UN Official Calls On Egypt To Issue New Legislation To Protect Women

The Director of the United Nations Office for Women in Cairo has called for new legislation in Egypt to protect women from violence. According to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, Dr Abla Amawi insisted that such legislation must take into account the draft bill prepared by Al-Nadim Centre for Human Rights, which would bind the Interior Ministry to establish a special office in each police station across Egypt. Staff would have to include a female police officer, a psychologist and a team of social workers.

Dr Amawi was speaking at an event organised by the UN in cooperation with CARE International and the Egyptian Jesuit Association. A recent survey indicated that 75 per cent of women in Egypt have been subjected to physical violence; 49.3 per cent have suffered from psychological humiliation. Amawi stressed that the social and political upheaval in the country has increased the level of violence in society generally and violence against women in particular. Recent studies have confirmed, she noted, that the economic downturn experienced by the Arab states has led men to release their frustration in the form of violence against women. “Such violence starts in the home,” she insisted. “It is not just present on the streets.”

The Corporate and External Affairs Manager at CARE International in Egypt, Noha Abdel Hamid, said that they thought of the idea of an interactive theatre show with the firm belief of the need to educate the community about issues that are not spoken about, such as sexual violence and underage marriage. CARE is an international development NGO serving individuals, communities and local associations in poorer areas.

Speaking after the performance, Abdul Hamid rejected the classification of domestic violence as “family affairs”. Women and men, she pointed out, have been killed as a result of such violence, for which there is apparently no deterrent.

The head of the Egyptian Jesuit Association, a local cultural and technical NGO, confirmed that he has succeeded in establishing three acting teams competent in the field of interactive theatre, whereby the actors interact with the audience and thus the audience become part of the play. Lasting around half an hour, the play told the story of an Egyptian village and highlighted forced marriage and the abuse of a woman’s rights by members of her immediate family. Contributions from the audience included suggestions that the heroine, Mona, should leave her father’s house and go to another member of her extended family, and get in touch with women’s rights groups.

According to a survey conducted by the Demographic Survey of the UN in Egypt, 46.8 per cent of women who have been married have been subjected to physical violence. The rate of sexual and physical violence stand at 34 per cent. The figures do not include the rate of psychological violence.

The survey confirmed that physical violence against women is the most common form of violence in Egypt; one-third of married women have been subjected to some form of physical violence at least once, whether at the hands of their current husband or their ex-husband.

Another survey conducted by the Wisal Project for the empowerment of women through education, confirmed that physical violence is the most common, with 75 per cent of the respondents claiming that this was the case. Humiliation was confirmed by 49.3 per cent. The women identified the marital home as the place where they were most exposed to violence; 44.9 per cent said that they did not feel safe on the streets, and 10.1 per cent cited the workplace as a source of danger.

A third of the women polled believe that Egyptian law does not protect them against violence, whereas 35.6 per cent claimed that the laws exist but they know nothing about them.

, UN Women Egypt Country Director in the Qatar office has called for a new legislation to protect Egyptian women from incidents of violence against them, according to an Anadolu agency correspondent.

Source : middleeastmonitor