Egypt: UN panel criticizes restrictive measures and laws faced by women’s rights defenders
This is also available in: العربية (Arabic) متوفر ايضا باللغة
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: November 1, 2021
Members of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) have criticized the Egyptian authorities for implementing restrictive measures and enacting restrictive laws against women’s rights defenders in Egypt.
Systematic enforced disappearances and arrests:
In a statement published by the Media Center of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the committee stated that it had noticed the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and violence against women in Egypt, and the arrests of women for publishing videos online.
“Indeed, we have learned that state actors – in this case, the Public Prosecutor – have taken measures to arrest women for having published online because they were women,” said one of the committee’s members, adding that the same source told the committee that peaceful demonstrators had been killed without any prosecution or investigation to find those responsible.
“Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions of women are perpetrated in a generalized and systematic way, simply because they have exercised their rights relating to the freedoms of assembly, expression and association,” the expert continued.
Extensive prison practices against women in Egypt:
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, reported the existence of widespread and systematic prison practices that could constitute crimes against humanity. In addition, polygamy and early marriage persist in Egypt and female genital mutilation is not declining.
The Egyptian authorities’ response:
Presenting the report of Egypt, Maya Morsy, President of the Egyptian National Council of Women, pointed out that her country had adopted a clear policy in favor of women, and that 2017 had been declared the Year for Egyptian Women. In addition, the Egyptian Women’s Observatory has been established and the constitutional rights of women have been translated into laws and programs; in particular, a quota of 25% for women has been introduced at parliamentary level.
Morsy added that several campaigns have been launched aimed at empowering women and combating violence against them. She also said that legislation to eliminate female genital mutilation has been strengthened.
Morsy acknowledged that despite the great achievements and gains mentioned in the report, Egypt faces the persistence of some cultural legacies that perpetuate discrimination against women.