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[16days_discussion] FW: The President, his Group, and the Government Must Cease their Policy of Targeting Female Activists and Excluding Women from the Public Sphere

16 Days 16days at
Wed Dec 12 10:25:42 EST 2012

Dear 16 Days Activists,

Below, please see a joint statement, courtesy of Nazra for Feminist 
Studies, on state violence against female activists and excluding women 
from the public sphere.

In solidarity,
The 16 Days Team
Center for Women's Global Leadership

    Joint Statement

12 Dec 2012

/*Repetition of Black Wednesday Events with Different Players and 
Offenders */

The undersigned feminist and human rights organizations express deep 
concern due to the escalation of state policies that reinforce the state 
of impunity and which refrain from protecting citizens and securing 
peaceful assemblies. The organizations also condemn the perpetuation of 
the approach of groups that support the regime in targeting female 
activists and excluding women from the public sphere through direct 
incitement and aggression.

The attacks that took place in the vicinity of Itihadeya Palace (the 
presidential palace) in Heliopolis district on Wednesday, 5 December 
2012, brought to mind the events of Black Wednesday, 25 May 2005, which 
unfolded during similar situations and complicity. The events of Black 
Tuesday, like those of Itihadeya, also took place during a national 
referendum on constitutional articles when thugs belonging to the, now 
dissolved, National Democratic Party were deployed to beat protestors, 
with the help of police forces, in front of the Press Syndicate, and 
sexually assaulting female protestors and journalists.

The undersigned organizations ascertain that an array of evidence point 
to the responsibility of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which 
president Mohammed Morsi belongs to, in motivating its supporters 
through statements that contextually and literally incited hatred 
against peaceful protesters and promoted the use of violence against 
them. The violence resulted in the injury of 748 protesters and the 
death of 10, according to Ministry of Health. Amongst the aforementioned 
statements of Party leaders is that of Essam El-Erian, vice-chairman of 
the FJP, who announced in the night of 5 December 2012, that: “the 
president will not back down and if the state structures are weakened by 
the injuries of the previous period, then the people can force its will 
and protect the legitimacy [of the president]”.

It is noteworthy to shed light on the violence used on December 5 2012, 
seeing that it represented a continuation of the policy of attacking 
women with physical and sexual violence by non-state actors supportive 
of the President. The latter is a policy they embarked upon since 
January 31 2012, dubbed ‘Determination Tuesday’, in the wake of marches 
to parliament that protested continuation of the rule of the Supreme 
Council of the Armed Forces. The supporters of the FJP and the Muslim 
Brotherhood resorted to creating a human shield to prevent protesters 
from approaching the Parliament, clashed with the marches, and attacked 
female protesters. The attack passed without accountability, in a clear 
sign of the perpetuation of the state of impunity enjoyed by the ruling 
majority and their immunity from accountability and the application of 
the law.

The trend of targeting female activists, to punish them for 
participating in the public sphere and to exclude them from political 
life, becomes evident through the testimonies given by female activists. 
One such testimony was given by Ola Shahba, who recounted in a talk 
show, the way in which she was attacked and dragged through the streets 
by supporters of the president. In the same talk show, Lina Megahed also 
spoke of the details of the attack she witnessed. The details they 
recounted speak of a manner of treating WHRDs that does not differ from 
the ways in which security officers, whether civilian or military, dealt 
with WHRDs.

It becomes clear through the statements of government officials the 
trend taken by the state to abandon its responsibility in protecting 
citizens, generally, and protecting peaceful assemblies specifically. In 
4 December, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil stated that protesters at 
Itihadeya Palace are responsible for “protecting themselves”. In the 
same vein was a previous statement made by Presidential spokesperson 
Yasser Ali, who announced, during the protests that took place on 12 
October that it is best that security officers stay away from the scene 
for the interest of the protests.

It is noteworthy that since President Morsi came to power on 30 June 
2012, he has failed to deal with the demands and issues pertaining to 
rights, freedoms, and justice over a span of more than five months 
without taking any positive steps. With the continuation of his failure 
and that of his government, this regime is losing its legitimacy, 
especially with every drop of blood shed by Egyptian citizens and 
peaceful protesters. We also ascertain that the use of female voices 
from the FJP to speak about the peaceful nature of the dispute is only 
to be considered as a tool to resuscitate the state’s understanding of 
women’s rights and the ruling party’s support for that understanding, 
and the attempt to pass a constitution that undermines women’s rights 
and treats them as second-class citizens, which we utterly refuse.

*Signing Organizations:*
- Nazra for Feminist Studies.
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
- El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence.
- New Woman Foundation.
- Women and Memory Forum.

Yara Sallam . Director . Women Human Rights Defenders Program . Nazra 
for Feminist Studies
  يارا سلام . مديرة برنامج المدافعات عن حقوق الإنسان . نظرة للدراسات النسوية
(+2) 0100-860-2062
website <> . twitter 
<> . facebook 


The 16 Days Team
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
Center for Women's Global Leadership
School of Arts and Sciences
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
160 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8555
Tel: 1-848-932-8782
Fax: 1-732-932-1180
Skype: cwgl_16days
Email: 16days at

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