Head of Egypt s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Moushira Khattab receives UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Egypt Frederika Meijer. NCHR/press photo
Khattab received Meijer on Friday and the two discussed cooperation in various fields, including protecting children from harmful practices criminalised by Egyptian law. This includes deprivation from education, marriage of minors, and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Last year, Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – passed a law toughening penalties on FGM crimes, in a bid to confront and eliminate the phenomenon.
Under the amendment, individuals without medical training who perform genital mutilation face up to seven years in prison if the practice leads to a permanent disability, and up to ten years if it leads to death.
Khattab and Meijer agreed to cooperate to raise awareness about these harmful practices, highlighting the importance of ensuring that girls receive education, are empowered economically, and are able to take decisions affecting their lives.
The two officials also stressed the importance of working at the popular level to spread awareness of the girls’ rights guaranteed by the constitution.
They also agreed on building capabilities of the civil society organisations and professional cadres working in the field of public service, including health and social protection, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity.
National political dialogue
Khattab praised the Egyptian political leadership’s support for human rights, saying that the national dialogue called for by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is a pillar of the National Strategy for Human Rights.
In a banquet held during the holy month of Ramadan on 26 April, El-Sisi called for a national dialogue among political parties on the country’s political and economic priorities in the coming period.
The National Training Academy said in a statement on 10 May that it will organise the political dialogue with all forces “without exception or discrimination” and will open the door for registration to this dialogue very soon.
The call for the dialogue also opens the way for establishing a culture supportive of human rights, Khattab said, noting that this lays the foundations for the ‘new republic’ that respects the rights of citizens without any discrimination based on gender, religion, age, disability, geographical location or social status.