Rights group re-introduces domestic violence law

A leading rights organization is calling on Egyptians to support a proposed draft law that it says will protect women from domestic violence. 

Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence said in a statement that through its campaign it hopes to gather thousands of signatures from different segments of society from each governorate in support of the draft law.

“As voices attacking the simplest human rights of women are getting louder, gathering signatures of about 100 NGOs is no longer enough,” the statement said.

The law, for the first time, criminalizes domestic violence and legally requires the government to provide legal aid and safe houses for victims of domestic violence. The law defines violence against women by adopting the definition stated in the 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

The declaration defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based action that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” 

The draft law also called for the establishment of a governmental body to help victims and safe, suitable shelters for victims of violence.

In 2005, Al-Nadeem began to raise support for a domestic violence law. It helped form a committee of several rights organizations to work on the draft law.

From 2005 to 2010, the committee vetted the draft law across Egypt with women from different social classes. It then took time to rewrite the draft law, submitting it to Parliament in April 2010.

Al-Nadeem has re-introduced the draft law because all pending draft laws were dropped after Parliament was dissolved during the 25 January revolution.

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