Revising laws to combat discrimination against women
Public Policy Analysis and Human Rights Unit
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights (Egypt)
Under a project
“This release was implemented with the help of the European Union. The content of this publication is the responsibility of the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights and can in no way be considered a reflection of the vision of the European Union.
Discrimination against women is defined as an exclusion, discrimination, or restriction that takes place on the basis of gender, from its effects or purposes, to undermine the recognition of equality between women and men in basic freedoms and rights in various economic, cultural, political, civil, and social fields, which exposes women to many Of problems in various areas of life.
So Gender equality is one of the necessities that all peoples need to realize human rights. However, discriminatory laws against women have proliferated in all countries, and many laws in all legal norms still assign women and girls the second rank with regard to citizenship, nationality, health, education, marital rights, parental rights, and rights Inheritance and ownership. These forms of discrimination against women are incompatible with the empowerment of women advocated by the people.
Discrimination against women in legal legislation and administrative decisions is a flagrant violation of women's rights, through the absence of legal legislation explicitly providing for combating discrimination against women, so that discrimination has become one of the customs, traditions and custom prevalent in the state.
And we come to the Egyptian constitution to find that it contains articles that combat discrimination and other articles that focus on the principles of equal opportunity and by looking at the international treaties against discrimination that the state has signed, and which binds it to laws that are consistent with what is stipulated in it. However, the laws and decisions issued by the state violate some of what is stated in The constitution, international treaties and covenants against discrimination, for example some personal status laws that are considered a blatant example of discrimination between men and women, especially laws that regulate marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.
The constitutional framework
The Egyptian constitution guarantees in Articles (9-11-53-93-180) equality and non-discrimination between the sexes in all aspects and in public positions and judicial bodies, and allocating 25% of local council seats for women Especially equality )Articles 11 and 53), non-discrimination and equal opportunities (Article 9). Article 11 also provides for ensuring adequate representation of women in parliaments and equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. On the other hand, Article 53 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender and holds the state responsible for taking all necessary measures to combat all forms of discrimination.
Article 9 of the ConstitutionThe state is obligated to achieve equal opportunities for all citizens, without discrimination).
AD 11 of the Constitution (The state guarantees the achievement of equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. The state shall take measures to ensure adequate representation of women in parliaments, as determined by law, and it also guarantees the right of women to assume public office and jobs. The highest administration in the state and appointment to judicial authorities and bodies without discrimination against them. The state is committed to protecting women against all forms of violence and guarantees empowering women to reconcile family duties with work requirements. It is also committed to providing care and protection for motherhood, childhood, breadwinning women, the elderly, and women most in need).
M 53 of the Constitution (Citizens are equal before the law, and they are equal in rights, freedoms and public duties. There is no discrimination between them on the basis of religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social level, or affiliation. Political, geographic, or any other reason.
Discrimination and incitement to hatred is a crime punishable by law.
(The state shall take the necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination, and the law shall regulate the establishment of an independent commission for this purpose).
Article 93 of the Egyptian constitution confirms the legal status of international treaties and agreements and provides for:
(The state is bound by international human rights conventions, covenants, and covenants that Egypt ratifies, and which will have the force of law after their publication in accordance with the established conditions).
Article 180 of the constitution also guaranteed appropriate representation of women in local councils and stipulated (Each local unit shall elect a council by direct, secret, general vote for a period of four years, and the candidate must be at least twenty-one years of age by the Gregorian calendar, and the law regulates other conditions for candidacy, and election procedures, Provided that a quarter of the seats are reserved for young people under the age of thirty-five years, and a quarter of the number for women, provided that the representation of workers and farmers is not less than fifty percent of the total number of seats, and that that percentage includes adequate representation of Christians and people with disabilities..).
International conventions ratified by Egypt
Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 and entered into force in 1981, which is the result of thirty years of efforts and actions undertaken by the Center for Women in the United Nations to improve the conditions of women and spread their rights. The preamble of the convention also affirmed the principle of equal rights between men and women and the necessity of achieving this principle for the sake of the growth and prosperity of society and the family, and affirmed in Article (6) of the convention that states party to it must take all appropriate measures, including legislation to combat some form of violence against Women is the trafficking of women and the exploitation of the prostitution of women.
Egypt has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women with reservations on Article 16 of the Convention regarding the family, while the reservation was recently lifted to Article 9 of the Convention on the right of women to confer nationality to their children.
National laws and legislation
The Penal Code distinguishes between a man and a woman in the crimes of adultery. A married woman is punished for the crime of adultery regardless of where it is committed (in the marital home or outside it), but the law does not recognize this for the husband, so if he commits adultery in a place other than the marital home, it is not considered a crime of adultery for him. If he committed adultery with a married woman, but if he committed adultery outside the marital home with an unmarried woman, then the crime of adultery is not committed against either of them.
The law distinguishes between a man and a woman in the punishment. A woman who is proven to have committed adultery is punished with two years imprisonment according to Article 274 of the Penal Code, which states: “A married woman who has been proven to have committed adultery shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years. she was".
As for the husband who is proven to have committed adultery in the marital home, he shall be punished with imprisonment for six months, according to Article 277, which states: “Every husband who commits adultery in the marital home and this matter is proven against him in the wife’s lawsuit shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months”.
The penal code also reduces the punishment of the husband who surprises his wife when she is caught in adultery and kills her and her partner, as the penalties prescribed for premeditated murder or beating that lead to death are not extended to him, but rather he is punished with imprisonment for a period of up to 24 hours only, and the reason for mitigation here is the state of anger and provocation that dominates the husband . On the contrary, the wife who surprises her husband in the act of adultery does not benefit from him according to Article 237 of the Egyptian Penal Code, that “whoever surprises his wife in the event of her fornication and kills her immediately, she and he who commits adultery with her shall be punished with imprisonment instead of the penalties prescribed in Articles 234 relating to premeditated murder and the penalty of hard labor. Life or temporary imprisonment, and 236 related to beating that leads to death, and the penalty for which is temporary hard labor or imprisonment from three to seven years.
Egyptian law also specified two different systems for divorce, one for the man and the other for the woman. The man enjoys the right to an unconditional divorce and from one side and there is no need at all to enter a courtroom to make the divorce. As for the Egyptian woman, she must resort to the courts to obtain a divorce.
Not only that, but women in court face obstacles based on discrimination in their essence, in the areas of procedures and the establishment of evidence. Also, obtaining a divorce may take many years, during which the man intends to manipulate what Egyptian law gives to the man without the woman from the legal defense tricks, and the civil law places restrictions on a woman’s freedom to marry by stipulating the need for a male guardian to allow her. Egypt has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which require Egypt to take appropriate measures to ensure equality between men and women in marriage and divorce..
The obedience law in Egypt also came as one of the obstacles to the possibility of a woman obtaining a divorce similar to a man, because a man can file an obedience lawsuit against his wife if she leaves the marital home without his permission, and if the woman refuses to return to the house of obedience without submitting an appeal clarifying the legal reasons for not obeying her husband within 30 days From receiving the obedience notice, she is considered outrageous, and her right to alimony is forfeited if she is divorced. Accordingly, a woman contemplating filing a divorce case has a limited chance to leave her home if she wants to preserve her financial rights. Article 11 bis second states, "Added to Law No. 100 of 1985" On: “If the wife refuses to obey her husband unjustly; The wife's alimony stops from the date of abstinence, and she is considered unjustly abstained if she does not return to the marital home after the husband invites her to return with a declaration by a report for her person or his representative, and he must indicate in this announcement the residence.
Social pressure is exercised on women in order to waive their inheritance rights, and this takes multiple forms, such as threatening the sister not to visit her on Eid and at social events, and many sisters give up their right to inherit under threat of estrangement or even harm in some cases, and that is why the inheritance law There is no article criminalizing the deprivation of inheritance, and there is no penalty for those who prevent the beneficiaries from inheriting, whether a man or a woman.
The latest study prepared by the Egyptian Ministry of Justice and the National Center for Social Research for the year 2015 proved that 95 % women are deprived of inheritance in Upper Egypt and that there are 8 to 14 thousand criminal offenses such as murders and revenge that occur annually due to inheritance.
The study noted that there is a noticeable increase in the number of inheritance dispute cases between siblings. The study indicated that there are 144,000 inheritance dispute cases that are considered annually before the courts, in addition to 2,750 stone cases for lack of eligibility to dispose of property on one or both parents, which are established by them. Their children or siblings are against each other.
The study confirmed that there are approximately 8 thousand murders committed annually among members of the same family because of inheritance, which is a tragic number that increases annually, as in 2007 there were about 7500 murders due to inheritance, 121 thousand cases of inheritance dispute, and 2500 cases of stone against one of the parents Or siblings, and in 2006 there were about 6 thousand murders due to the inheritance dispute, 119 thousand cases of inheritance dispute, and 2500 stone cases against one of the parents or siblings)).
Discrimination against women from the perspective of the universal periodic review
While Egypt was subject to the universal periodic review mechanism in 2014, the Egyptian government received a set of 300 recommendations, and supported the implementation of 223 voluntary recommendations, which will be held accountable for their implementation during the next session in 2018, and among the recommendations that Egypt received, a number of recommendations related to Against discrimination against women, including the recommendation made by the State of Lebanon, which has the support of the Egyptian state, which provides for the continuation of issuing and enacting laws to combat discrimination against women, and the recommendation of the Nicaraguan state, which stipulates the continuation of updating and developing strategies in order to combat discrimination against women. The recommendation of the Republic of Korea has also received Endorsement and stipulates “to exert more efforts to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women, and to ensure the strengthening of their empowerment, representation and renaissance in all sectors, in compliance with the new constitution.
Whereas Sweden's recommendation was partially supported and stipulated the review of the Personal Status Law and the Penal Code in order to amend or delete articles that discriminate against women, in order to comply with the constitution, as well as international law, and work to lift the reservation to Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Discrimination against women The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has submitted a supportive recommendation that provides for strengthening its efforts to combat violence against women and achieve greater equality between women and men.
Ghana and Senegal also made a recommendation to strengthen measures aimed at eliminating discrimination against vulnerable groups, especially women.
See the solution
First, legislative amendments
Personal status laws and penalties must be amended, and new laws come up in line with Egypt's international obligations that include equality and non-discrimination against women. The new law should guarantee several basic points that still represent discrimination Clearly against women, and we start with the penal code, some articles related to adultery crimes should be amended according to the following:
1. Article 274 states (a married woman whose adultery is proven shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, but her husband has the right to stop the implementation of this ruling by his consent to her cohabitation with him as it was).
To become (a married woman or a married man who proves adultery of one of them shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, and each of them has the right to stop the implementation of this ruling with their consent).
2. Article 277 states “Every A husband committed adultery in the marital home, and this matter is established against him on the basis of the wife's claim, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.)
To become (every husband committed fornication and this matter is proven against him by the wife's lawsuit, he is punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years. "
3. Article 237 states: “Whoever surprises his wife in the act of adultery and kills her immediately, and whoever commits adultery with her, shall be punished with imprisonment instead of the penalties prescribed in Articles 234 pertaining to premeditated murder and his penalty is permanent or temporary hard labor” and 236 “for beating that leads to death and punishable by temporary hard labor or Imprisonment from three to seven years.
To become “whoever surprises his wife or wife when any of them put on adultery and kills her or kills him immediately, and he who commits adultery with her or who commits adultery with her shall be punished with imprisonment instead of the penalties prescribed in Articles 234 pertaining to premeditated murder and his penalty is permanent or temporary hard labor” and 236 ”concerning slogging. To death, and the penalty is temporary hard labor or imprisonment from three to seven years.
4. Adding a text to the Penal Code stating: (Whoever deliberately denies a woman or a man the right to inheritance and not handing it over to those who deserve it when this is proven is punished by imprisonment for a period of no less than a year and not more than three years, and this proposed text helps to avoid entering the maze of civil law that reaches The litigation period in it to ten years.
And in Article 11 bis second “Added to Law No. 100 of 1985 regarding obedience”: “If the wife refuses to obey her husband without right; The wife's alimony stops from the date of abstinence, and she is considered unjustly abstained if she does not return to the marital home after the husband invites her to return with a declaration by a report for her person or his representative, and he must indicate in this announcement the residence.
To become “if the wife refuses to obey her husband without right; The wife's alimony stops from the date of abstinence, and she is considered unjustly abstained if she does not return to the marital home after the husband invites her to return with a declaration by a report for her person or whoever acts on her behalf, and he must indicate in this announcement the residence and the wife’s taking any judicial action against the husband for divorce is a right for her to refrain Obeyed him until the ruling on her lawsuit
· Activating the role of the religious establishment in combating discrimination against women
The religious establishment occupies a tremendous importance in the life of the individual and society, as religion represents the normative structure upon which the behavior of the individual follows and upon which the building of society is organized. In general, Egyptian culture is characterized by the strength of the religious system, and religion is the center of Egyptian culture, and a comprehensive philosophy provides the answer to every question, justifications are given for every action, and the houses of worship represent the only religious and cultural center.
Proceeding from this, the houses of worship play a fundamental role in the process of socialization, due to the unique characteristics that characterize them, the most important of which are their surrounding aura of reverence, and the effectiveness of the behavioral standards that they teach to individuals and the consensus to support them. The effect of the role of worship in the process of raising awareness of equality and non-discrimination between men and women in rights and duties, especially depriving women of inheritance, in some governorates of Egypt. Here, religious discourse plays a major role in raising awareness and solving problems related to depriving women of inheritance.
· A role must be activated Legal and legal aid offices in family courts To combat discrimination against women and spread it
Legal aid offices in family courts have an important role that must be activated to achieve the purpose for which those offices were established, which were provided by the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, and whose number so far has reached 39 offices in various courts out of a total of 268 family courts nationwide where the courtrooms are filled with cases It relates to discrimination against women and no one knows the role of legal aid offices for women in family courts, and no one may know their locations.
· Activating the role of civil society in raising awareness against discrimination against women and helping victims
· Activating the role of the National Council for Women to combat discrimination
· Establish an independent commission to combat discrimination against women