UN Women Egypt in close collaboration with the National Council for Women (NCW) supported the comprehensive review of the Personal Status Laws (family laws) and Penal Code to analyze the impact of such laws on women's ability to access justice for all forms of violence. The process brought together multiple actors in the justice chain, including members of the judiciary, prosecution, police, social affairs, in addition to specialized councils to develop draft laws and/or amend existing ones to prevent violence against women, punish perpetrators, and ensure the rights of survivors. As a result of several rounds of consultations by national stakeholders, a draft comprehensive law on violence against women, that aims to support a comprehensive response to survivors of violence, including the provision of support and protection services, was developed and will be submitted to parliament by the NCW.
UN Women has been advocating for the passage of The Anti-Domestic Violence Law, introduced to parliament in 2015 and still under review. In January 2017, the law was presented to discussion in front of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, however it failed to pass the committees. The strengths of the draft bill include provisions for services for domestic violence survivors, protection orders (restraining orders) and penalties for their breach, and the establishment of a cross-ministerial committee to combat domestic violence. However, the law does not set penalties for committing the crime of domestic violence, does not repeal provisions in the Iraqi Penal Code that condone domestic violence (such as weaker penalties for ‘honor crimes’), and prioritizes reconciliation over justice.
In November, an amendment to the Personal Status Law (No. 188 of 1959) was proposed that would allow men to marry girls as young as 9 years old. The bill indicates that when issuing decisions on personal status issues, the court should follow the rulings of religious scholars for Sunni or Shiite sects, depending on the husband's faith (i.e. the Scholars' Congregation at the Shiite Endowment Diwan or Scholars' Fatwa Council which represents Sunni jurisprudence). The efforts of CSO’s, women activists, women committee in the parliament and UN agencies including UN Women led to the withdraw of the draft law from the parliament agenda by mid-November.
UN Women first acted through supporting the civil society in its advocacy efforts to align draft law no 103.13 with international norms and standards, and more especially through supporting the memorandums of the coalition Printemps de la Dignité composed of 25 NGOs throughout the national territory. The coalition is specialized in advocating to the government and to the Parliament on laws and public policies related to EVAW, and has developed a Memorandum on each of the expected reforms and defended their arguments before the Ministry of Justice. UN Women has supported the coalition providing it with tools and guidance on international norms, laws and strategies to EVAW.
UN WomenPalestine supported national counterparts to develop a Family Protection Bill (FPB) in line with international human rights standards. UNW's support included technical advice to the technical committee that was formed by the Council of Ministries to work on the FPB. UNW also facilitated the engagement of the CSOs in this process through sensitizing partners on the rights of CSOs to take part in this process and supporting CSOs simultaneously by providing them with technical and financial support to advocate for the adoption of a responsive bill. UNW has also supported the justice sector strategy to identify legislative priorities for the years 2017- 2022 , which included the penal code, the personal status law, the family protection bill, cybercrime law and others.
UN Women Lebanon, in cooperation with several activist civil society organizations, supported a campiagn in 2016 to repeal article 522 of the Penal Code related to rape-marriage, which releases the perpetrator in case he marries the victim. In June 2017, the campaing efforts were materialized with the approval of the Parliament to repeal the article.