Amnesty International wants Lebanon to combat sexual harassment

Amnesty International announced Wednesday that it is "shameful" that "women MPs in the Lebanese parliament, especially those who criticize the authorities, are being harassed by their male counterparts and by the Speaker himself simply because they are women in a parliament dominated by men."

"Lawmakers , especially Speaker Nabih Berri, must shoulder the responsibility of ending this abuse of women and stop encouraging a hostile environment for women," Amnesty said in an Arabic-language tweet.

"Parliament should respect human rights and implement the law criminalizing sexual harassment that was issued in 2020!" it urged.

The appeal comes a day after the MPs Halima Qaaqour, Cynthia Zarazir and Paula Yacoubian faced verbal attacks from male colleagues during a legislative session. Zarazir also made shocking allegations about the bullying and sexual harassment she has faced since becoming an MP.

“Sit down, wait till the end and be quiet,” Berri told Qaaqour at the beginning of the session when she objected to the manner in which a vote was being conducted.

And when Zarazir stood up for her colleague later in the session, MP Qabalan Qabalan of Berri's bloc interfered to make fun of her family name and slam the three female MPs as “cockroaches.”

Zarazir later decried in a statement that she has regularly faced sexual catcalling from male colleagues. She also said that she has been bullied over her family name, has been denied a proper parking spot for her car and had been given a "filthy" parliament office in which she found rotten food, "used and unused condoms" and "Playboy magazines."


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