Egypt

Egypt: Ensure Women’s Full Participation in the Constitutional Process and Promote their Rights

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Sep 18

7 FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE: On 14 and 15 January 2014, Egyptians approved a new Constitution which contains provisions guaranteeing equality between men and women. Our partners in Egypt welcome the new Constitution, but are working to ensure these provisions are strongly implemented, particularly in the current climate where the justice system faces considerable challenges.


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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please call on Egyptian authorities to heed the voices of Egyptian women, in line with Egypt’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to ensure full equality between men and women. Urge them to:

  • change the composition of the 50-member constitutional committee so that women are better represented, with a minimum level of 35%, and ask them to employ a selection process that is representative, transparent and fair and reflects the rights of all of Egypt’s citizens.
  • form a women’s rights committee to assist the 50-member committee in incorporating women's rights in the Constitution. This committee should include the expertise of a wide-range of women, from feminist civil society and the women's movement, rather than just women representatives of political parties.

Letters should go to:

Interim President Adly Mansour
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St., Heliopolis
Cairo, EGYPT
Fax & Tel.: +202 239 019 980
Twitter: @EgyPresidency

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb
Magless El Shaàb Street, Al Kasr El Einy
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202-2793-5000
Fax: +202-2795-8048
Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg

With a copy to:

Amre Moussa, President of the Constitutional Committee
Email: amremoussa@gmail.com

Letters: 

Dear President, Prime Minister:

cc: President of the Constitutional Committee

I am concerned about the ongoing exclusion of women from the constitutional process. By announcing a 50-member constitutional review committee with only 10% of the places reserved for “women and youth,” your government has continued to ignore women’s demands and limited their full participation, especially as the small number of positions have been mainly filled by government representatives. Unless women and girls are treated as real partners in deciding the future of Egypt, they will suffer the immediate consequences, and in the long-term, Egyptian society will as well.

I also understand that there were no women at all, let alone experts in women’s rights, on the 10-member so-called expert committee that worked in secret to prepare recommendations on constitutional amendments for the 50-member constitutional committee. Drafts of the proposals leaked to the media are giving Egyptian women cause for alarm by apparently rolling back on achievements already made for women.

I therefore urge you to support the promotion and protection of women’s human rights by ensuring a broad base of participation from all sections of society in the 50-member constitutional committee. More specifically, please give due regard to women’s needs and aspirations by changing the composition of the constitutional committee to include expert women’s participation, including from civil society, at a minimum level of 35%. Please also form a women’s rights committee to assist the 50-member committee in incorporating women's rights in the Constitution. This committee should include the expertise of a wide-range of women, from feminist civil society and the women's movement, rather than just female representatives of political parties.

Also consider Egyptian women’s groups additional proposals to ensure a transparent, democratic and well-informed process, including: 

  • women’s participation of at least 35% at all levels of decision-making, including the executive, legislative and judicial authorities (which should be enshrined in the Constitution) and women’s representation in all offices and all specialties of the presidency.
  • compliance with, and guarantee that the Constitution respects, all international treaties that protect the rights of women and men.
  • preservation of the social and economic rights achieved by women in their previous struggles and a guarantee of their ability to attain them.
  • establishment of full citizenship rights and the rule of law that will lead to the revocation of all forms of discrimination based on sex, age, marital status, class, ideological affiliation, etc.

Undertaking these steps will help Egypt comply with its obligations under international law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely Yours,

Egypt: Enforce FGM law & prosecute those responsible for Soheir al-Batea’s death

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Jul 2

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and our partners CEWLA and the ECCR in calling on the government of Egypt to live up to its domestic and international obligations by:

  • Effectively enforcing its 2008 FGM law by properly investigating and fully prosecuting violations and in particular ensuring that the doctor who performed the procedure and Soheir’s father are both prosecuted for FGM and manslaughter and punished to the full extent of the law
  • Supporting and enhancing community education to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with harmful consequences
  • Ensuring that health care providers are given comprehensive education and training on the health and human rights implications of FGM and refrain from performing any form of the practice

Letters should go to:

Interim President Adly Mansour
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St., Heliopolis
Cairo, EGYPT
Fax & Tel.: +202 239 019 980
Twitter: @EgyPresidency

Prime Minister
Magless El Shaàb Street, Al Kasr El Einy
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 2793 5000
Fax: +202 2795 8048
Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg

Minister of Justice
Lazoghly Square
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 279 22263
Fax: +202 279 58103
Email: mjustice@moj.gov.eg

Minister of Health & Population
3 Magless El Shaàb Street, Al Kasr El Einy
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 2795 1821
Fax: + 202 2795 3966
Email: webmaster@mohp.gov.eg

Letters: 

Dear President/Prime Minister/Minister,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the tragic death of 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea who died after a doctor illegally performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on her at the behest of her father in a clinic in the Daqahliya Governorate, north-east of Cairo. Reportedly, Dr. Raslan Fadl who performed the procedure was interrogated by prosecutors and released on bail pending investigation. Soheir’s death tragically highlights FGM as a violation of the human rights of girls and women with serious health risks regardless of performance inside or outside a medical establishment.

FGM can have lifelong health consequences including chronic infection, severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth, and psychological trauma. No one knows how many girls die from FGM due to lack of proper documentation. According to the 2008 Demographic Health Survey in Egypt the prevalence rate of FGM among women and girls aged 15-49 is 91%.

I understand that since 2008, FGM is a criminal offence under the Egyptian penal code. Despite this ban, UNICEF reports that medicalization is on the rise in Egypt with an estimated 72% of procedures being performed by doctors in private clinics. I am deeply concerned at reports that the Ministry of Health is pushing for the police report on Soheir’s case to record the crime as “medical negligence” instead of as FGM and manslaughter. Without strong messages from the government, such as proper implementation of the law and swift punishment for the perpetrators, FGM may become more acceptable in Egypt, with women’s rights increasingly taking a back seat at all levels.

The World Health Organization (WHO), of which Egypt is a Member State, has consistently stated that “under no circumstances should FGM be performed by health professionals or in health establishments.” The World Health Assembly of the WHO passed a resolution in 2008 urging all member states to accelerate work towards the elimination of FGM, to enact and enforce legislation against the practice and to prohibit performance of FGM by any person including medical professionals.

Egypt is party to a number of international and regional human rights treaties that mandate the protection of women and girls from the practice of FGM, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Both the CEDAW Committee and the Committee on the Rights of the Child have exhorted Egypt to end the impunity for perpetrators of FGM and, following Soheir’s death, UNICEF and UNFPA released a joint statement urging “all relevant authorities to exert their outmost efforts to fully enforce the law.”

I would like to urge you to ensure that Egypt lives up to its domestic and international obligations by taking the following steps:

  • Effectively enforcing the 2008 FGM law by properly investigating and fully prosecuting violations and in particular ensuring that the doctor who performed the procedure and Soheir’s father are both prosecuted for FGM and manslaughter and punished to the full extent of the law
  • Supporting and enhancing community education to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with harmful consequences
  • Ensuring that health care providers are given comprehensive education and training on the health and human rights implications of FGM and refrain from performing any form of the practice

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Egypt: Stop sexual violence against women demanding their rights

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Apr 11

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Remind the authorities of Egypt’s obligations under CEDAW, the ICCPR and the ICESCR to provide equality between men and women, including freedom from gender-based violence. Please write to the Egyptian authorities listed below and urge them to:

  • Stop the sexual violence and intimidation tactics being perpetrated against women advocating for their rights
  • Properly investigate and fully prosecute any sexual assault whether occurring in public or in private
  • Develop processes for the comprehensive inclusion of women’s voices in all governmental and administrative processes

Letters should go to:

Interim President Adly Mansour
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St., Heliopolis
Cairo, EGYPT
Fax & Tel.: +202 239 019 980
Twitter: @EgyPresidency

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb
Magless El Shaàb Street, Al Kasr El Einy
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202-2793-5000
Fax: +202-2795-8048
Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg

Minister of Justice Mr. Nayer Adel-Monei Othman
Lazoghly Square, Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 279 22263
Fax: +202 279 58103
Email: mjustice@moj.gov.eg

Letters: 

Dear President, Prime Minister, Minister:

I am writing to express my support of Egyptian women who continue to demand their full- integration in all post-revolution institutions and policy frameworks as laid out in the 2011 Egyptian Women’s Charter. Egyptian women deserve to be recognized as full and equal citizens and should not be subjected to sexual violence for demanding their rights.

The increase in seemingly organized incidents of sexual violence, perpetrated in and around Tahrir Square, is alarming. I urge you to stop the sexual violence and intimidation tactics being perpetrated against women advocating for their rights. Please act swiftly and decisively to prevent such violence against women; to hold the perpetrators of any violence to account in a timely fashion; and to ensure that everyone, including women, is entitled to participate freely without intimidation or harassment in peaceful debate or demonstration about the future of the country. I understand your government has launched an “Initiative to support the Rights and Freedoms of the Egyptian Women,” which I hope will take strong action on the fundamental issue of violence against women as well as other issues of discrimination against women. I also urge you to comprehensively include women in all governmental and administrative processes.

Egypt’s international obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, require full equality between men and women and the prohibition and prevention of gender-based violence.

Such steps will ensure that Egyptian women and men’s human rights are respected and will contribute to a more secure Egypt.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Nairobi Office Director Faiza Mohamed on how moves to 'medicalize' FGM jeopardise decades of work to eliminate it (WNN)

1/18/2013 -- Women News Network -- "Moves to medicalize female mutilation could destroy ‘Stop FGM’ advocacy"; Nairobi Office Director Faiza Mohamed on how moves to 'medicalize' FGM jeopardise decades of work to eliminate it entirely. 

Global Nationality Review: The Real Human Cost of Discriminatory Laws (HuffPo UK)

1/21/2013 -- Huffington Post UK -- "Global Nationality Review: The Real Human Cost of Discriminatory Laws"; London Office Director Jacqui Hunt discusses our new global report on nationality and citizenship laws, which discriminate on the basis of sex.

Equality Now Calls on All-Male Committee to Protect Women’s Equality in New Egyptian Constitution (Safe World For Women)

11/29/2012 -- A Safe World For Women -- "Equality Now Calls on All-Male Committee to Protect Women’s Equality in New Egyptian Constitution"; If adopted as proposed, the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution could restrict and severely undermine the rights of women and girls.

Egypt: Postpone the 15 December referendum on the draft Constitution

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Dec 11
Update Date: 
2012 Dec 17
Update: 

President Morsi ordered the referendum to go ahead despite serious concerns raised nationally and internationally about the process for, and content of, the new draft Constitution. A first round of voting took place on Saturday, 15 December and a second follows on 22 December. We will continue to strategize with our partners regarding how to ensure women's rights are properly protected.


 

 

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Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to sign the petition!

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, Alliance for Arab Women and CEWLA, and call on President Morsi to postpone the referendum on the Constitution set for 15 December. Urge him to employ an inclusive and transparent process of review and development of the Constitution, and to ensure that all provisions clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians, in both the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations.

Letters should go to:

President Morsi
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St.
Heliopolis, Cairo
EGYPT
Fax & Tel: +202 239 019 980
 

Letters: 

Dear Mr. President,

I am deeply concerned about the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution which could restrict and severely undermine women’s and girls’ rights if approved by popular referendum on 15 December 2012. I therefore join Egyptian women and men in urging you to postpone the upcoming referendum on the Constitution. 

I am particularly concerned, as are women and human rights organizations in Egypt, about ambiguities in the text and the lack of guarantees of equality of women with men. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also voiced her concerns about both the process of developing a new constitution and its current content.
 
In support of those in Egypt who are campaigning to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution, I urge you to ensure an inclusive and transparent process of review and development of the Constitution, and that all its provisions clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians, both to reflect the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations. 

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Egypt: protect women’s full equality in the new Constitution

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Nov 15

View pdf

Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send the letter below online.

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, Alliance for Arab Women and CEWLA, by calling on the Egyptian Constitutional Committee to ensure that all provisions of the Constitution clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians both to reflect the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations. Letters should go to:

Mr. Husam Giranni
Chair of the Constitutional Committee
Qasr al-Aini Street
PO Box Shura Council – Constituent Assembly
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel / Fax + 202 227 942 733
E-mail: sharek@dostour.eg

Letters: 

Dear Mr. Giranni,

I am deeply concerned about the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution, which could severely restrict and undermine women’s and girl’s rights if adopted as proposed by your Committee. The inclusion of articles stipulating that equality of women with men, in all spheres of life, civil, political, cultural, economic and social, cannot violate Islamic law is particularly concerning because of varying interpretations of Sharia or Islamic law. I support women and human rights organizations in Egypt who are calling for the amendment or removal of all sex discriminatory articles.

I understand that the current draft of the suggested Constitution is incompatible with the aspirations of the January 2011 revolution and Egypt’s international obligations and commitments and urge you to do all what you can as the Chair of the Constitutional Committee to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution. Please ensure that the draft Constitution guarantees sex equality as set forth in Egypt’s previous Constitution and in the human rights instruments it has ratified, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,
 

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