A workshop to discuss the Bill on Protection against Domestic Violence

For the second time in four years

A workshop to discuss the Bill on

Protection against Domestic Violence

Iraqi Al-Amal Association (IAA) conducted its second workshop in Beirut, which continued for three-days (22-24, July 2016), to discuss the draft bill on “Protection Against Domestic Violence”. The workshop was held in cooperation with the Women, Family and Children’s Parliamentarian Committee and it was supported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. Legal Counselor Leila Awada, from “Kafa” Lebanese Society,   directed most of the workshop’s sessions. IAA had already held the first workshop in Beirut in the summer of 2012.

The workshop was attended by 12 members of the Iraqi Council of the House of Representatives, of various political blocs, two representatives of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, a legal consultant of the house of representatives, and two judges, experienced in the field of personal status and Islamic jurisprudence and violence against women, and a representative of the National Security Agency and a number of civil society activists and one journalist.

About workshop’s objective, activist Hanaa Edwar head of IAA said: “Our aim is to explain and discuss the important bill, and to work with the MPs and consultants, in order to reach the full conviction required to adopt and defend this bill, which we hope that the current session of the House of Representatives will be able to vote on and pass it”. Adding: “this law will be a real shield against domestic violence, committed by one family member against another reaching to a relative of the fourth degree, mostly women and children are the victims of such practices, which constitute a hidden crime. The bill includes mechanisms for the protection of victims such as creating safe centers and providing the necessary care and rehabilitation, and to punish the perpetrators of these crimes. Also, there are other steps that could be taken by the media and civil society organizations and other parties to limit the phenomenon of domestic violence, which escalated to levels that cannot be tolerated”.

It was clear, since the first few minutes, that the workshop will witness a fruitful debate, when a proposal was made to amend the law’s name from (protect) to (anti).  The proposed articles of the law were discussed, article by article; some of the articles took a long time in order to arrive to a formula that satisfied everyone. The two specialized judges made great and significant input    in   clarifying and resolving the re-drafting of the articles, and it appeared clearly that many MPs participants had a solid legal background and high competence in the field of law.

Experts, who attended the workshop, stressed that the discussions, and the convictions reached by MPs, will help to make the bill into a law, when presented to parliament for a vote after the completion of the second reading, and should be followed by meetings and other conversations with the heads of political blocs about the importance of this law in family protection, and for the community’s healthy recovery from violent behavior and social norms degrading to human dignity.

In conclusion, civil activist Jamal Jawahiri  said: “This law, is as significant as any important laws (which make a difference in the society), it needs the efforts of many parties to introduce it, and explain its contents through media and advocacy campaigns, explaining  the importance of the law, to limit violence that affects families, and which seems sometimes like a reality resistant to change” he added:” the positive heartening thing is that many MPs seem enthusiastic about the passing of the bill. They and others will be remembered for being behind the elimination of deep rooted phenomenon in our society. “

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