5 October 2012

Egypt: Women Demand Law Criminalizing Violence Against Them

Hundreds of activists and politicians called on President Mohamed Mursi in a march on Thursday to swiftly issue a law criminalizing physical violence against women.

The participants expressed their rejection for women's status in the new constitution as well as women's representation percentage in the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the constitution.

Women associations organized on Thursday a protest in front of the presidential palace where they proposed a draft law to criminalize physical violence, pointing to the growing sexual harassment phenomenon on the street.

Members of these associations chanted slogans against the Islamic currents which they accuse of assaulting the gains and freedom of women.

"The constituent assembly does not represent the Egyptian people," Nour al-Hoda Zaki, one of the participants in the protest, said. She declared her rejection of what she called the "weak representation of women" (in the assembly).

Zaki called for reforming the assembly and drafting a constitution that criminalizes physical violence and does not promote sectarianism.

Gihan Abu Zeid, United Nations population consultant and one of the participants in the protest, expressed her belief that "laws to detract the rights women gained through years of struggle will be issued."

"The status of women in the constitution will reflect on the whole of society," she added.

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