Egypt: NGOs condemn personal status law decree project by president of Family Appeal Court


The NGOs signing below express their worry and extreme anger from the Personal Status Law decree project that counselor Abdallah El Baga, president of the Family Appeal Court, presented under title "number 25 January" for year 2011 to Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf. The project includes 7 articles, where El Baga demands in the first one, the cancellation of (El Khol'), and in the third article he demands that a mother's custody would end when the male child reaches 7 years old and female child reaches 10 years old. In article four he demands, that the father has sole educational guardianship and in case that the foster mother is inflicted she should go to court. In article five, he talks about enforcing wife obedience by coercive force in case that the wife doesn't object to the warning in time, or that a finale verdict has been issued in addition to the cessation of her alimony till she is back to obedience.

The NGOs signing below announce their total refusal to such a discourse which represents a downfall to the rights and benefits that the Egyptian family has gained; that doesn't only waste the dignity of women but also the best interest of the children, and also contradicts the divine legislation and different Human Rights agreements that Egypt has ratified.

We also refuse the issuing of any decree laws of interest to the Egyptians in general and specifically the personal status law within the security and legislative absence and ministerial instability that the country is facing in this stage, bearing in mind that unlike what some people claim, all  the family laws that have been issued in the recent period were never for the comfort of Susan Mubarak or her National Council, but for the societal needs that were translated into reality by long struggles of the organizations concerned with families and specifically women.

We also need to point out that there are a lot of alternative visions that seeks for achieving equality, justice and dignity within the Egyptian family, through tying different responsibilities and rights within the frame of the best interest of all parties highlighting the best interest of the child. Nevertheless, all these visions must be put to the largest societal discussions taking into consideration that any changes to the personal status law must come forth through an inclusive vision that take into consideration the major socio-economic developments that have taken place since the issuing of the personal status law at the beginning of the last century; and with consideration to the supreme principles of Islamic Shari'a that achieve justice, equity and equality to all family members.

Accordingly, the NGOs signing this statement demands from Dr. Essam Sharaf's government not to fall under the pressures that seeks to use the democratic atmosphere that the revolution has created to try and pass laws contrary to justice and equality.

1-The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement.

2- The Women Arab Alliance

3- Nazra for Feminist Studies

4- New Woman foundation

5- Woman and Memory Forum

6- Egyptian Foundation for Family Development

7- Center of Egyptian Woman Legal assistance

8- Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development (ACT)

9-Cairo Center for Development