- Middle East/North Africa
The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights condemned Tuesday comments made by the Shura Council and National Council for Human Rights about the recent increase of sexual violence and harassment targeting female protesters and activists.
According to the council and NCHR, women taking part in protests and marches are inviting people to attack them verbally, physically and sexually.
In a statement, the ECWR called the remarks an insult to female demonstrators and said victims of sexual harassment and violence are not to blame. Instead, the center said, authorities and other protesters should do everything in their power to protect demonstrators.
“Women participated in the downfall of Mubarak’s regime. We didn’t hear any objection. To the contrary, we were encouraged. The current [administration] will face women continuing their struggle for their rights,” said the ECWR.
It also said the council and NCHR are taking a similar attitude toward women's rights as former President Hosni Mubarak. Under Mubarak, several female activists were assaulted in front of the Journalists Syndicate in the capital during protests in 2005 over constitutional amendments
The center also demanded an apology from authorities in response to the Shura Council and NCHR's stance that women should not participate in marches or protests to avoid being targeted and called on officials to investigate the attacks instead.
“What women face is systematic attacks by trained militias — a crime according to international law,” it added.
Several human rights and women's groups are calling for demonstrations in Talaat Harb Square to protest the remarks and any attempt to stop women from participating in political activism.