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Parliament passes law criminalizing sexual harassment, amends domestic violence bill 


The Lebanese parliament yesterday approved the law criminalizing sexual harassment and rehabilitating its victims, and endorsed amendments to the domestic violence law 6 years after its enactment. Speaking to Al Akhbar, lawyer Karim Nammour pointed to several flaws in the bill that could jeopardize the protection of victims of harassment. The law, Nammour explained, places on the victim the burden of proving the harassment act rather than requiring the perpetrator to prove his innocence. It also sidelined moral harassment in the workplace which could directly affect the professional training, continuity in the job or even promotion of the victim, Nammour added. He went on to say, that the new law does not give a say to civil courts or arbitration councils, only the criminal justice system. As for amendments on the law protecting women and family members from domestic violence, Al Akhbar mentioned the following measures: increasing the number of judges in charge of domestic violence cases; ensuring the victim is aware of her rights before the judiciary and in the presence and support of a social worker; ensuring the inclusion of children aged 13 and under in the protection order, as compared to the former bill which protects only those within the legal age of custody in accordance with the personal status law terms, and finally, granting any minor the right to claim protection without consent of his guardian. (Al Akhbar, December 22, 2020)

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