UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Women’s Political and Civil Rights in Egypt

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Date: 21 December 2011

Statement of Michelle Bachelet Executive Director of UN Women, following the attacks on women and children in Egypt. Wednesday, 21 December 2011.

I note with great concern the reports of direct attacks in the past few days on women, individually and collectively, for exercising their political and civil rights to public assembly and expression. Women along with men and children have been victims of the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters over this past weekend and this week. Thousands of women have assembled on the streets of Cairo and in Tahrir Square on Tuesday night to assert their right to democratic participation in their country's future.

We call upon the political and military authorities in Egypt to guarantee women's political and civil rights, and to offer the government support in ensuring these rights are respected. UN Women has consistently noted the crucial role that women in Egypt have played in its profound democratic revolution. Women from civil society have been one of the primary engines driving the social movement for political opening, public participation in decision-making, and an approach to citizenship that embraces inclusiveness and respect for individual human rights.

The upcoming constitutional revision process provides a unique opportunity to engage the widest possible cross-section of Egyptian society in re-visioning the future of the country. We know that women are ready and eager to engage in this process. We call upon the Egyptian authorities to ensure their full protection from violence from any side, and their full freedom to play their essential role in building the new political institutions of Egypt.