Mozn Hassan denounces Egypt’s failure to uphold women’s rights

News 11.03.2021

On March 10, 2021, during the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, on the occasion of the General Debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, 2016 Right Livelihood Laureate Mozn Hassan addressed the Council condemning the recent escalation of reprisal-intentioned policies used to silence Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs).

2020 was a dangerous year for Egyptian Women Human Rights Defenders. Since April 2020, the authorities have carried out a wave of arrests that offered evidence of a growing systemic inclination to largely target women, especially feminist activists and social media influencers. In Egypt, WHRDs suffer additional violations compared to their male counterparts because of their gender and are often persecuted and prosecuted for how they appear or what they say, both online and offline.

Right Livelihood Laureate Mozn Hassan continues to suffer reprisals for her feminist work. On July 18, 2020, after postponing the verdict 8 times, the North Cairo Criminal Court rejected Ms. Hassan’s appeal against the travel ban order, which has been in place for almost three years. In light of these increasing restrictions to civil society, it is fundamental that the Human Rights Council continues to urge Egypt to uphold its international human rights obligations and to ensure that WHRDs can carry out their activities without fear, and release all those who are arbitrarily detained.   

Read the full statement below: 

Madam President, 

My name is Mozn Hassan. I am an Egyptian feminist activist and Woman Human Rights Defender. Due to my work, I am currently under a travel ban. But my experience is only one of the many affecting Egyptian women advocating for gender equality.

I am deeply concerned at the recent escalation of reprisal-intentioned policies used to silence Women Human Rights Defenders. Gross violations committed during their arrest, interrogation, detention, and trial are unprecedented. 

The wave of arrests carried out since April 2020 offered evidence of a state patriarchal approach towards women, including social media influencers, based exclusively on gender-stereotyping. 

Egypt has been failing women for decades. The State fell short of addressing the waves of mass sexual assaults and rape following the 2011 revolution, as most of these crimes were met with impunity due to the lack of accountability frameworks. Even today, the penal code and its suggested amendments are far from being comprehensive and delivering justice to women.

Madam President, 

Discrimination against women in Egypt is systematic in all spheres of life. This Council must urge Egypt to conduct independent investigations into all crimes of sexual violence, to hold perpetrators accountable, and provide a holistic framework for the protection of survivors. Lastly, it must call on Egypt to ensure that Women Human Rights Defenders like myself can carry out their work freely, and release all those who are arbitrarily detained. 

Thank you.

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