Political participation

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

Action Number: 
38.4
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: 

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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,

Soheila Vahdati Bana

Elevating the issues of Iran’s women to the world’s stage
Sohelia Vahdati Bana

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Afghanistan: Peace and Security Undermined: Suspension of Malalai Joya from Parliament

Action Number: 
21.5
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2007 Oct 1

Malalai JoyaMalalai Joya entered Afghanistan’s new Parliament in September 2005 pledging to “protect the rights of the oppressed and safeguard women’s rights.”  She won the second highest number of votes in Farah province, taking her seat in the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga).  A staunch critic of the warlords and defender of women’s rights, Malalai has consistently been stopped from speaking in Parliament or had speeches cut short, h

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the officials below calling for the reinstatement of Malalai Joya and a full investigation into the way she was excluded from representing her constituency and participating in parliamentary proceedings.  Remind them of the provisions of the Afghan Constitution that guarantee freedom of speech and women’s equality.  Insist that the right of Malalai Joya and all other Members of Parliament to peacefully express their views be protected and that procedures be put in place to prevent the suppression of free speech and democracy.  Call on these officials to ensure the personal safety of Malalai and all others seeking to protect and promote their full equal rights under the Constitution.

President Hamid Karzai
Gul Khana Palace
Presidential Palace
Kabul, Afghanistan
president@afghanistangov.org

Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Afghan Supreme Court
Charai Seahat Hama
Microyana
Kabul, Afghanistan

Yunus Qanooni, Speaker of the House
Afghanistan National Assembly
Wolesi Jirga
Kabul, Afghanistan

Please send copies of your letters to: 

Dr. Husn Banu Ghazanfar
Minister of Women’s Affairs
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Shar-e-naw
Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Access to Justice for Afghan Women—A New Chief Justice

Action Number: 
21.4
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2006 Dec 1

In December 2004 Equality Now issued Women’s Action 21.3 to highlight issues affecting Afghan women’s access to justice.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to Chief Justice Azimi congratulating him on his appointment as Chief Justice, and urging him, together with the other Supreme Court judges, to take a leadership role in promoting and protecting the rights of women in accordance with Afghanistan’s Constitution and the international human rights standards, including CEDAW, to which Afghanistan is a party.  Reinforce the critical role they can play in enforcing equal protection of the law for women and sending a strong signal that violence against women in Afghanistan will not be tolerated.  Letters should be addressed to:

Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Afghan Supreme Court
Charai Seahat Hama
Microyana
Kabul, Afghanistan

with a copy to: 

Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Danish
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Pashtunistan Watt
Kabul, Afghanistan
Email: info@moj.gov.af  

Afghanistan: Access to Justice for Afghan Women

Action Number: 
21.3
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Dec 1

Afghan womenThree years since the formal end of the war and the removal of the Taliban from power, the situation in Afghanistan continues to threaten the safety, security, and human rights of Afghan citizens, particularly Afghan women.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to President Karzai and call on him to replace Chief Justice Shinwari, together with all other judges who are not prepared to uphold the provisions of Afghanistan’s Constitution and international law that provide for equality between men and women and prohibit all forms of discrimination. Urge President Karzai to appoint a new Chief Justice and ensure the appointment of Supreme Court judges who will uphold all the provisions of Afghanistan’s Constitution, including its prohibition of discrimination against women. Please send a copy of your letter to the Afghan Ambassador to your country.

President Hamid Karzai
The Palace
Protocol Office
Kabul
Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Peace, Security and the Role of Women

Action Number: 
21.2
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 Apr 1

Several months after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghan women are still unsafe in their own country. Large parts of Afghanistan are controlled by local warlords, competing for power and taking revenge for past injustices committed by the largely Pashtun Taliban. Women, particularly of the Pashtun ethnic group, are reportedly being subjected to widespread rapes, beatings, kidnappings and other forms of violence and intimidation.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking him to circulate your letter to the other Security Council members. Call on the Security Council to authorize the immediate expansion of UN-authorized security forces in Afghanistan and to post these forces throughout the country with a mandate to disarm warring factions. Please also write to the President of the United States, urging him to reverse United States opposition to the expansion of the security forces and noting the special responsibility of the United States Government to help rebuild Afghanistan following the destruction caused by US bombing in the war. Urge him also to ensure that the funding commitments made by the United States and other donor countries in Tokyo are honored and delivered without further delay. Letters should be addressed to:

Security Council President for July 2003
H.E. Mr. Inocencio F. Arias
Permanent Mission of Spain
823 United Nations Plaza
345 East 46th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-949-7247
Email: spain@spainun.org

Security Council President for September 2003
Sir Jeremy Quentin Greenstock, KCMG
Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 28th Floor
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-745-9316
Email: uk@un.int

Security Council President for August 2003
H.E. Dr. Mikhail Wehbe
Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic
820 Second Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-983-4439
E-mail syria@un.int

Security Council President for October 2003
H.E. John D. Negroponte
Permanent Mission of the United States
799 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-415-4443
Email: usa@un.int

Afghanistan: Terrorism, The Taliban and The Role of Women in Peace and Security

Action Number: 
21.1
Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2001 Oct 1

On 11 September 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, killing more than five thousand innocent people from more than eighty countries and adding the United States to the long list of nations that have suffered from terrorism. On 7 October 2001, the United States began bombing in Afghanistan, in a declared "war on terrorism" after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan failed to turn over Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the 11 September attacks.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking him/her to circulate your letter to the other Security Council members. Call on the Security Council to authorize collective action in Afghanistan by Member States of the United Nations, in consultation with Afghan women's organizations and other currently disempowered elements of civil society. Urge the Security Council to consider new and creative forms of intervention in accordance with its mandate under Chapter VII - to restore peace and maintain security, to contribute towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to undertake a long-term initiative designed to create an environment conducive to free and fair elections in Afghanistan with the participation of all people, including women, on the basis of equality.

Security Council President for November
H.E. Patricia Durrant
Permanent Mission of Jamaica
767 Third Avenue, 9th floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: 212-935-7607
Email: jamaica@un.int

Security Council President for December
H.E. Moctar Ouane
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mali
111 East 69th Street
New York, NY 10021
Fax: 212-472-3778
Email: mali@un.int

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