Egypt: New report from the Land Center For Human Rights on violence against women

Land Center for Human Rights
This report on violence against women in Egypt shows 247 women were killed during the first half of 2007.
"The Land Center for Human Rights issued report No. (57) of the economic and social rights series issued by the center. The report aims to recognize violence against women by monitoring and analyzing the content of Egyptian newspapers during the six months beginning from January until the end of June 2007.
Violence has led to the death and the killing of many women in this regard. Attacks and incidents of violence against women were published in Egyptian newspapers during the first half of 2007.

In the beginning, the report reviews the conditions of violence against women in terms of magnitude, kinds, causes and impacts of such violence, and asserts that the solution for this phenomenon lies in improving the civil, economic and social conditions of human rights.

In its first part the report reviews incidents of sexual assaults on women, which amounted to (59) incidents of assault either from within the family or the community. These assaults happened for various reasons like, sexual assault, revenge or because refusing to marry the assailant or rejecting the harassment of a person. These incidents of violence have resulted in physical abuse, rape, theft and injury.

In its second part the report reviews domestic violence against women which amounted to (66) incidents. These incidents happened for various reasons like, theft, suspicion in their behavior, adultery, disputes, revenge, or psychological illness or accidentally by stray gunshots. These incidents of violence have resulted in killing and injury.

In its third part the report reviews violent incidents resulting from family disputes, which amounted to (55) incidents in which violence by the husband has lead to the killing of (49) wives. There were various causes for these disputes like, family disputes between husbands, suspicion in the wife's behavior, polyandry, the wife insulting her husband, the insistence on doing things contrary to the wishes of the husband or psychological illness. These incidents of violence have resulted in killing, injury and burning and some of which has led to imprisonment.

In its fourth part the report reviews women killings, which amounted to (44) incidents. These killings happened for a variety of motives like, theft, exposing an affair, disputes over worldly possessions, refusal to marry, neighbor disputes, revenge or psychological illness.

In its fifth part the report reviews suicide incidents where women suicides amounted to (44) incidents, where (37) women succeeded in committing suicide and (7) women tried to commit suicide and failed. These incidents happened for various reasons like, despair of recovery, marital or family disputes, failure in education, deprivation from seeing children, fear of being caught with adultery, grieving over the death of a family member, or being charged with theft and mostly because of the refusal of parents to let them marry the ones they love or preventing them from going out. These incidents of violence have resulted in death by killing oneself, poisoning, burns or fractures.

In its sixth part the report reviews health care negligence, which amounted to (33) incidents that led to the deaths of (12) women as a result of this negligence. These incidents happened for various reasons like, medical neglect of patients during or after surgery, lack of capabilities within the government hospitals, and increased dose of anesthetize, leaving medical towels inside patients after surgery, using bad blood bags, excising a patient's womb without her knowledge or ignoring the health condition of the patient. These incidents of violence have resulted in death, coma or permanent disability.

In its seventh part the report reviews one incident of violence against a foreign maid who was a Philippine and not an Egyptian. The incident happened during the month of May in Cairo, and was published in Al-Ahram newspaper.

In its eighth part the report reviews official violent incidents which amounted to (6) incidents of official violence. These incidents happened for various reasons like, police officers attacking some women, fabricating cases against women to force them waiver a place they own, some women journalists expressing their opinion. Most of them were due to police officers misusing their influence. These incidents of violence have resulted in sexual harassment, rape, robbery, beating, permanent disability, insult, detention and assault on the freedom of opinion and expression and the rights of workers.

In its ninth part the report reviews a variety of incidents against women which amounted to (47) incident that led to the death of (46) women. Finally, the report, in its tenth part, gives some concluding observations and recommendations:

The report shows that there was an increase of violence against women during 2007, especially regarding murder and sexual assault against housewives, and the growing numbers of men committing violence against women. The report also shows that poor women are the ones more exposed to violence.

The report then gives some recommendations. The most important of which are:

• Raising Community awareness regarding the elimination of domestic violence against women.
• Guaranteeing health services for women especially in rural areas and slums.
• Expanding the umbrella of the social insurance, health insurance, and social security for all women, whether working or non-working, as well as children.
• Issuing a law to protect women from domestic violence.
• Allocating pages for women in the press that discuses women issues and problems. The Center asks all civil society organizations to work on implementing those recommendations in order to stop violence against women in Egypt and to improve their situation so that all the classes in the Egyptian society can enjoy peace and security, especially women, which constitute half of the society and all of the future.

29 July 2007