Support women on Tahrir Sqaure

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Write to the government of Egypt asking it to protect women’s personal and political rights.

International women’s human rights organisation Equality Now, in partnership with Egyptian women’s rights activists, is calling on the government of Egypt to take concrete steps to protect women’s personal and political rights in Egypt.

Specifically, they have issued a call to action to urge President Morsi to stop sexual violence and intimidation tactics against women advocating for their rights; investigate and prosecute sexual assaults reported by women; and develop processes for the comprehensive inclusion of women’s voices in all governmental processes.

According to a report of testimonies compiled by the Egypt-based New Woman Foundation, Nazra for Feminist Studies and the El-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, more than 20 women were attacked on 25 January 2013 alone in and around Tahrir Square.

Hania Moheeb, an Egyptian journalist who was assaulted in Tahrir, told Equality Now: “In a few seconds the men who were all yelling with words that gave the impression they wanted to help me, started very quickly to use tens of hands over my body, stripping me from my clothes then violating the private parts of my body very aggressively.”

She explained that authorities tried to persuade her to file a police report “later” and it was only when her husband called human rights defenders to come and support her that the police took her statement.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, she said: “What happened to me was political, was organized, was systematic and definitely paid for by certain political groups who want to keep women away from the streets.”

Since the revolution of early 2011, women, including women’s rights activists, continue to pay a steep price for demanding their rights.

Seemingly organised mobs have been actively seeking out and attacking women campaigning in public spaces.

Testimony from women and men who have gone to Tahrir Square to peacefully advocate for an inclusive and representative government exposes how women have been mauled by gangs, possibly coordinated by government officials, which they believe are aimed at discouraging women’s participation and silencing their voices.

Recent reports state that President Morsi has begun a new “Initiative to support the Rights and Freedoms of the Egyptian Women,” which includes addressing sexual harassment.

Many members of the National Council for Women and other Egyptian women’s right activists, however, boycotted the inauguration of the initiative because they see it as a purely political move.

Equality Now and partners will be following the Initiative’s development closely in the hope that it prioritises taking action on the fundamental issue of violence against women.

But in the meantime, please write to the Egyptian authorities.

Write and urge them to stop the sexual violence and intimidation tactics being perpetrated against women advocating for their rights; to properly investigate and fully prosecute any sexual assault whether occurring in public or in private and to develop processes for the comprehensive inclusion of women’s voices in all governmental and administrative processes.

To view a template letter and to see who to send it to, click here.