The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has warned against sexual harassment and assault against women in Egypt.
In a report issued on Wednesday, FIDH said that the phenomenon constitutes major obstacles to their participation in the political transition of their country, saying that “Successive governments have failed to take measures to stop violence against women and such crimes continue to occur with complete impunity.”
The report entitled “Egypt: Keeping Women Out – Sexual violence in the public sphere”, presented over 250 cases, which took place between November 2012 and January 2014, in which women protesters were sexually assaulted and in some cases raped, by mobs of men. “Not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice for these crimes. This climate of impunity contributes to their repetition and to social tolerance of violence against women,” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.
“Attacks against women protesters in Tahrir Square threw the issue of violence against women into the public spotlight. Yet, sexual harassment and assault is a long-standing and systemic problem in Egypt presenting major obstacles to women’s participation in public life,” it added.
Mozn Hassan, Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, said, “Though we welcome the provision in the Constitution on protecting women from violence, the authorities have a long way to go to begin to tackle a phenomenon that has reached epidemic proportions. Comprehensive measures, taken in consultation with civil society, are needed not only to protect and promote the right of women to live free from violence, but to enable women to participate in defining Egypt’s future.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm