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Lebanon Update from Karama Program


At the start of August 2006, V-Day's partners in the Karama Program issued a joint statement denouncing the violence that erupted against civilians in Lebanon and Gaza. More than 50 women's organizations in the Middle East and North Africa signed on together: "We are women leaders from nine countries across the Arab Region, linked through V-Day Karama, addressing violence against women from every angle of society and politics. When political and military violence erupts, our work begins there."

On September 2, 2006, the Karama partners came together in Amman, Jordan, to follow-up with a human rights forum and benefit event for Lebanese women's organizations. The event was a major success, raising more than $20,000 for three groups: Kafa (Enough) Violence and Exploitation Against Women, the Lebanese Democratic Women Council, and the Women's Rights Committee.

At the forum, women leaders from Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan discussed their concern that any country in the Middle East region could be the next target for such violence. They recognized the need for crisis preparedness in each of their countries and addressed their own readiness for the roles women's organizations play during crisis response, political or otherwise.

The women leaders seek to reach out to international social movements for new alliances and to maintain awareness of the damage done in Lebanon and other countries. A formal mechanism such as a tribunal was proposed to place consequences on the slaughter and displacement of civilians and the destruction of national infrastructure. Karama's partners seek to keep Lebanon's suffering present in public consciousness and engaged with social movements over the long-term, to help prevent such violence from erupting again.