four or more.
 For many women who have experienced various forms of intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence, these are not isolated experiences. For sexual violence and most types of physical violence, including those that might be considered more serious, more than half of those who have had such an experience say this has happened more than once.
  Violence in relationships happens on a continuum. Rather than being an isolated incident, it tends to happen more than once over a period of time. Of those women who say they experienced the first incident of physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their current partner five or more years ago, 22% experienced the most recent incident in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Of women and girls who had a previous partner, 25% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a previous partner. Three-quarters of those who identified a most serious incident of violence at the hands of their previous partner say that the violence experienced was one of the reasons, if not the main reason, why the relationship ended.

Psychological violence is the most widespread form of intimate partner violence reported in the survey. The qualitative research confirms that psychological violence is considered so common in the area covered by the survey that it is a norm. Multiple and repetitive forms of psychological violence need to be recognized as undermining women’s autonomy and wellbeing, and police and other services should be trained to recognize and understand the nature and impact of psychological violence.
 Sixty per cent of women who are or have been in a relationship have experienced psychological violence committed by an intimate partner.
 Overall, 48% of women who have ever had a partner have experienced controlling behaviours on the part of a current or previous partner, with partners insisting on knowing where they were going (beyond general concern) or becoming suspicious that they had been unfaithful the most common of these behaviours (each experienced by 31%).
 Around two in five women have experienced abusive behaviours. This includes over one-third of respondents who say they have been belittled or humiliated in private (36%) and around one in five women who indicate that their partners have scared them on purpose (23%) or belittled or humiliated them in public (21%).
 Economic violence has been experienced by nearly one in five women (19%).
 Seven per cent of women have experienced blackmail involving their children, which includes actions such as threatening to take their children away, threatening to hurt their children, hurting their children or making threats concerning the custody of their children (previous partner only).

Sexual violence in relationships including marital rape41 is a reality in the surveyed area. Four per cent of women, or approximately 810,000 women, say they have been raped by their partners. This suggests that laws and the implementation thereof should treat rape within marriage the same as rape by a non-partner.
 The overall lifetime prevalence of intimate partner sexual violence is 7%, including 4% of women who have been raped by their partner.   In the qualitative research, women discussed how sex within marriage was often expected, and indeed the survey data shows that a significant minority believe that non-consensual sex between partners can be justified (17%), which may indicate that many women do not disclose when this form of violence happens.

The characteristics and behaviour of perpetrators also need to be taken into consideration as possible risk factors contributing to intimate partner violence. If practitioners recognize these factors, they can be alerted to them as a possible  warning sign of violence.
 Women whose current partner drinks on a weekly (19%) or daily basis (37%) are more likely to have experienced intimate partner violence in the 12 months prior to the survey (compared to 5% of those whose partner rarely drinks). Indeed, 67% of current partners and 71% of previous partners were drunk and/or under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident reported as the most serious.
 Women whose current partner is not working, whether due to unemployment (17%), because of illness or disability (35%), or retirement (17%), are more likely to have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime compared with 14% of all surveyed women in a current relationship. The same holds true for the prevalence in the 12 months prior to the survey.  Women whose current partner has fought in an armed conflict are more likely to experience physical and sexual violence at the hands of their current intimate partner both in their lifetime (19% versus 14% respectively) and in the 12 months prior to the survey (9% versus 6% respectively) compared with those whose partners have not fought in an armed conflict.
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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Factors contributing to a higher risk of violence, sexual harassment and stalking

The survey clearly finds that all women, regardless of their economic or social status, can experience violence, but some groups of women are at a higher risk. These risk factors include being younger, being a refugee or internally displaced, having a disability, being poor, being economically dependent or having children. Institutions and service providers should take risk factors into account, including by making an effort to remove barriers that prevent women from seeking support. 
 Younger women aged 18–29 are most likely to have been stalked since the age of 15, and 5% of them say they had a recent experience. Younger women tend to have experiences of nearly all forms of sexual harassment in higher proportions compared with their older counterparts (54% of 18–29 year olds have experienced sexual harassment compared to 42% of those aged 30 or older), in particular in relation to cyber-harassment, i.e., via mobile and Internet technology. 
 The prevalence of intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey is highest among those aged 18–29 (10%) and  those aged 40–49 (9%). 
 Since the age of 15, the prevalence of any physical and/or sexual violence is highest among those aged 40–49 (35% compared to 31% of all surveyed women). 
 Lifetime prevalence of any physical and/or sexual violence among women who consider themselves to have a disability (47%) and among those who say they are refugees or internally displaced (38%) is much higher than the average of all surveyed women (31%). 
 Women who have children at home are more likely to have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence than women who do not have children at home, both in their lifetime (24% versus 22% respectively) and in the 12 months prior to the survey (8% versus 5% respectively). 
 Women doing unpaid work in a family business are more likely to have experienced both intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence (33% versus 23% on average) and non-partner physical and/or sexual violence (38%) since the age of 15. The prevalence of intimate partner physical and sexual violence is also higher among those who are not working due to illness or disability (32%). Both of these groups of women are more likely to have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey as well as intimate partner psychological violence. 
 Women who face extreme income deprivation40 were more likely to experience any form of violence in the 12 months prior to the survey (42% compared to 27% of women who are not financially deprived). 
 Women who survived physical, sexual or psychological violence in childhood are more likely to experience it in adult life. Among those women who experienced childhood violence, nearly all of them (93%) say they have had some experience of violence, sexual harassment or stalking as adults, compared with 65% of women who did not experience some form of violence in childhood.
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Monday, July 8, 2019

Violence against women and girls

The scale of violence against women and girls in the area covered by the survey calls for enhanced efforts to implement legislation and improve or develop action plans that will address all forms of violence experienced by women and girls, including women from disadvantaged groups and minorities.

13.1.1: Prevalence of all forms of violence against women and girls

Seventy per cent of women in the survey, which translates into an estimated 16 million women, disclose that they have experienced some form of violence since the age of 15, and 31% of women say they experienced some form of violence in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Thirty-one per cent of women, or an estimated 7 million, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 at the hands of a partner or non-partner, and 10% experienced such violence in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Nineteen per cent of women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a non-partner since the age of 15. Five per cent of women and girls experienced this in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 0.8% of women and girls (aged 18–74) were subjected to sexual violence by a non-partner in the 12 months prior to the survey (SDG Indicator 5.2.2).
 Twenty-three per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner since the age of 15.
 Sixty per cent of women have experienced psychological violence committed by an intimate partner since the age of 15.
 Almost half of women have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment since they were 15 years old, and 16% experienced this in the 12 months prior to the survey, which means that an estimated 4 million women experienced some form of sexual harassment in the year leading up to the survey.   Ten per cent of women have experienced stalking at some point since they were 15 years old, and 2% were stalked in the 12 months prior to the survey.
 Of those with children or who have had children, 31% say children living with them are aware of violent incidents involving their current partner, which rises to 36% in the case of violence at the hands of a previous partner.
 Twenty-one per cent of women experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence during their childhood (up to the age of 15).
 Women identified as conflict-affected were asked whether or not any of their experiences of physical or sexual violence were connected with armed conflict. Among those who have experienced non-partner physical or sexual violence (including threats thereof), 26% say that some of their experiences were related to conflict, rising to 34% when asked about their most serious incident.39

Perpetrators of non-partner physical and sexual violence

 In relation to non-partner physical violence, a relative or family member of the victim (26%) is identified as the perpetrator most often, followed by a friend, acquaintance, neighbour (24%) or someone else the victim knew but did not specify from the list of perpetrator types (23%). Nearly one in five (18%) say the perpetrator was someone they did not know.
 While 23% of women who say they have experienced non-partner sexual violence identify the perpetrator as a stranger, the same proportion say the perpetrator was a friend, acquaintance or neighbour, and 22% say that it was someone else they knew but that they did not wish to specify further from the list of categories provided. Fewer women say that incidents of non-partner sexual violence are committed by a relative or family member (3%) or by a relative or family member of their partner (6%).
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Friday, July 5, 2019

Tanggol Bayi

Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders in The Philippines dedicated to advance women's rights as human rights.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Lebanon hosted 1.5 million refugees from Syria, but kept its border closed to people fleeing the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria. It also hosted tens of thousands of other refugees, most of them long-term Palestinian refugees who continued to face discriminatory laws that excluded them from accessing certain services and jobs. The penal code continued to discriminate against women in law and practice. Police harassed and abused lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, especially in refugee and migrant communities.
Peaceful activists and others were detained for social media posts that criticized political, religious or economic authorities. Death sentences were passed; there were no executions. A law was passed to create a national commission to investigate the whereabouts of thousands of persons who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during the 19751990 armed conflict in Lebanon.

On 6 May, Lebanon held long-awaited parliamentary elections initially scheduled for 2013; a proportional representation system was applied for the first time. On 24 May, the new parliament named Saad Hariri to serve a third term as prime minister. He was
not able to form a government before the year’s end due to political feuds.
In April, a conference held in the French capital, Paris, to support Lebanon’s development and reform pledged the country an aid package worth over US$11 billion, comprising US$10.2 billion in loans and US$860 million in grants.
In September, parliament held an exceptional session and passed 15 of 28 draft laws that had been put to vote. Most related to the aid package, but parliament also ratified the Arms Trade Treaty and approved a controversial waste management law despite serious concerns about its implications for people’s health and the environment. Access to essential services, including electricity and water, remained severely curtailed across the country.

Lebanon hosted 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including 950,334 registered with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, according to update it issued on 30 November. A government decision of May 2015 continued to bar UNHCR from registering newly arrived refugees. Refugees continued to return to Syria throughout 2018 either spontaneously or in groups organized by the Lebanese General Security. UNHCR verified through interviews at its reception centres that, as of 30 November, 4,996 individuals had returned on their own to Syria in 2018, but acknowledged that this number did not reflect the total number of spontaneous returns. It said on 17 December that, so far that year, it had been present at over 70 group returns facilitated by the General Security, involving a total of 9,895 people.
In August, the government facilitated birth registration for Syrian refugees by waiving a requirement that children born in Lebanon between January 2011 and February 2018 had to be registered within a year of birth and that parents had to obtain court documents to register the children. The move was expected to enable more than 50,000 unregistered Syrian children to acquire the necessary documents.
Syrian refugees continued to face financial and administrative difficulties in obtaining or renewing residency permits, exposing them to a constant risk of arbitrary arrest, detention and forcible return to Syria. They also continued to face severe economic hardship.
In January, 15 Syrians – children, women and men – froze to death near the Masnaa border crossing in eastern Lebanon as they were attempting to enter the country irregularly.
Lebanon also hosted tens of thousands of other refugees, most of them long-term Palestinian refugees. Palestinian refugees remained subject to discriminatory laws that exclude them from owning or inheriting property, accessing public education and health services, and working in at least 36 professions. At least 3,000 Palestinian refugees who do not hold official identity documents faced further restrictions, denying them the right to register births, marriages and deaths.

Since Lebanon passed an anti-torture law in September 2017, the National Human Rights Institute, which is mandated to oversee the law’s implementation, among other tasks, remained inactive. The government failed to allocate it an independent budget or trigger the process for nominating the five members needed to form the National Preventive Mechanism against torture.
In March, a military court acquitted actor Ziad Itani of charges of spying for Israel, and released him. He had spent three and a half months in unlawful detention. The court also charged the former head of the Internal Security Forces’ cybercrimes bureau of fabricating evidence against the actor and falsely accusing him. Ziad Itani reported that he had been tortured in detention; he said that men in civilian clothes had beaten him, tied him in a stress position, hung him by his wrists, kicked him in the face, threatened to rape him, and threatened to hurt and prosecute his family. The authorities failed to investigate the allegations.

legislation, including the penal code and personal status codes, continued to discriminate against women.

Women’s rights organizations reported that provisions of the penal code that criminalized adultery were discriminatory in practice, with more women being charged under the law than men. They also reported that the law was sometimes used by husbands and other male family members to seek revenge.
Reproductive health services specifically needed by women, such as those relating to abortion, were still criminalized. In practice, abortions were obtained generally through medication and in private clinics. However, the high cost of abortions and the lack of information about them remained barriers to women in vulnerable situations, particularly refugee and migrant women.
Civil society organizations reported that police continued to harass and detain sex workers, even though the selling of
sex is not illegal. A health NGO, SIDC (Soins Infirmiers et Développement Communautaire), reported that, in a survey of 50 women engaging in transactional sex, 45 claimed discrimination or abuse in public health care settings and 10 reported that they had faced physical abuse in detention centres or police stations.
Women migrant workers continued to suffer discriminatory practices under the kafala (sponsorship) system restricting their rights to freedom of movement, education and health, including sexual and reproductive health.

RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE According to reports, police continued to harass and abuse LGBTI people, especially in refugee and migrant communities, sometimes resorting to Article 534 of the penal code, which criminalizes “sexual intercourse contrary to nature”.
In May, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) banned several activities organized by Beirut Pride to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and detained the organizer overnight. The ISF cited security concerns following threats by an Islamist group.
In October, the General Security (GS) attempted to shut down a conference of LGBTI activists from the Middle East and North Africa region, organized by the Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality (AFE). After failing to make the AFE’s executive director sign a pledge to cancel all conference activities, GS officers ordered the hotel to shut down the conference. The GS did not explain their concerns, although the action followed threats by an Islamist group.
In July, a district court of appeal ruled that same-sex consensual sex was not a criminal offence.

Different security forces arrested and interrogated several human rights defenders, peaceful political activists and other individuals for social media posts criticizing political, religious or economic authorities. Those targeted had their legal rights violated, including the right to a lawyer. In the course of the interrogations, security officers revealed that they had accessed some of their personal data, such as messages they had sent and received on messaging services and transcripts of phone calls they had made. Most were freed without charge after a short period of detention, but several of the activists arrested were blackmailed into signing pledges that they would refrain from certain activities as a precondition for their release.

In February, the Central Bank revealed that several banks had nearly exhausted their quota of stimulus funds allocated
for the entire year. As a result, the subsidized loan programme was frozen and there were serious doubts about its future and that of the Public Corporation for Housing, the only official body managing the right to housing for middle- and low-income citizens.
In September, parliament approved an exceptional allocation of US$66 million to finance housing loans, and gave the government six months to draft a sustainable housing policy.

In November, parliament passed a law creating a national commission to investigate the whereabouts of thousands of persons who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during
the 1975-1990 armed conflict in Lebanon. Associations of families of the victims concerned, along with partner organizations, had campaigned for such a development for over three decades.

In September, the closing arguments concluded in Prosecutor v. Ayyash et al., the case relating to the 14 February 2005 attack which killed 22 individuals, including former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 others. At the end of the year, the judges had yet to issue their verdict.

Courts continued to hand down death sentences; no executions were carried out.

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