A group of 70 women took part in a symbolic sit-in organized by “My Nationality is a
Right for me and my Family Campaign” in front of Minister Samir Mokbel’s offices in Rabye (Western beirut suburbs).
This sit-in was called for during the Campaign’s Press Conference on Monday 16 July and was meant as a protest vis-à-vis Minister Mokbels’s failure, thus far, to convene a meeting of the Ministerial commission he is heading and which was formed on the 21st of March 2012 in order to study the reform of the discriminatory nationality law. The Campaign’s communiqué, which was also reflected in the slogans shouted by the participants in the sit-in, urged the Minister to take his responsibilities vis-à-vis Lebanese women seriously and convene an urgent meeting of his committee. The Communiqué further reiterated that the current political, security and livelihoods concern can in no way excuse the failure of the committee to convene and take on immediate actions to reform the law.
In his public address to the sit-in participants, the Minister noted that the “timing” of the meeting is of utmost importance given the instability in the country and the upcoming elections which may contribute to further politicizing this issue. He quoted from earlier press conferences organized by the Nationality campaign and insisted that he shares the Campaigns concerns for a proper reform of the law.
In a subsequent closed meeting with Minister Mokbel, the latter confirmed that he is personally committed to convening a meeting with his committee members (which we have learned include the Ministers of Justice, Interior, Social Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Labor) immediately after Ramadan and that he is committed to discuss this matter with objectivity and steer it away from political toing and froing. The Minister indicated that there can be no civil society representation in that meeting but that the nationality Campaign will be consulted right after the first meeting of the committee. The Minister refrained from stating a personal view on the issue of nationality except to say that he supports the demands made by the Campaign.
My Nationality is a Right for me and My Family Campaign will follow-up on the promises made by the Minister and will re-initiate contacts, and if needed, field mobilization, immediately after Ramadan.
Beirut 19 July 2012