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Egypt: Female Judges Barred from Council Positions
Egypt: Female Judges Barred from Council Positions
Dozens of women and human rights organizations staged a protest on Thursday in front of the Egyptian State Council’s Cairo headquarters in reaction to a recent decision by the Council to bar female justices from holding judicial positions.
Sunday, February 21,2010 10:41
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Dozens of women and human rights organizations staged a protest on Thursday in front of the Egyptian State Council’s Cairo headquarters in reaction to a recent decision by the Council to bar female justices from holding judicial positions. Earlier this week, the Council - which advises the government and adjudicates disputes against state authorities - voted 334-42 against the appointment of women as judges within the Council. “This decision violates the law and the principles of justice,” said Nihad Abul Qomssan, head of the Egyptian Center for Human Rights. The justices’ decision, however, can still be technically overruled next month by a Special Council, the supervisory body that overseas the State Council.

Many protesters saw the Council’s decision as a setback to advancements in women’s rights in Egypt. In 2007, 31 women were appointed by presidential decree to join the country’s Supreme Judicial Council, which has jurisdiction over civil and criminal courts.  This move marked the first time that women in Egypt were allowed to preside over civil and criminal cases.

In a similar story, under the long-standing pressure of human rights activists, two members of the Egyptian parliament - MP Georgette Kalini and MP Mohamed Khalil Qaweyta- have drafted and sponsored bills aimed at curbing sexual harassment abuses rampant throughout the country. In a 2008 study commissioned by the Egyptian Center for Human Rights, 83 percent of those surveyed had been sexually abused. “It shows the state is responding and changing… They are now understanding the significance of the issue,” said Abul Qomssan.

tags: Judges / Female Judge / Human Rights in Egypt / Sexual Harassment / Women Rights / Women in Egypt
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