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International Women’s Day - 2013

Given that the issue of civil marriage was extensively highlighted in the media, we decided to celebrate the International Women’s Day by hosting a panel discussion entitled “Civil Marriage: Challenges and Consequences”.

The panel was organized on March 12, 2013 on LAU campus, and hosted several experts as well as Khouloud Sukkarieh and Nidal Darwish, the first Lebanese couple to contract a civil marriage on Lebanese soil, who discussed the issue from several angles namely civil marriage in Lebanon, its history and its link to personal status codes as well as the feasibility of contracting a civil marriage in Lebanon.

The experts were Dr. Ogarit Younan, president and founder of the Academic University of Nonviolence and Human Rights in the Arab World and a well-known human rights activist. Mr. Nizar Saghieh, a leading lawyer, human rights activist and one of the founders of the Legal Agenda. Mr. Joseph Bechara, the public notary, who drafted the marriage contract of Khouloud and Nidal, and Ms. Nour Hassan a trainer on non-violence and member of a non-governmental organization called Chaml.

The presentations were very rich and informative and triggered a lot of interesting discussions. The audience were able to ask the questions they were longing to have answered. Khouloud and Nidal registered their union at the public notary and their marriage has been approved by the Higher Committee for Consultations at the Ministry of Justice, yet it still awaits the approval of the Minster of Interior to be acknowledged by the government. One question that remains to be answered is will the marriage of Khouloud and Nidal be registered and approved or will it be moved to the drawers of oblivion since it threatens the confessional system in Lebanon.