On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Egyptian women suffer increased repression
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Geneve: 25 November 2020
As the world celebrates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Egyptian authorities are inflicting various forms of harm on Egyptian women, even in prisons and detention centers, the Committee for Justice (CFJ) said today.
On that occasion, CFJ’s executive director Ahmed Mefreh, said:
“Egyptian authorities have not only arbitrarily detained women, but have increased their suffering by practicing multiple violations against them inside various detention centers, in a blatant disregard for all the norms of Egyptian society and international and humanitarian laws.”
CFJ has monitored 150 cases of poor detention conditions against women detainees. The month of January topped such cases, with 55 women detainees, followed by March with 52 cases.
The organisation also documented the deprivation of freedom for 145 women during the same period, as they were arbitrarily arrested in various cases, 45 of them in the month of January only, as well as the monitoring of 37 cases of torture that occurred against women in detention centers, 36 cases occurred in January as well, which witnessed the largest number of violations against women in Egypt during this year.
As for the cases of enforced disappearance, the organisation monitored 107 cases of enforced disappearance against women for the same period, 37 in January, and 22 in September – which witnessed calls to demonstrate against the Egyptian regime.
Mefreh added: “Although the Sisi government has showed attention to women’s issues recently, It has been a superficial attention aimed at improving its image in international venues, particularly the Human Rights Council. The same violations are still being committed, and the same repressive laws are in place. This has been exemplified by the case of the Fairmont sexual assault incident and how the state and its security and judicial agencies dealt with it.”
On the other hand, the El Qanater El Khaireya Prison in Qalyubia, northwest of Cairo, witnessed serious violations during the past few days, since a force from the prison’s authority, accompanied by the head of the prison’s investigations, Amr Hisham, entered the ward of political detainees on the weekend, and severely beat several of them, in addition to dragging one of them on the floor, and wounding her.
Following the incident, five female detainees were transferred to criminal wards, namely: Israa Khaled, Basma Rifat, Sumaya Maher, Nadia Abdel-Hadi and Sarah Abdullah, with the confiscation of their medication, clothes, food and drink.
The rest of the detainees were also prevented from leaving the cells, and the chief of investigations threatened them that he had all the powers to commit any violation against them.
CFJ stated that with all these violations against Egyptian women, and in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is marked on November 25, the authorities in Egypt must review their policies and procedures against women in general, and inside detention centers and prisons in particular, so that these violations against women do not lead to a social distortion that is difficult to deal with in the long term.
CFJ calls on the Egyptian authorities to release the detained women, or bring them to a trial that meets the guarantees of fair trials, and also calls for more international pressure on Egypt to respect women’s rights and support their participation in Egyptian society.
In addition, CFJ calls on Egyptian authorities to open an investigation into the violations that took place inside El Qanater El Khaireya Prison, with those responsible being held accountable, regardless of their position, returning those who were expelled from the detainees, providing them with the necessary livelihood, and not depriving them of their legitimate human rights.