News / Middle East

Activists Call for Sexual Abuse Investigation in Egypt

Egyptian women supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi stand inside the defendants' cage in a courtroom in Alexandria, Egypt, Nov. 27, 2013.
Egyptian women supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi stand inside the defendants' cage in a courtroom in Alexandria, Egypt, Nov. 27, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
— A group of Egyptian human rights activists is calling on the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Egypt to investigate human rights violations against women, including sexual abuse and rape.  The group is attending the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The Egyptian activists’ report to the U.N. Human Rights Council documents flagrant human rights violations suffered by women at the hands of Egypt’s military rulers since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi nearly one year ago.   

The report says the situation for women has worsened because military authorities specifically target them.  They say 50 women have been unlawfully killed during anti-coup protests.  

Between July 3, 2013 and June 1, 2014, the report notes nearly 1,585 female political prisoners have been arrested.  Most of them now have been released pending trial.  About 100 remain detained.
 
The report documents many cases of women prisoners who allegedly have been tortured, humiliated, dragged, physically and sexually abused and raped.  It says female students in particular have been murdered or detained and given harsh sentences.

Dalia Lotfy, a member of the European Alliance of Egyptians for Democracy, said sexual harassment and assault of women was common in prison.  She said these crimes were committed by agents of the government, by security forces and by guards.

“The findings that we have from the files that we received that this horrific crime has become systematic.  The victim is taken to a specific place, which is believed to be the central security camps for one day, raped and then taken to another detention center.  This has been repeated with many victims, which suggests that this crime has become systematic ... And, we believe that it has been taken with the permission or committed with the permission of the high-ranking officers in these prisons' authorities,” said Lotfy.  

On June 4, a law was approved that criminalizes sexual harassment for the first time in Egypt.  Activist Mostafa Soliman said he was taking a wait and see attitude, but was skeptical that the law would improve the lives of women.

“We are facing now a military-backed or military authority.  And, as you know with the military in Egypt, it is a male community - a male community, which is known to have this vision of discrimination to women.  Therefore, I have a lot of doubt of the sincerity or the vision or the interpretation of giving human rights or rights to women by a military-backed regime,” said Soliman.  

By visiting Geneva, the activists say they hope to shed more light on the appalling system of abuse and discrimination that exists in Egypt.  They say they will continue to lobby for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate these violations.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid