Go Butterflies

Under the patronage of Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, the Good Shepherd Sisters held a conference entitled “Go Butterflies”

in the framework of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”

Claudine Aoun Roukoz: “The Good Shepherd Sisters work on the human, social and spiritual development of women and girls suffering from the absence of social justice. It is a deep human message leading to a brighter future that promotes justice, respect of human rights, and preserves the dignity of each person, including the often forgotten ones.”

Beirut, December 3rd, 2018: Under the patronage of Mrs Claudine Aoun Roukoz, President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, the Good Shepherd Sisters held, in cooperation with the Municipality of Jdeidet-el Metn, a conference entitled “Go Butterflies”, on Monday December 3rd.

The “Go Butterflies” event was attended by high-level officials, lawyers & social activists. The audience consisted of eminent personalities, agents of change and many friends of GSS. Genuine, heartfelt testimonials touched the public to the core.The Master of Ceremony, TV host Bruna Tohme, welcomed the attendees and gave the floor to Sister Souhaila Bou Samra, Provincial superior of the Good Shepherd Sisters, inaugurated the conference by explaining the symbolism of “Go Butterflies” which reflects the movement of the Mirabal sisters who were assassinated on 25 November and the butterflies breaking free from their cocoons. In 1999, in the sisters' honor, the United Nations designated 25 November the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Ms. Nouhad Hayek, the famous poet, recited a moving poem on the status of Arab women, their great potential and the injustice they suffer. Then, Mrs. Rola Tabsh Jaroudy, Lawyer and Member of Parliament, presented the current status of Lebanese laws regarding women: “As a lawyer, a legislator and an activist in the community, I will stop any more injustice towards women. There are laws that need to be annulled or amended to fit the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international conventions. As the Future Bloc, we have submitted a draft law to remove reservations on the CEDAW and to put an end to discrimination against women. We are also working on the amendment of some articles in the Penal Code.”“Today, we reiterate our commitment to exert more efforts aiming at preserving the simplest Human rights for women, including their right to life and their right to dignity. The first step in this direction is the amendment of the law to protect women from domestic violence.”, she added.

Captain Lara Kallas, representative of the General Director of State Security Maj. General Tony Saliba, explained the measures taken by the Lebanese Government to put an end to violence against women: “The General Director of the ISF has recently ordered the creation of the hotline 1745 dedicated to reporting domestic violence problems privately and immediately.  She concluded: “I also believe that women cannot reach high positions, or celebrate laws punishing the perpetrators of violence and protecting minors without the help and support of men who believe in the role and importance of women.”
Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, shed light on the opportunities and challenges facing the eradication of violence against women, especially the efforts exerted by the United Nations: “We need to change social perceptions and stereotypes to better understand the root causes of violence against women in order to influence and change social norms. In this regard, we need to encourage dialogue among different sectors of society and make this an agenda spearheaded by men and other influencers.Violence against women will only end when gender equality and the full empowerment of women will be a reality.”, he said.
Mrs. Nabila Fares, writer, Acsauvel President and Rabieh Mayor, retraced the journey of women throughout history.
Two TV and movie stars also participated to the event: Mrs. Nada Abou Farhat who tackled violence against women from her perspective with a touching personal experience, and Mr. Badih Abou Chakra who talked about gender equality by telling a true story inspired by a personal life event.
Two testimonies of domestic violence survivors have particularly marked the audience: one given by the survivor, and the other enacted with brio by actress Marwa El Khalil.

The event was concluded by Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women who stated: “It is certain that all religions reject and condemn violence and call for peace, love, and tolerance.
“On the practical level, civil society organizations play a major role in this context, completing the role of governmental institutions when it comes to the law and raising awareness. The Good Shepherd Sisters’ work with women victims of violence and marginalized children reflects the true principles of Christianity, and spreads the message of love, mercy and tolerance within our community and our families. The Good Shepherd Sisters work on the human, social and spiritual development of women and girls who are suffering from the absence of social justice, and homeless women and children living in poverty. It is a high humane message announcing a brighter future that promotes justice, the respect of human rights, and the dignity of everyone, including those who are often forgotten.”

Mrs Aoun Roukoz concluded: “Let’s all contribute in sharing this culture, each from their position and capacities, and let’s make our small families a center for security and peace, instead of violence and exploitation. Let’s make our community and our Nation a true depiction of the good that God created in us.”

The conference was followed byexhibition of paintings and photos that lasted until Tuesday, December 4. It  translated visually the theme of this event which was organized by GSS head of communication, Mrs. Wafaa Jabre Moukahal.

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The congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (commonly known as Sisters of the Good Shepherd) is an international Catholic congregation founded in 1835. Active in 72 countries, the Good Shepherd Sisters have the status of an international NGO recognized by the ECOSOC.

       
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