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A sit-in by women in front of the Ministry of Justice in solidarity with the rights of women prisoners in Lebanon

11-12-2013

The Rassmeblement Democratique des Femmes Libanaises, organised in collaboration with Dar el Amal, a sit-in in solidarity with the rights of women prisoners in Lebanon.  The slogan of the sit in was “they have the right to live in dignity” and was organised to coincide with the international 16 day campaign to combat violence against women and within the framework of the joint project entitled “Reinforcing the role of media to endorse the policies and the practices of human rights in women prisons in Lebanon”.
The women activists delivered a Memorandum of demands to the Minister of Justice requesting him to take into consideration the special needs of women prisoners, namely conducting a general medical exam as soon as they are detailed or incarcerated in addition to upholding their rights to be rehabilitated and reintegrated in society, upholding their right to communicate with their families, and to access legal and psychological support.  The Memorandum also calls for operationalising the existing legal aid support within the Ministry of Justice and for reducing detention and incarceration time.  The Memorandum further requests that the administration of prisons be improved, and prison wardens, physicians, nurses and doctors be trained in gender and in rights based approaches.
In a related vein, Al Akhbar newspaper published a report on the situation of women prisons highlighting that they are architecturally ill equipped to serve as prisons except in the case of the women prison in Tripoli.  This matter has negative consequences on the situation within prisons which fluctuates between bad and inhumane according to the study carried out by NGOs with regards to the condition of incarceration centres for women.  The report also noted that services provided by NGOs are partial, with religious NGOs leading in the provision of services in the midst of a quasi absence of educational, entertainment and cultural services.  A previous study carried out three years ago noted that of 10000 NGOs registered at the Ministry of Interior; only 20 associations are active within women prisons of which 10 groups do occasional one-time activities.  The study further highlighted the absence of coordination amongst these NGOs.
Source: Al-Akhbar, Al-Safir, Al-Nahar, The Daily star 11 December 2013

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