Out of the Powder Keg (full report)

Confronting sexual harassment and violence against women:

1- Document of violence against women:

A state of controversy surrounded the document that aims “to prevent women and girls” issued by the United Nations at the 57th session of the Committee, which was held in March last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood issued a strongly worded statement and launched attack campaign against the document, claiming that it grants girls sexual freedom, and the freedom to choose their sex partner – choosing to have normal or abnormal sexual relationship – they also claimed that the document provides teenagers with the rights to get contraception and to be trained on how to use them in addition to legalization abortion and getting rid of pregnancy, the MB claimed that the document gives homosexuals all the rights, protection and respect, and it also protects women in the field of prostitution and it gives equality in getting the inheritance in addition to other things.
The Building and Development Party or El-Benaa Wa El-Tanmia‎ dennounced the document issued by the United Nations, when Hisham al-Nagar, member in the media committee of the party, said that the document include items that would seriously dismantle the structure of the Egyptian family and tear its fabric.
Major General Adel Afifi, member in Human Rights committee in Shura Council said that this document is considered as “Apostasy in Islam.”
Salafist call condemned the document that prevents all forms of violence against women and girls and described it as “corrupt.”

The document demanded a systematic and integrated approach to preventing violence against women and girls and to defend their rights as what the agreement on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women states, the document also called for wider integration of prevention strategies, within the framework of policies and programs related to public health, in order to include reproductive health and others.
The recommendations also called for acting to achieve universal ratification of the agreement on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, and the withdrawal of all reservations on the agreement, plus the ratification of the optional protocol, in addition to reviewing, revising or amending laws and policies that include provisions against women and girls.

The United Nations Commission concerned with women agreed on non-binding declaration that states to combat violence against women, the announcement confirms that women all over the world deserve the same rights as men. Some Muslim and Arab countries expressed reservations regarding the announcement, but have not halted it. Egypt has approved the document after requiring that it will be executed according to legislations and laws of each country, taking into account the traditions of each community.

2- Establishment of a unit to address violence against women in police stations

Interior Ministry issued a decision to establish a special unit in police stations to confront violence against women, the Unit will be involved in researching and investigating cases of harassment, beatings, and all forms of violence against women in Egypt.
This decision comes in response to the demands of campaign called “street safe for everyone” and initiated by the center in 2005 to combat sexual harassment in Egypt, and on the legal level:

Necessity of creating a special crimes unit specialized in cases of violence against women and sexual harassment, the unit’s tasks include receiving reports with respecting the privacy of the women who filed the claims, in order to encourage women to interact with security officials to reduce harassment, but with including cooperation from civil rights organizations to follow the work of police departments in dealing with complaints and incidents of harassment to develop the partnership between all concerned parties.

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