Monday, March 8, 2021

#IWD2021 : The New Draft Personal Status law

First Happy New International Women’s Day to all the fantastic ladies all over the world

Second, I do not know how we celebrate the IWD 2021 and speak about Women’s Empowerment in Egypt on any level when we are on the verge of having a new Personal Status Law that will be a huge setback to Women’s empowerment in Egypt.

Last week, we knew that among the new draft laws the House of Representatives will discuss and supposedly pass it soon is the new Personal status draft law which was drafted by the Egyptian government.

The new personal status law on the occasion of IWD 2021 by Doaa Al Adl
The new personal status law on the occasion of IWD 2021 by Doaa Al Adl 

Youm 7 website reportedly published a copy of that draft law before removing it according to the women’s rights advocates who took a copy from that draft law.

According to them, it is disastrous for women and a huge setback to women’s empowerment in Egypt.

One of the major points that they raised that this law or those amendments technically cancels the woman’s legal capacity in the first place.

Despite it gives women the right to marry by themselves, it allegedly enables any male “guardian” in the woman’s family to annul or to divorce her.

One of the proposed articles strips mothers from financial guardianship or conservatorship over their minor children giving it to men in the family. I do not know what to say.

The draft law reportedly allows male family members to prevent women from travelling regardless of their work or travel arrangements based on the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence

In the Mid 1970s, there was a scandal that Egyptian society has remembered for generations.

Prominent social solidarity minister Dr Aisha Ratab was heading to Europe to attend a conference representing Egypt as a minister when she found at Cairo International Airport that her estranged husband issued an order banning her from travel.

Unlike nowadays, the security asked her not to get on board the aeroplane. It was a huge scandal, a highly accomplished respectable woman with a PhD humiliated publicly.

This was the old Personal status law.

FYI, the incident of Ratab ended that she went to the conference but she was divorced in absence by her abusive husband.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Women and human rights organizations are not silent, they are angry and they have to be loud enough.

Prominent women’s right activist and lawyer Nehad Abu Komsan is furious and is sharing more and more of that draft law as she got a copy and its details are making me fierce.

There are 7 independent human rights organizations that issued a statement rejecting this draft law or draft amendments including Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies “CIHRS”, El Nadim Center and Arabic Network for Human Rights Information “ANHRI”.

I have not heard anything from the National Council For Women “NCW”.

Yet I read some statement in the media by MP Samira El-Gazar of the Egyptian Democratic Socialist Party saying the Chairwoman of the NCW Maya Morsi allegedly told the women MPs in the House of Representatives that the Council did not present this draft to the parliament nor support this draft law and that the women MPs must stand against it.

Officially I have not seen any statement concerning this draft law from the NCW.

A group of activists launched an online petition for a Civilian Personal Status law that is not based on Sharia law. 

Realistically speaking such a petition and draft law may not find true support in the Egyptian conservative society on the ground away from the social media but I look it that for every action there is a reaction and if you are going to the extreme, some will go to the other way.

Now the last thing we know that the House of Representatives sent the draft law to Al-Azhar to have a say in its articles and their combability to Sharia.

It is worth to mention that Al-Azhar, the country’s biggest religious institution presented a new Personal law in 2019 which was met by anger if I remembered correctly and it was shelved.

Last week I asked on Twitter why there was a new amended or a new Personal Status Law in the first place because the current is not bad and I got either no logic answer.

I got a couple of replies claiming that the Personal Status law has to be changed in order to lower the rates of divorce in society !!!

Yes, the rates of divorces increased rapidly in a scary way in the past few years but to reduce those rates you do not need a Personal status law that strips the women of rights that are granted in Islamic Sharia.

You need to go deep into the roots of the problems that causing divorce, especially among the younger generations.

There are other social problems unrelated to the current Personal Status including immaturity causing divorce among younger generations.

The current Personal Status law is based upon Islamic Sharia and was approved by Sheikhs and scholars so what we got this draft law now which they are telling that it is also based upon Islamic Sharia and it seems that we are in front of two Islamic Sharia !!!

Are we going to change the Personal law every couple of decades based on the men’s preference of the schools of Sunni jurisprudence in Egypt !?

Already those alleged amendments if they were brought up during the time of late Mohamed Morsi I would have heard huge anger in the media and more rejection. 

This is the second draft law making controversy. From three weeks ago, we had the real estate registration law whose implementation was postponed till 2023- till it is amended thanks to the presidential intervention due to the public anger and frustration. 

1 comment:

  1. What a sad thing! I wonder why some people say that the current law is Suzanne's law which violates Sharia law although the religious institutions approved "Suzanne's law".
    TV shows discuss the article of imprisoning and fining men marrying for the second time without telling their first wives and ignore the rest of the law. Ibrahim Eissa is the only host who discussed the disastrous articles.
    I hope this draft will be cancelled sooner or later.
    By the way, some people are talking about a new currency flotation soon.
    Check this link.
    I don't think that people can afford more and refusing people the real estate registration law is just an example.
    I hope you talk about that.


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