Checklist for the Egyptian Government: Justice for Women Human Rights Defenders

Press Release

29 Nov 2012

Nazra for Feminist Studies issued a checklist for the Egyptian government today that provides steps as to how to achieve justice for women human rights defenders (WHRDs) as per international human rights standards. The checklist provides 3 suggestions to the Egyptian government, accordance with which can pave the way towards providing justice to WHRDs who faced grave human rights violations from the period of January 25, 2011 and until the end of the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces; violations to which no one was held accountable.

The violations faced by WHRDs can be attributed to two main factors, namely the absence of a legal framework that can provide security to WHRDs and the social context within which WHRDs operate. The societal perception of WHRDs, as women who defy social expectations of what it means to be a woman and of women’s social roles, is a tool that is manipulated by security forces to detract from the significance of the work that WHRDs do. The latter factors contributed to the development and perpetuation of the policy of targeting WHRDs with gender-based violations to drive them out of the public sphere.

The checklist provides recommendations that can contribute to an end to the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for the violations committed against WHRDs, the introduction of policies that to guarantee halting the policy of targeting WHRDs and their non-recurrence, and the protection of WHRDs from violations committed by private actors.

The checklist recommends the conduction of impartial and independent investigations in all cases of violations committed by the armed forces and the police and insuring the right to an effective remedy, including the provision of reparations for violations; the restructuring of the security sector that has consistently relied on the practice of using violence and gender-based violations against WHRDs; and the formation of protection programs for WHRDs that include the provision of early warning systems to anticipate and trigger protective measures.

The launching of the checklist coincides with the 7th anniversary of International Day on Women Human Rights Defenders, 29 November. The date was designated by the participants of the First International Consultation on Women Human Rights Defenders organized in 2005 by several human rights organisations in Colombo, Sri Lanka.