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Women prisoners in Lebanon are stripped of their rights and dignity while women oppress other women


As Safir published a new report on the situation of women prisoners in Lebanon which coincided with the holding of the workshop entitled “Reinforcing the role of media to endorse the policies and the practices of human rights in women prisons in Lebanon” and which was organised by Diakonia last week in its offices in Ras el Nabeh.  The event was organised within the framework of the “Reinforcing policies and the practices of human rights in women prisons in Lebanon” project which is implemented by The Rassemblement Democratique des Femmes Libanaise (RDFL), Dar el Amal, Caritas Lebanon – Migrant centre and Diakonia.
The newspaper report focused on the field and legal realities which were discussed at the said workshop while noting the gap in the law which regulates prison (1949) which does not comply with any international standards of human rights in prison.  The report also noted that according to international standards, prisons should play the role of administering punishment, rehabilitation and protection of the rights of women in Lebanon.  According to Diakonia, this is not the case of women prisons in Lebanon where migrant prisoners suffer from gross violations such as additional exclusion, and absence of any separation between women who are detailed and those who are actually convicted.  Furthermore prisons do not differentiate between civil and penal crimes, and women who are detained are not allowed to contact their families, while cases of physical and sexual violence are not recorded.  Women' privacy is not respected and their cases are often discussed publicly. They do not benefit from any training and are not able to learn new skills or do any work for pay.  In addition, there are no libraries and no spaces for training or physical exercises.
The report includes stories of three women prisoners who reveal cases of oppression of women by women.  One narrative says that the prisoner has forgotten about oppression by men on the streets as she has to deal with oppression by fellow women prisons. Another woman talks about working for all the other women who may give her some money or cigarettes in return or may not.  One migrant woman prisoner shares her story of life in prison where other prisoners call her the "black woman" and force her to move the garbage.  She complains about being called back and being forced to do all the work and is denied food or clothes from fellow Ethiopians.
Source: Al-Safir, Al-Safir 5 November 2013

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