The Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet yesterday released a statement expressing her deep concern over escalating violence against women in Egypt.
As Mrs. Bachelet states: “As a vibrant force in civil society, women continue to press for their rights, equal participation in decision making, and the upholding of the principles of the revolution by the highest levels of leadership in Egypt. UN Women is deeply disturbed by the gravity of recent attacks against women, including the reports of sexual assault, many of which occurred in the same Tahrir Square in which women rallied to contribute to a better future for their country.”
Consequently, UN Women called upon the Government and people of Egypt to immediately stop all forms of violence against women and girls and to promote human rights for all, including the rights of women to live free of violence and discrimination and to participate fully in social, economic and political life. In particular, Mrs. Bachelet underlined that in order to safeguard the fundamental rights of women, the Egyptian government has to adopt new laws and take additional measures as to ensure their protection and ability to exercise their rights.
According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, some 25 women were reportedly sexually assaulted in Tahrir, Cairo during the recent demonstrations. In some cases extraordinary violence was reported. High Commissioner Navi Pillay also condemned the attacks and the fact that authorities have failed to prevent them or bring the perpetrators to justice.
The situation in Egypt deteriorated dramatically on January 24, when thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to commemorate the second anniversary of the revolution. At least 53 people were reportedly killed during the protests and nearly 2,000 injured.