NCW participates in Egypt’s Permanent Mission to UN's virtual session on national efforts to combat violence against women

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Wed, 09 Jun 2021 - 03:01 GMT

FILE – NCW head Maya Morsy - NCW

FILE – NCW head Maya Morsy - NCW

Egypt’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva organizes virtual session on ‘Egypt’s efforts to combat violence against women: achievements, challenges and recommendations’

CAIRO - 9 June 2021: Egypt’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, in cooperation with the National Council for Women (NCW), organized on Tuesday a webinar on efforts to combat violence against women in Egypt.

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered an opening speech, reporting an increase in cases of violence against women during the coronavirus pandemic. She underscored the link between violence against women and human rights, including the right of equality.

Bachelet hailed the Egyptian efforts in this regard, including the setting a national strategy for women empowerment 2030. She also praised the efforts exerted by the National Council for Women and the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM.

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Maya Morsy, the head of the NCW, has been the main speaker during the conference. Egypt's Permanent Representative at the UN Office in Geneva Ahmed Ehab Gamal El-Din managed the webinar.

Participants in the meeting included former minister and member of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Nicole Ameline and UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Šimonovic.

Also, Maged Othman, a member of the National Council for Women and the head of the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera); Frederica Meijer, representative of the UN Population Fund in Egypt; Christine Arab, UN women Egypt country representative; and Iman Bibars, the regional representative for Ashoka Arab World (AAW) in the Middle East, attended the webinar.

Heads and representatives of a number of diplomatic missions in Geneva as well as a number of people concerned with the Egyptian affairs from Western countries have attended.

Dr. Morsy, during the webinar, displayed Egypt’s efforts in the field of protecting women and eradicating all forms of violence against women.

“The Egyptian women enjoys the presence of a political leadership that believes in the significance of her role and supports her capabilities and potentials,” Morsy said.

She noted that this leadership is “eager to give her [the Egyptian women] the opportunity to contribute effectively to promoting the development process the country is witnessing.”

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Morsy said the state is committed, as per the Egyptian Constitution of 2014, to protecting women from all forms of violence they face.

Over the past years, many laws have been ratified and amended to ensure full equality and equal opportunities for Egyptian women, Morsy said.

This includes toughening the penalties of the FGM and sexual harassment and issuing a law to criminalize the deprival from inheritance, Morsy explained.

In 2020, the year of the pandemic, a law was issued to face the ex-husbands evading “nafaqah”, the financial support they are committed to providing for their wives after divorce as per the Islamic law.

The law of protecting the personal data was also issued, Morsy said.

Also, a law regulating the litigation procedures for personal status matters related to guardianship over money was amended.

A law was also issued to amend some provisions of the criminal procedures law, to protect the information of the victims of sexual harassment, violence and indecent assault from being revealed, Morsy added.

Morsy said the state is working to eradicate all forms of violence against women in light of the national strategy for women empowerment 2030, which the president ratified in 2017 as a road map for the Egyptian Cabinet. 2017 was declared the year of the Egyptian woman.

The state’s efforts to eradicate violence against women also comes within the national strategies to fight child marriage, human trafficking and illegal immigration.

Morsy said Egypt was the first country in the Arab region to launch the Economic Cost of Gender-Based Violence Survey (ECGBVS) in 2015.

The NCW head said the council has launched a report on the national strategy to eradicate violence against women 2015-2020, which aimed to shed light on the most significant strategic outcome of the strategy between April 2015 and April 2021.

The report served as a transparent tool for male and female citizens to understand the achievements and the challenges, an explanation of the monitoring and evaluation process carried out during the implementation of the national strategy to eradicate violence against women, Morsy said.

The report also aimed to help planning the required future steps to ensure the continuation of the efforts made to eradicate violence and discrimination, Morsy noted.

The NCW head said Egypt has established the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM headed by the NCW and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.

Awareness campaigns launched by the committee in all governorates managed to achieve a reach of more than 76 million over two years, Morsy noted.

The Egyptian government has established a number of mechanisms to ensure gender equality and combat violence and discrimination against women in all fields, Morsy said.

These mechanisms include the units to ensure equal opportunities in the ministries as well as units fighting violence against women in the Ministry of Interior as well as the human rights sector in the ministry and the human, women and children rights sector in the Ministry of Justice, Morsy explained.

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This is in addition to the role played by the women's complaints office in the NCW, which consists of a trained legal working group to provide the legal advice required for women filing complaints at the office and its branches in the governorates.

The office provides legal and psychological assistance to women and receives complaints and inquiries through the hotline (15115) or personal meetings, Morsy said.

She also noted that the are eight digital offices for family prosecution services, in addition to anti-harassment units in universities, and “Safe Woman” units in university hospitals.

For her part, Nicole Ameline, a member of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, has expressed appreciation for the Egyptian government’s efforts to fight violence against women. She also hailed Morsy’s role in this regard.

Ameline praised Egypt’s national strategy for women empowerment and the legal framework designed to protect women under the 2014 Constitution.

She called for a rapprochement between the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the national institutions concerned with human rights and civil society to prevent rather than combat violence against women.

Ameline highlighted the necessity to bridge the gap between the legal framework and actual practices, through the good preparation of judges and the forces enforcing the law to tackle cases of violence against women.

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Šimonovic hailed Egypt’s efforts in fighting violence against women and expressed appreciation for the chance to exchange visions with Egypt to push forward efforts in this field.

Maged Othman, a member of the National Council for Women and the head of Baseera, displayed the efforts made by the Egyptian women observatory as a center that aims at participating in the women empowerment and gender equality policies.

The observatory enables information and statements on the women rights in Egypt, conducts surveys and setting a system for assessment of the sustainable development indications.

Frederica Meijer, representative of the UN Population Fund in Egypt, hailed the Egyptian government’s big achievements in combating violence against women.

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She also hailed Egypt’s launch of the Economic Cost of Gender-Based Violence Survey (ECGBVS) in 2015 and the state’s efforts to fight FGM, which contributed to decreasing the FGM cases by 63 percent.

Meijer stressed her support to the Egyptian government in reducing the FGM and fully eradicating such practice by 2030.

Christine Arab, UN women Egypt country representative, underscored the importance of enhancing dialogue to combat violence against women.

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She affirmed the need for women empowerment as a requirement for achieving high development rates in Egypt.

Arab discussed the root causes of violence against women, which she said stems from social norms. She said these causes need to be treated through education and the change of this social vision.

Iman Bibars, the regional representative for Ashoka Arab World (AAW) in the Middle East, displayed in details the four main axes to combat violence against women.

These axes are represented in the necessity for the presence of political will, legal framework and mechanisms to execute this agreed upon legal framework, Bibars explained.

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She affirmed the need to engage the civil society in the state’s efforts in this regard.

Egypt's Permanent Representative at the UN Office in Geneva Ahmed Ehab Gamal El-Din expressed appreciation for Bachelet for participating in the webinar.

He said this participation reflects the commissioner’s appreciation of the efforts made by the Egyptian government in this regard.

Gamal El-Din commended the great efforts made by the NCW to promote and protect women's rights in Egypt in cooperation with civil society organizations, as an essential partner of the government in the promotion of human rights.

Gamal El-Din said the steps the Egyptian state has taken on the legislative, institutional and executive tracks in connection with women's rights express a real political.

This political will reflects the Egyptian government's commitment to creating a suitable general climate for the establishment of a modern civil state, Gamal El-Din said.

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He added that one of the foundations of this modern state is justice, equality and empowering all groups people, on top of which are women.

Gamal El-Din highlighted that many of the unprecedented steps that have been taken in this field in recent years took place thanks to the exceptional support and care the political leadership provided to women's rights.

Discussions during the webinar highlighted the Egyptian government’s commitment to protect women against all forms of violence, he said.

The discussions also revealed several chances for cooperation among the government, the NCW, the Egyptian civil society and the UN organizations to protect the Egyptian women’s dignity and enable them to perform their desired role in developing the state and the society, he added.

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