Egypt's Constitution Draft Drops Gender Equality Article

Egyptian politicians drafting a new constitution have agreed to remove the article that mandates equality between men and women. Several other controversial changes were agreed to by the drafters, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports.

al-monitor Women shout slogans as they hold pictures of former Egyptian women leaders during a protest in support of women rights in the constitution in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Oct. 4, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh.

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shariah law, gender rights, egyptian workers, egypt constitution, egypt

Nov 8, 2012

Members of the Constituent Assembly drafting a constitution agreed to repeal Article 68, which recognizes equality between men and women. 

In their meeting with representatives from political forces yesterday [Nov. 7], they agreed in principle on three disputable articles of the new constitution, most notably Article 67 on children’s rights and Article 71 on forced labor and freedom of belief.

Farid Ismail, member of the Constituent Assembly and Freedom and Justice Party, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that it was agreed in principle to repeal the constitutional article recognizing equality between men and women and to amend Article 71 by replacing [the words] “all forms of human slavery, sex trafficking, forced labor and the violation of women and children’s right are prohibited” with “all forms of exploitation, forced labor and the violation of women and children’s rights are prohibited.”

During a session of the constitutional proposals committee yesterday [Nov. 7], a number of representatives of farmers and workers organizations demanded to restore their 50% share in parliament in the constitution and to adopt restrictions and definitions of worker and farmer.

Hossam Ghariani, chairman of the Constituent Assembly, responded by severely attacking the July revolution.

Addressing the workers and farmers, he said: “Egypt was subjected to the biggest deception in its history from 1952 until the glorious Jan. 25 revolution. Do not be deceived by the 50% that was given by the July revolution to workers and peasants.”

Yesterday [Nov. 7], former presidential candidate and assembly member Amr Moussa submitted the document, which includes amendments to 200 constitutional articles and is signed by more than 30 members of the Assembly, to Amr Darrag, secretary-general of the Constituent Assembly.

For his part, Mahmoud Helmi el-Sherif , spokesman of Egypt Judges Club, warned the Constituent Assembly of turning the General Assembly of Egypt Judges Club into “an earthquake,” if  their recommendations on the judicial authority’s constitutional status ... are ignored.

As for the million-man march to implement Islamic Shariah law, which is scheduled for Friday in Tahrir Square and the provinces, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood gave conflicting statements on whether or not they will participate. The Freedom and Justice Party said that it has not yet made a decision regarding its participation.

Mahmoud Hussein, secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood, said: “The Brotherhood will join Islamic movements in the marches, which will start from the mosques.” However, Mahmoud Ghozlan, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a statement confirming that the Brotherhood will not take part in the marches in any way.

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