Sexual harassment committee’s plan to combat violence against women in Egypt

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Among the Egyptian government’s efforts to combat sexual violence against women, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi commissioned the formation of a ministerial committee to discuss this terrible phenomenon. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab headed the committee which convened on Thursday, 12 June for an in-depth study of the issue at hand and to plan immediate action.

The committee comprised of several cabinet members which included the Minister of Interior, Minister of Education, Minister of Social Solidarity and the Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. The President of the National Council for Women and representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Al-Azhar and the Egyptian Church were also present.

Plans include increasing the security presence around public squares and crowded locations, in addition to stressing the urgency of enforcing the new sexual harassment laws to prevent such crimes.

Moreover, the Ministry of Interior was commissioned with the formation of a new security force specialised in combating these crimes, while recruiting more female officers in the human rights sector of the ministry.

The National Centre for Social and Criminal Research was assigned the task of studying the factors surrounding sexual harassment and assessing the strategic methods of combat.

Several educational, cultural and religious institutions were urged to take a more effective role in the matter, and use their authority in their respective fields to spread awareness about women’s rights and roles in society. Improving awareness about equality and human rights is essential at such a critical time, in addition to campaigning against drug use.

The committee added that they will be working on increasing the advertising space in several media outlets for the National Council for Women’s sexual harassment awareness campaign, including the council’s sexual harassment hotline, which can be reached on 0800 888 3888.