VINTAGE LEBANESE ACTIVISTS
Laure Moghaizel (1929–1997) was a Lebanese attorney and prominent women’s rights advocate. She was awarded with the world-renowned National Order of the Cedar (Commander), a medal in recognition of her many years of social and public service.
Moghaizel was a founding member of many organizations including the Democratic Party of Lebanon, the Lebanese Association for Human Rights, and Bahithat (Lebanese Women Researchers).
For over half a century Laure Moghaizel struggled alongside her husband, Joseph, to include equal rights for women in Lebanese law and to advocate for women’s participation in politics. Considering violations of women’s rights to be integral to the broader plight of human rights violations in Lebanon, they successfully brought pressure on the Lebanese government to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1996.
Lebanese women, among other things, owe her the opportunity to travel without the written consent of her husband: in 1974, she formed a committee of lawyers, to cancel the measure issued by the Sûreté Générale that an authorization the husband’s writing was necessary to establish a passport.
Laure Moghaizel is also one of those who in 1950 protested against the electoral law, article 21 of which states: “Can vote or elect only the Lebanese registered on the electoral lists of Lebanese men”. She was 21 years old at the time and appealed to various women’s associations in Lebanon for a meeting that will be followed by many others. A committee will be formed for the amendment of this law, then a “Women’s Week”, then a rally in Beirut on January 14, 1951. Voting and eligibility rights will finally be recognized, for all, in 1953. Laure Moghaizel is obviously not the only artisan of this change but it is a major driver, despite its youth.
She also worked for the equality of inheritance in 1959 (the girl inherited at the time only half of the part of the boy), on the elimination of the sanctions concerning the contraception (1983), on the homogenization of the age of retirement between men and women (1987), the capacity of testimony of the woman (1993) … The list is still long, and of course, essential projects remain unfinished, like the right of the woman to transmit her nationality. For Laure Moghaizel is also deeply committed to non-violent actions for peace calling for an end to the civil war. She organizes many marches, human chains, with which men and women break their “invented demarcations” with their bodies, says Nada in his book. There is also this sit-in, the night of July 27, 1988, calling for the end of the abuses and fear, and the election of a president “for peace, unity, independence and human rights. the man “. This sit-in was supported by a document spread along the line of demarcation and gathering 70,000 signatures. Lebanon lost yesterday one of the pioneers of the struggle for the defense of human rights and civil rights of Lebanese women. Laure Moghaïzel, widow of MP and Minister Joseph Moghaïzel, died yesterday at dawn at his home in the area of the museum after a long illness. She was 68 years old. Known for her tireless commitment to the public good, she quickly surpassed the borders of Lebanon by her reputation and gained the respect and esteem of many Arab and international bodies. She was recently appointed a member of the New York-based International Committee on Human Rights. A graduate in French law from the University of Lyon and in Lebanese law from Saint Joseph University, Laure Moghaïzel had, as early as 1949, founded a Committee for the Political Rights of Women, inaugurating a series of struggles to amend the laws relating to the equality and the penal code in Lebanon and to improve the situation of women in the Arab world. She was a founding member of the Lebanese Association of Women Lawyers (1960), the National Council of Lebanese Women of the Lebanese Association of Human Rights (1985), the Movement of “non-violence” (1986), the Gathering women researchers (1990) and the Joseph Moghaïzel Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights. She was a member of the Committee of Human Rights and Public Freedoms of the Bar Association of Beirut (1992), the National Commission for the International Conference on Women’s Rights in Beijing (1996) and the Commission UNESCO. At the regional and international level, she was Vice-President of the Arab Women’s Federation and the Follow-up Committee of the Arab NGO Coordination Conference. She was also a delegate of the International Council of Women at ESCWA and a member of the Advisory Committee on Arab Women at UNDP. She was a member of the international jury of the Unesco Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. Holder of the National Merit, officer rank, Laure Moghaïzel is the author of numerous studies and participated in the development of several collective books on the status of women. Among his studies and works are the following titles: The woman in the Lebanese law with regard to the international conventions, with a comparative study of the Arab legislations, legal guide No1 «Your rights at work» (1994), legal guide No2 «We are citizens (1996), Arab legislation on the employment of women.
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