EOHR launches the “Safe Streets for Egyptian Women” campaign

October 18th, 2020 by Editor

 On October 17, 2020, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) launched a campaign entitled “Safe Streets for Egyptian Women” aimed at highlighting the gravity of incidents of harassment and violence faced by women on public roads. This reality threatens the lives, rights, and safety of Egyptian women. As such, it is crucial that we mobilize society against harassment and violence in order to confront these practices. In addition, the EOHR hopes to shed light on the laws against harassment and rape in Egypt. Reviewing those laws will be at the top of the agenda of the next parliament.

The “Safe Street for Egyptian Women” campaign promotes the following set of goals: 1. Raising public awareness and providing technical support to make public streets safer for women and girls. 2. Improving the quality of life for families and entire communities by creating safe neighborhoods and streets. 3. Strengthening the legislative and institutional frameworks to ensure effective prevention and response to violence against women and girls in public places 4. Liaison efforts between ministries and various bodies in order to make the street safe at all levels, including infrastructure, police presence, and quick response security points. 5. Work to mobilize young volunteers of both sexes to stop sexual harassment and violence. 6. Facilitating access to legal and social services to raise awareness and change behavior at the community level.

The campaign also aims to work on multiple levels such as directing recommendations and proposals to the local administration at the lower levels and the executive governors. This process will ensure that the procedures are implemented efficiently and effectively. The EOHR demands the installation of proper lighting in public roads and taking proper steps to protect sidewalks. The EOHR will coordinate with the various ministries, including the ministry of interior, in order to provide more security and increase surveillance cameras in the street. The EOHR will also wok with the Ministry of Education in order to raise awareness on the danger of low levels of human safety in the street and work to combine those efforts and unify goals at all levels.

In the same context, the EOHR expresses its serious concern about the recurrence of incidents of harassment of women in the public sphere. Indeed, the incident of  “Maadi Girl”, as the case of “Maryam” shed light on the painful reality that women and girls suffer from in Egypt. “Maryam ” was dragged to her death in the Maadi area. Two people, one of them driving a microbus approached the victim to harass her, while the other was trying to snatch the bag from her. Maryam clung to her bag, and with movement of the vehicle at a high speed, the girl’s head hit a parked car on the side of the road, which resulted in her death.

The Public Prosecution announced in its statement regarding the incident, that the victim was seen by a witness in company with one of her friends talking near the car, when a white microbus approached, with two persons inside it, whereby the person next to the driver was grabbing the victim’s backpack, which she clung to it while the vehicle is moving, which resulted in disrupting the victim’s balance, and the vehicle fled with the bag.

The victim’s friend who was talking to her while the incident occured, reported that she moved away in fear, and she added that the victim had stayed for about half an hour at the scene of the accident until the ambulance had arrived, then she passed away.

The Public Prosecution ordered the imprisonment of those accused of murdering Maryam “Al- Maadi Girl”, for a period of four days pending investigations for murder associated with coerced theft.

This incident caused rage in the Egyptian society, which was evident through tweets on social media calling for the application of maximum penalty against those who were found guilty. Maryam’s case opened the door to broader discussions about women’s rights in the Egyptian society, and the need to preserve the safety of women in public places, which prompted the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights to launch the “Safe Street for Egyptian Women” campaign.

Dr. Hafez Abu Saada, the head of the Egyptain organization for human rights, said that the campaign “Safe Streets for Egyptian Women ” will present new solutions and visions to better address the crises that the Egyptian society and especially girls and women suffer from through applying new proposals, approaches, legal and institutional frameworks and remedies.

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