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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The promise of true and lasting human rights in Egypt does not include women

The recent terible events in Japan, the earthquake, the tsunami and then the struggle with the newclear reactors and the threat that's posing to the japanese people, has almost made this part of the world forget how important the future democracy of Egypt is to the egyptian people and, indeed to the whole world.

Yet it's important to remember that The Middle East & North Africa have seen millions taking to the streets to demand real change.

Women have been standing beside men, demanding an end to repression and calling for root and branch reform. Both women and men have suffered under these repressive governments. But women have also had to cope with discriminatory laws and deeply entrenched gender inequality.

Under Mubarak's abusive power, women in Egypt were often subject to violence not only
from family members and community members, but also by agents of the state, including the police supposedly concerned with the protection of all citizens. In addition, women were constantly subjected to violence in the form of
sexual harassment and abuse on the street, and approximately ninety-seven percent of Egyptian women are the victims of female genital mutilation.

Women’s right to lead a life free of violence was not widely internalized within Egyptian society, resulting in lack of reporting by victims of violence, lack of perpetrators’ awareness of
the criminality of violence, lack of response from police and the legal system supposedly tasked with enforcing
laws prohibiting violence, and perpetration of violence by authorities themselves against women in order to
pressure their male relatives.

So it’s no wonder that the egyption women took to the streets. That they cheered loudly when Mubarak departed. Or that they wanted to believe the promise of a new dawn in their country.

During the weeks in Tahrir Square and elsewhere The egyption people were able to set an example for the whole region and, indeed for the whole world to follow. protesters in Libia, bharain and Iran for example have not been as successful, but at least they have been inspired to start fighting for a transition into a more democratic system.

However, now that Egypt begins to look toward its future, women are already being excluded from the process of creating the new country.

Most recently, a new national committee formed to propose changes to the Egyptian constitution was composed only of men. Unfortunately it was to be expected, but it's unacceptable just the same.

women of diverse backgrounds and views must be at the table as full partners during the upbuilding of new systems and institutions. However the current behaviour by the interim authorities and the international community betrays a sense of paternalism all too familiar to Egyptian women who have spent decades living under an oppressive government supported by supposedly rights-respecting states like the UK and the USA.

Now that Egypt has a real opportunity to begin afresh on the basis of equality and non-discrimination for all its citizens, It is deeply disappointing that women are being excluded by the caretaker government and, that the international community so far remains indifferent.

The opportunity for the country to achieve future stability and prosperity will not last long if half the population don't have the right to play an active role in shaping the future.

Women cannot be excluded if the promise of true and lasting human rights change in Egypt and elsewhere in the region and the world is to be fulfilled.
Amnesty International has realised that It's time to tell the Leader of the Supreme Military Council - Field Marshal Muhammad Tantawi that this is not acceptible! Please help us help the women of Egypt to make their voices heard;your signature makes a difference!


Earlied said...

That is not a good news. If indeed they fight for democratic government, then the rights of women must be uphold. There is no true democracy when equality of rights are not respected and protected.

Sleepless said...

My sentiments exactly.