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Combating sexual harassment should be presidential priority: I Saw Harassment

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Anti-harassment campaign calls on incoming president to criminalise violence against women

An Egyptian protester hold up his hand with a slogan reading in Arabic: "Egyptian girls are a red line" during a demonstration in Cairo against sexual harassment on 12 February 2013.  (AFP Photo \ Khaled Desouki)

An Egyptian protester hold up his hand with a slogan reading in Arabic: “Egyptian girls are a red line” during a demonstration in Cairo against sexual harassment on 12 February 2013.
(AFP Photo \ Khaled Desouki)

The I Saw Harassment (Shoft Tahrosh) initiative drafted a letter Monday to Egypt’s incoming president, calling on him to prioritise legislation criminalising sexual harassment and violence against women.

The anti-harassment initiative stressed that legislation should be drafted to “eliminate the crime [of sexual harassment] rather than adapting to it.”

In May, Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s cabinet passed a draft law amending articles in the Penal Code establishing harsher punishment for sexual harassment. I Saw Harassment coordinator, Fathi Farid, criticised the draft legislation for lacking “deterrent” penalties.

The law was described as an “important yet insufficient step in fighting harassment” by Fatma Khafagy, Director Ombudswoman for Gender Equality at the National Council for Women (NCW).

The NCW has already drafted a law addressing violence against women, submitted to ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s administration last year. It was resubmitted to interim President Adly Mansour, but it is yet to be issued.

The official results of last week’s presidential elections are scheduled to be announced on Tuesday evening. Preliminary results suggest former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has claimed a landslide victory against Nasserist opponent Hamdeen Sabahy, reaping over 90% of the votes.


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