Signing and ratifying CEDAW
16 April 1997 – The Lebanese state signed and ratified the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which lays out women’s social, economic, political, and civil rights, and stipulates non-discrimination and equality. Although the signing and ratification of CEDAW helped the Lebanese state to achieve big strides for women, it had some reservations. These reservations included article 9 (2), which seeks to give men and women equal rights with regards to the power to pass on their nationality to their children. Other reservations were against article 16 (1) (c) (d) (f) and (g), which addresses the eradication of discrimination against women in family and marriage matters, such as the rights and responsibilities in marriage, guardianship, and personal rights, including choosing a “family name and a profession.” Additionally, the Lebanese state decreed that it does not commit to Article 29’s paragraph 1 which gives the options of referral to a) arbitration or b) the International Court of Justice, in the event of a disagreement on the interpretation of CEDAW clauses. These reservations evoked responses from countries like Denmark, as well as the Committee for the Follow-Up on Women’s Issues, to question the Lebanese state’s commitment to CEDAW. It is worth noting that these reservations were maintained, and the National Commission for Lebanese Women made little efforts to amend them. Despite the Lebanese government’s establishment of the Women’s Affairs Ministry in later years, the government still lacks the political will to implement any national programme designed for empowering women and ending violence against them.