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El-Sisi's attention to sexual harassment needs to be judged on 'results': Human Rights Watch

A number of sexual assaults were reported in Tahrir Square during celebrations of El-Sisi's inauguration 8 June

Ahram Online, Saturday 14 Jun 2014
sexual harassment
File Photo: Egyptian boys watch passing girls at the Nile bank in Cairo, Egypt, July 23, 2008 (Photo: AP)
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Human Rights Watch released a statement Friday saying that "gruesome sexual attacks on women marred President [Abdel-Fattah] El-Sisi's election and inauguration."

A number of sexual assaults were reported in Tahrir Square, the cradle of the Egyptian revolution, during celebrations of El-Sisi's inauguration on 8 June.

One woman's ordeal with mob sexual assault emerged on YouTube showing her being stripped of her clothes and attacked by a number of men. Her body was covered with blood.

Both El-Sisi and his wife, Egypt's First Lady Intissar Amer, visited the sexual assault victim separately.

El-Sisi also made a number of moves to combat sexual harassment in Egypt, one of which is forming a committee to address issue.

Human Rights Watch said in its statement that the "committee is a positive step, but effective comprehensive action needs to follow."

The statement also said that this level of attention to sexual harassment from an Egyptian president "needs to be judged by what actually results."

"A comprehensive national strategy would be a vital step toward stopping attacks on women, if implemented," the statement added on behalf of Rothna Begum, a researcher at the New York based organisation.

Human Rights Watch also criticised Egypt's laws on violence against women describing them as having "major gaps."

"There is no specific law on domestic violence. The penal code has an outdated, narrow definition of rape. Even recent amendments on sexual harassment need improvement," the statement added.

Last week, former Interim President Adly Mansour issued a law criminalising sexual harassment for the first time in Egypt. Women’s rights groups viewed the move as a positive step, but many have called for further legal reforms that would widen the definitions of rape and sexual assault.

Sexual harassment against women has been a rampant problem in Egypt for a decade. A United Nations survey from last year suggests that over 99 percent of Egyptian women have suffered some form of sexual harassment, from minor incidents to rape. 

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14-06-2014 07:49pm
The president is doing fine
I guess the president has proved his point on this matter, he has intervened so that the people who committed this crime will be in court next week... and hopefully in prison soon after for a very long time.. This will be hopefully effective, as we have the eid vacation very soon, and we all know that is when men are known to attack women also. The point of domestic violence.. there should be a law stating that this is illegal.. however, we then have the religious point that says it is ok for men to hit their wives if they don't do as they are told! So, i think asking for such laws (even though they should be in place) is a road that no one wants to take now.
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