Canadian diplomat praises Liberals for bringing “intersectional feminism” to Lebanon
Canadian diplomat praises Liberals for bringing “intersectional feminism” to Lebanon

Although Lebanon’s Sharia-based penal code criminalizes sodomy and same-sex relations, the Middle Eastern country supposedly benefits from the Canadian mission’s “intersectional feminist” approach to foreign policy.

In a speech at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship in Beirut, a diplomat posted at the Canadian embassy in Lebanon, Sylvie Michaud, lauded her government’s commitment to gender equality. 

Michaud, who briefly served as an engagement strategist for the Liberal Party of Canada before her diplomatic appointment, spoke on a “feminist diplomacy” panel at the American University of Beirut on July 2. 

“Since 2016, Canada’s feminist foreign policy seeks to be inclusive, intersectional, transformative and grounded in human rights. It takes into account the diverse experiences of women, men and non-binary people facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and exclusion,” said Michaud.

The policy applies to Canada’s “international efforts including diplomacy, trade, security, development and consular services” explained Michaud. 

“This approach comes from a place of humility,” she said. “Canada is very aware that we too face our challenges and that much work remains to be done to address systemic inequalities, racism and discrimination including for Indigenous people in Canada.” 

Although there has been a movement to decriminalize homosexuality in Lebanon, the country’s Sharia-based penal code criminalizes sex that “contradicts the laws of nature.” Additionally, anal examinations to determine homosexuality have been a significant staple of Lebanese law enforcement in the past as well as crackdowns on LGBT-friendly establishments. 

True North reached out to Global Affairs Canada for comment but did not receive a response. 

Michaud lauded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy directives which included Canada’s feminist international assistance policy and a national plan on women, peace and security.

“99% of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance either targeted or integrated gender equality results. Under this policy Canada has also established itself as a lead donor globally supporting comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights addressing inequalities in unpaid and paid work and strengthening women’s rights organizations and feminist movements,” said Michaud. 

A recent report by Arab Center Washington DC lamented the fact that Lebanon continues to employ religious courts that violate women’s rights in civic disputes like marriage and citizenship.

Additionally, Lebanon has no minimum age for marriage, with 6% of marriages in the country involving a minor.

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