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Can new amendment undermine Egyptian women's rights to divorce?

A lawmaker's proposed amendment to restrict divorce to cases of extreme harm to women has raised concerns among rights advocates who argue that the bill, if approved, would turn back the clock on women's rights.
Egyptian women shout slogans against the government during the funeral of Syed Tafshan, who died in clashes with residents of the Nile island of al-Warraq, when security forces attempted to demolish illegal buildings, in the south of Cairo, Egypt July 16, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh - RC133E8F7A70

A member of Egypt's parliamentary Human Rights Committee has sparked controversy after proposing an amendment to Article 20 of the country's Personal Status Law, which, if approved, would deny Egyptian women the right to divorce except in cases of "extreme harm to the wife." 

If given a nod by the House of Representatives, the revised legislation would restrict "khul," also known as "no-fault divorce," to cases of a husband's infidelity, impotence, infertility, imprisonment, severe physical abuse and abandonment of the wife for more than two years.

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