Dec 7th, 2017

LEBANON’S MINISTRY OF HEALTH BACKS #NOTBEFORE18 CAMPAIGN

Not Before18 Nemonic With Ministry Of Health Logo Dec 2017

CAMPAIGN PUTS MEDICAL CASE FOR RAISING LEGAL AGE OF MARRIAGE TO 18 

BEIRUT, Lebanon (7 December 2017):  In response to the #NotBefore18 campaign which puts the life threatening medical case for raising the legal age of marriage to 18, Lebanon’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, Mr. Ghassan Hasbani, recently signed an agreement of partnership with The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering (RDFL), the gender equality NGO responsible for the campaign.

In the announcement, Hasbani expressed the Ministry’s commitment to help raise awareness on this critical issue. Supporting on all fronts the Ministry will spread the campaign message at over 1,200 medical outlets across Lebanon’s pharmacies, hospitals, first aid centers and the ministry’s offices, and leverage its own assets, the Ministry of Health’s website and social media channels.

The #NotBefore18 campaign tackles the issue of child marriage from a medical perspective, reducing the problem to its one common denominator – that of the life threatening medical conditions pregnancy in females under the age of 18 can cause.  The new angle lent itself to a #rawlife, #nofilter treatment, and introduced an unusual protagonist to deliver the campaign message, Dr Faysal al Kak, President of the Arab Association of OB-GYN.

Commenting on the agreement, Hasbani said, “It is crucial to raise awareness of the life-threatening medical conditions linked to early marriage in order to limit and avoid such cases. The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health is ready to support every cause that aims to protect the health of Lebanese citizens and fight for their rights, especially when children are involved.”

The #NotBefore18 campaign’s major asset was an online film, which garnered more than 200K views and 500 reposts in just five days, prompting Lebanon’s Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, to send the proposed new law – drafted by RDFL with a committee of legal experts, judges, and MP Elie Keyrouz - to the Administration and Justice Committee for consideration.

Hayat Mirshad, Head of Media at RDFL, added: “The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health backing #NotBefore18 campaign means a lot to RDFL. It strengthens our drive to push our efforts further on such a critical cause. Having members of the government supporting the cause gives us hope in raising the legal age of marriage to 18.  And having Lebanon’s Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri send the proposed new law to the Administration and Justice Committee for consideration is a tremendous step towards the law being adopted. But our work is not yet over. The law still needs to be sent back to Parliament for ratification. We will not stop protecting the rights of vulnerable young girls and teenagers until the law is passed.”

 

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