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

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Date: 
15 Nov 2012

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Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

The current draft of the new Egyptian constitution could restrict and undermine severely women’s and girl’s rights if adopted as proposed by the Constitutional Committee. Women and human rights organizations are particularly concerned about 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. For example, because of varying interpretations of Sharia or Islamic law, Articles like these could result in the lowering the minimum age of marriage for girls to less than 18 as Islamic law allows for girls to be married off before puberty.

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

Although the Egyptian parliament remains dissolved, with no indication of when new elections will be held, a Constitutional Committee is still sitting to draw up a new Constitution for the country. Very few women are part of the Committee, which has been criticized by human rights groups for having been unconstitutionally appointed. Despite there being no transparent process for review and debate of the full draft, various provisions, such as these discriminatory Articles, have leaked out.

The current draft Constitution is incompatible with the aspirations of the January 2011 revolution and Egypt’s international obligations and commitments. Please continue to support those in Egypt who are demonstrating to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution. Urge the Constitutional Committee to guarantee 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).

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,