60.The Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons is working in collaboration with all relevant judicial and police agencies to develop and update the database on this type of offence to enhance cooperation and find solutions to combat and curb the phenomenon. In that regard, since 2020, the Egyptian Public Prosecutor’s Office has implemented an electronic criminal justice programme under which information is entered on cases under investigation by the Office of the Public Prosecutor, including human trafficking cases. It is then analysed by the Department of International Cooperation and Sentence Enforcement of the Office of the Public Prosecutor. This mechanism allows for facilitated access, information retrieval and analysis of cases, which in turns helps to verify enforcement by prosecutors of the Anti-Human-Trafficking Act.
61.Act No. 5 (2010) regulates the transfer and transplantation of organs. It prohibits the transfer of organs between Egyptians and foreigners with the exception of spouses who have been married for more than three years. It prohibits the transfer of any human organ or body except as a donation between Egyptian relatives, or non‑relatives, provided that the donation is made out of free will. The Act requires both recipient and donor be informed of the nature and potential risks of transfer and transplant operations. The Act expressly prohibits any act that might be construed as trafficking in human organs. It provides for deterrent penalties of up to life imprisonment for violations.
62.The Act established a high committee chaired by the Minister of Health to manage and regulate organ, body part and tissue transplants, identify facilities authorized to do transplants, and supervise and monitor them to ensure that they comply with internationally accepted rules. The Office of the Public Prosecutor has launched investigations into a number of incidents that constituted offences of human trafficking for the purpose of organ transplantation. There were 9 such cases in 2017, 18 in 2018, 15 in 2019, and 9 in 2020.
63.As for “tourist” and “temporary” marriages, they are considered under Egyptian law to be crimes of sexual exploitation punishable under the Act No. 64 (2010) on combating human trafficking, and article 291 of the Egyptian Penal Code. The Office of the Public Prosecutor has launched investigations into several such incidents. It brought 8 cases in 2017, 19 in 2018, 30 in 2019 and 50 in 2020.
64.We refer you to paragraph 64 of our report. Further to that, there are measures aimed at the early identification of women and girls who are victims of human trafficking. The brief guide for prosecutors states that prosecutors should conduct thorough investigations into crimes suspected of involving human trafficking. That includes prostitution cases that suggest that organized criminal groups and international networks are exploiting victims. The guide also covers exploitation of children for begging; it requires further investigation into what motivates children to commit crimes and whether or not there is someone making them do it. It also covers child marriage, forced labour (especially of children and domestic workers), the transfer and transplantation of human organs and the exploitation of children in criminal and terrorist activities. Chief prosecutors must establish special divisions in every office to investigate human trafficking crimes.
65.With regard to mechanisms for supporting and protecting victims, the Office of the Public Prosecutor takes a number of measures. Victims are put in touch with the relevant authorities to be provided with psychosocial and legal support in accordance with an expert’s decisions. Victims may be placed in homes established for that purpose if necessary. Where the victim is an adult female, the prosecutor puts her in touch with the National Council for Women in order to consult on appropriate measures for her case. Appropriate health, psychological or social support are provided. The prosecutor may instruct the relevant agencies to take the appropriate measures. The prosecutor must instruct the police to provide the necessary protection to the victim or witnesses when they are being transferred from the prosecutor’s office to the agency that will be providing them with housing, if that is called for. Health care must be provided as soon as the prosecutor becomes aware that the victim needs it. The prosecutor must follow up protection and assistance measures, and may request the agencies ordered to take those measures to provide periodic reports on the condition of the victim and the measures taken.
66.With regard to international cooperation, the Department of International Cooperation of the Office of the Public Prosecutor engages in judicial cooperation with its counterparts in other countries. It drafts, sends, receives, considers and implements requests for judicial cooperation in human trafficking offences in the light of the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and protocols thereto, and bilateral and multilateral agreements. The Office of the Public Prosecutor has signed memorandums of understanding with prosecutors from countries around the world to strengthen cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, including organized crime and human trafficking.
Women human rights defenders
67.Egypt has a categorical reservation regarding the term “women human rights defenders” in the absence of a comprehensive international agreement concerning the criteria that can be used to define it. At the same time, the State takes all constitutional and legal measures to protect the rights of the accused, whatever their allegiances or the charged against them. Numerous constitutional and legal measures are in place to ensure that the accused receive a fair trial. All those measures are subject to intensified judiciary oversight. All judgments or preventive measures that could be classified as restrictions to freedom fall within that legal framework, according to the circumstances of the judgment in each specific case. In addition, Egyptian law provides that defendants have access to numerous stages of the judicial system in order to ensure that the judgments are sound.
68.Citizens are equal before the law and have rights and duties grounded in the principles of citizenship and equality. Nobody is above the law, and that includes human rights defenders. Strengthening respect for the rule of law is the cornerstone of a democratic system and is the way to ensure respect for the human rights of all people without distinction. The Egyptian Government is committed to implementing the instruments on human rights and women's rights to which it is a party. Those instruments have the force of law. Under the Egyptian legal system, defendants have guarantees during the investigation and trial in order to prevent violations. Those guarantees include the right of defendants to be questioned with the knowledge of the competent judicial authority; the right to a lawyer; the right to be informed of the charges made against them; protection from coercion; the right to remain silent; the right not to be required to take a legal oath; and the prohibition of psychological pressure. Those points show that legal guarantees are available for all defendants during investigation and trial and prevent their being subjected to any violation.
69.The Tik Tok women cases are still under investigation. Any intervention in the investigative process would affect the independence of the judiciary, a principle to which Egypt is committed. It should, however, be pointed out that, on 12 January 2021, the Economic Court of Appeals of Cairo acquitted Haneen Hossam, Mawada al-Adham and three others of the charge of infringing family values and principles.
70.With reference to paragraphs 76 through 83 of the official report, we wish to note that, owing to the legislative reforms mentioned above, the proportion of seats occupied by women in the current house of representatives is the highest in the history of Egypt. Women gained 164 of the total number of parliamentary seats, or 27.7 per cent. Women also gained 15 seats on the specialized house committees. The opening session of the House of Representatives was chaired by a woman. Although the Senate Act provides for a quota of no less than 10 per cent of seats for women, the President has appointed 20 women to appointee posts in the Senate, bringing women’s Senate representation to 14 per cent.
71.It should be mentioned that the laws regulating appointments to judicial, academic, diplomatic and consular posts all guarantee equality and equal opportunities for women and men. Candidates are rated on their competence and academic qualifications the posts.
72.Women account for 43 per cent of the administrative prosecutor corps. Twenty-six new female judges have been appointed to courts of first instance, and 66 female judges to Egyptian courts. A woman was installed as Chief Justice of the Economic Court in 2018. Women have been appointed as judges on the Criminal Court and the Constitutional Court. On International Women’s Day 2021, the President instructed that women should be appointed to the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the State Council in fulfilment of the constitutional requirement of equality and non‑discrimination. The State Council announced that it would accept women. Women account for 25 per cent of diplomats and 50 per cent of the most recent intake. The Government is working to improve opportunities for women in senior and leadership roles. Women occupy some 10.5 per cent of posts for lawmakers and senior officials, 6 per cent of directors of institutions, and 25.5 per cent of directors-general. The first female national security advisor to the President has been appointed. She is one of only 12 women to have assumed such a post anywhere in the world. Women now account for 25 per cent of ministers, as compared to 20 per cent in 2017 and 6 per cent in 2016. They accounted for 28 per cent of deputy ministers in 2018, as compared to 17 per cent in 2017. Two women have been appointed governor, and 31 per cent of deputy governors are women. In 2019, women accounted for seven of 23 governors.
73.With reference to paragraph 27 of the official report, conditions under which Egyptian nationality may be granted to a foreign woman married to an Egyptian man are set out in articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Egyptian Nationality Act. A foreign woman who marries a foreign man who has acquired Egyptian nationality may acquire Egyptian nationality by applying to the authorities two years before the end of the marriage, except in the event of the husband’s death (article 6, paragraph 1). A foreign woman who marries an Egyptian man can acquire nationality by applying to the authorities stating that she intends to acquire Egyptian nationality. The application must be filed more than two years before the end of the marriage, except in the event of the husband’s death (article 7).
74.The condition that the foreign woman must live in the country for no less than ten successive years to acquire Egyptian nationality thus does not apply in those cases.
75.The Supreme Standing Committee on Human Rights is working to list and sort all the concluding recommendations and observations concerning the legislative framework that have been made by United Nations treaty bodies with a view to improving the consistency of laws and of the country’s constitutional and international human rights commitments.
76.The Nationality Act addresses situations of statelessness from several points of view. Egyptian nationality is an established right for anyone who is born in Egypt to unknown parents. A foundling is considered to have been born in Egypt unless proven otherwise. Under the Act, minors who acquire the non-Egyptian nationality of their parents may recover their nationality within a year of reaching the age of majority (article 2). When an Egyptian man loses Egyptian nationality by acquiring a foreign nationality, it does not follow that his wife loses it too, unless she states her intention to acquire her husband’s nationality. Instead, she may keep her Egyptian nationality (article 11). An Egyptian woman who has lost her Egyptian nationality by marrying a foreigner and acquiring his nationality may recover Egyptian nationality.
77.In any event, acquired Egyptian nationality may be revoked only by a justified decision taken by Cabinet in cases of fraud, false statements and other specific instances. The revocation of acquired nationality does not necessarily entail its revocation from others who acquired it by extension. Egyptian nationality can be lost only based on a justified decision taken by the Cabinet, and its revocation affects only the individual concerned. All decisions concerning the acquisition, revocation, loss, recovery or restitution of nationality must be published in the Official Gazette. The individuals concerned may appeal against those decisions before the judiciary. All judgments handed down in cases involving nationality are binding on all parties and shall be published in the Official Gazette.
78.With reference to paragraph 24 of the original report, we wish to add that the Government has taken several measures to improve school attendance rates and reading and writing skills. One example is the Strategic Plan for the Development of Pre-University Education (2014–2030), whose purpose is to provide equal access to education for all residents of school age, particularly in poor areas, and to improve the quality of educational services. Another is the National Education Project, which was launched in 2018 with a view to expanding the opening of social education classes across the country, making available 4,957 social classes in all Governments for girls’ education, and opening 26 social schools in cooperation with partner associations. In order to improve the teaching process and encourage girls to attend school, 1,891 social classes have been refurbished and 400 computers have been made available. The information technology infrastructure of schools has been improved to ensure that information services reach all rural and remote areas. During the period from July 2014 to May 2020, some 9,000 school workshops and 27,000 advanced classrooms were installed Some 1.4 million tablets were provided free of charge in 2018 for pupils in the first year of secondary school. Secondary schools were given internal networks with a server and high-speed internet.
79.Women and girls who benefit from the Takaful and Karamah project attend literacy classes. These are combined with development projects to provide employment for women and develop their capacities and skills. Other literacy classes that are combined with small industry: women learn professions and skills that will enable them to find permanent work from home. In July 2020, in villages targeted by the President’s “Dignified life” initiative, the Ministry of Social Solidarity implemented an initiative entitled “A dignified life without illiteracy” in cooperation with the National Literacy Authority. The first phase is taking place in 143 villages in 11 governorates.
80.The Government has taken several measures to address the dropout rate. The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood has implemented the Girls’ Education Initiative in governorates where there is a gender gap in primary education. A total of 1,191 girl-friendly schools have been established through the initiative. The Council has also implemented the Combating Dropout programme. A final draft of the guidelines on interacting with children vulnerable to dropout has been compiled. Committees have been established to curb dropout in 30 primary schools. Other anti‑dropout committees, known as anti-dropout teams, have been put in place. A national anti-dropout plan has been announced, and 720 teachers, social and psychological workers, and headmasters have been trained.
81.The Ministry of Education has compiled a concept note on public health and sex education for learners of both genders, from the start of their development up until secondary school. The document, entitled Health Education Document, sets out concepts relative to health and safety of human body organs in general, including the reproductive system of men and women; diseases that could affect the reproductive system; and ways to keep it healthy. The contents of the document have been incorporated into curricula from kindergarten to the third year of secondary school. At the start, pupils are taught about their senses and how to protect them. They then study the functions of the bodily organs. In middle school, they learn about reproduction and the male and female reproductive organs. In secondary school, certain essential concepts involving sex education are taught as part of the biology curriculum.
Ensuring that girls and young women benefit from technical and vocational training
82.In 2019, the National Council for Women launched the “She leads” programme, whose purpose is to train 50 female students in leadership, entrepreneurship and how to turn ideas into projects. The programme consists of interactive workshops and counselling sessions with entrepreneurship experts. The “My profession is my strength” digital platform is used to highlight women with skills and qualifications and assist with networking in the jobs market. An Egyptian women’s guide to entrepreneurship has been compiled with a view to building capacities of women who want to start a project and earn an adequate income. In 2018, a project entitled “Egyptian women: entrepreneurs for the future” was launched to ensure professional equality in education and in technical and vocational training for women in slums and deprived neighbourhoods. The Ministry of Education has trained 1,870 teachers, 69 per cent of whom are women, in professional guidance and counselling. Training in innovation and entrepreneurship has been provided to 1,077 teachers, some 60 per cent of whom are women. Training has been organized in the governorates of Aswan and Kafr al-Shaykh in the “Here I am” programme, whose purpose is to raise awareness of a freelance work culture consistent with their work culture. Training has been carried out in 24 schools in Luxor governorate to support women’s work in Upper Egypt.
83.The Life 2 programme is being implemented in Suhaj governorate with a view to supporting women’s work in Upper Egypt. It adopts the European Union entrepreneurship competence (EntreComp) framework, which consists of 15 competences. The Government has implemented a national programme that has benefited some 18,000 women. The programme provides concessional loans through the Local Development Fund. Training and technical assistance are provided for small enterprises and microenterprises. Forty-one centres for working women have been established in 22 governorates in order to encourage labour force participation, benefiting some 195,000 women. In 2017, the Ministry of Trade and Industry inaugurated the “I am an entrepreneur” programme to develop women’s business management skills and professional training, and to provide the skills that women need in order to develop their business.
Protection of schools, male and female teachers, boys and girls from terrorist attacks
84.The police takes the necessary measures to secure educational facilities and those who study there. In certain parts of north Sinai, law enforcement forces take legal measures, in accordance with international standards for human rights while countering terrorism, to eradicate the infrastructure of terrorist elements in order to ensure that normal life can return and that civilians are protected from the threat of terrorism. Schools and universities cannot in any way be used to support military endeavours. Law enforcement forces are in constant communication with civilian entities, including directorates of education, to ensure that pre-planned security arrangements are in place to protect the education sector, including both the material infrastructure, i.e. school and university buildings, and the means of transport used by students and teachers. Checkpoints and patrols are organized around the clock to protect schools and the roads used by students and teachers, without there being a military presence in the schools and universities.
Tackling high unemployment
85.With reference to paragraph 97 of the official report, we wish to add that Egypt has adopted numerous policies and programmes for the economic empowerment of women and to mainstream them into the labour market. As a result, female unemployment fell from 24.2 per cent in 2015 to 21.4 per cent in 2019. In order to ensure equality in employment opportunities, the Government is committed to creating jobs aimed at women through targeted productive projects. The proportion of small-scale projects aimed at women has increased from 22.5 per cent in 2015 to 64.5 per cent in 2019. The proportion of microfinance loans granted to women has increased from 45 per cent in 2015 to 48.8 per cent in 2019. Financing of microenterprises and small enterprises granted to women has increased from 719 million EGP in 2014 to 1,884 million EGP in 2018.
86.Several programmes exist for mainstreaming women into the labour market. The “Opportunity” programme helps the families most in need of care by finding appropriate work opportunities that can help generate income. Some 50,000 people benefited from the first phase, in 2020–2022. The “Masturah” programme provides microfinance for women. A savings programme for villages is also in place and has benefited some 18,000 women.
87.In the period 2014–2018, the Government undertook numerous cooperation initiatives with international and local entities including UN-Women. Examples include an initiative for people with special needs; one for women breadwinners with special needs; the “Daughter of Egypt” initiative for rural women breadwinners, organized in cooperation with the Agricultural Bank of Egypt; the “Our future is in our hands” initiative, in cooperation with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development; and the “Land of bounty” project.
Equal pay for equal work
88.With reference to paragraph 25 of the official report, we wish to add that, under article 88 of the Labour Code, all provisions concerning the employment of workers apply to women at work. and that there is no discrimination between them when the conditions of work are similar. It is provided that the employer or their representative shall be fined in the event of a violation. The Labour Code bans wage discrimination on grounds of gender, origin, language, religion or conviction. The Penal Code prohibits any action or failure to act that could result in discrimination among individuals, or against a category of people, on certain grounds that include gender. In early 2020, Egypt joined the Equal Pay International Coalition, whose purpose is to achieve wage equality between women and men everywhere. In July 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation, the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum launched the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator to help Governments and companies to close the economic gap in wages between genders, improve women's labour force participation. The Accelerator has succeeded in bringing together 100 companies that have committed to promote the Accelerator and take proactive measures to foster the economic empowerment of women.
89.With reference to paragraph 26 of the report submitted by Egypt to the Committee, we wish to add that a draft law on domestic employment is before the House of Representatives. The draft law provides for the establishment of a Department of Domestic Work within the Ministry of Workforce. Domestic workers are exempted from court fees in legal disputes; the licensing of a company for domestic labour; a ban on employing individuals aged under 18 unless permitted by a ministerial decision; and a ban on paying domestic workers less than the minimum wage. A provision is in place to punish violations of the draft law. Parliament is discussing amendments to the Labour Code to cover all pending issues.
Night work and work in certain occupations
90.In April 2021, the Ministry of Workforce adopted decisions amending the rules concerning the employment of women at night and defining professions in which women may not be employed. The decisions authorize the employment of women at night if they so request. The employer must, however, commit to make daytime employment available as an alternative to night work. during the periods before and after childbirth. The decision concerning the definition of professions in which women may not be employed has been amended to encompass underground work, including work in mines and quarries and in the extraction of minerals, excepting women who work in administrative posts and in health care or care services, women who have trained in underground quarrying, and other women who need to spend a certain time in underground mines to fulfil a non-manual task. Women cannot be employed while pregnant or breastfeeding in jobs that entail risks to their reproductive health or to that of their child or fetus, or that entails chemical, physics-related, biological or engineering risks. Women may be employed when not pregnant or breastfeeding once workplace health and safety conditions are in place.
91.The Unit for Gender Equality and the Economic Empowerment of Women within the Ministry of Workforce has coordinated with the National Council for Women to follow up the rules periodically, follow up new developments and assess the effect of the decisions.
Right to maternity leave
92.The Children Act provides that women working in government, the public sector, the public works sector and the private sector have the right to three months’ maternity leave at full pay. Article 91 of the Labour Code provides for maternity leave of 90 days with compensation equivalent to full pay. Article 52, paragraph 2 of the Civil Service Act provides that workers in the public sector shall accrue four months’ leave, a maximum of three times during the course of their employment in the civil service.
Criminalization of sexual harassment in the workplace
93.All forms of violence against women are criminalized by law. The penalty for sexual harassment has been strengthened in the Penal Code, and its scope has been expanded to encompass the criminalization both of violence against women and of sexual harassment. The law provides penalties for disturbing women by gesture, word, action or any means, including wired and wireless defences. Under the Penal Code, the penalty is also strengthened if the acts are intended to secure a sexual benefit, something that is characterized as sexual harassment. The penalty consists of imprisonment for a period from six months to five years and a fine of up to 50,000 EGP. The penalty specified in article 267 is strengthened for anyone who has professional, family or academic authority over the victim. The scope of the offence has been expanded to include the areas of family, school and work, thus including harassment by supervisors and colleagues, even if the harassment occurs outside the workplace.
Addressing the horizontal and vertical segregation of women
94.Whether in law or in actual practice, Egypt does not have vertical or horizontal segregation of women. Egyptian women have the right to work on an equal footing with men. The Government complies with its constitutional obligation to uphold equal opportunities among all citizens. Under labour legislation, prohibitions on women’s work exist only where such work poses a risk to them. As has been mentioned, numerous efforts have been made, and many Government entities work to uphold equal opportunities and encourage women to join the labour market. The Civil Service Act includes a comprehensive set of regulations for promotion and seniority, which applies to men and women on an equal footing.
95.Below are some additional comments on the most important points raised under question 18:
•There has been an increase in budget allocations for the public health sector, which now accounts for 3 per cent of gross domestic product, at a value of 258.5 billion EGP for the financial year 2020–21, an increase of 150.9 EGP on the 2017–18 financial year. Additional allocations have been made to confront the coronavirus crisis.
•The country took a significant step by adopting the Comprehensive Health Insurance System Act, which provides mandatory coverage for all citizens without discrimination. The system will be introduced in six stages up until 2032. The current, first phase includes six governorates, at a cost of 1.8 billion EGP. As at February 2021, 600,000 citizens were enrolled in the system. Three million medical services have been provided to citizens, including 1.2 million family medicine services, 500,000 outpatient procedures and 30,000 surgical procedures.
•The President of the Republic has adopted an initiative to combat Hepatitis C and detect non-communicable diseases, at a cost of 4 billion EGP. As a result, the prevalence of Hepatitis C has decreased from 7 per cent in 2018 to 2 per cent in 2020. A survey of 50 million citizens was carried out as part of the non‑communicable disease early warning initiative. Further to the survey, 8.11 million patients were treated.
•The Government has made numerous efforts to curb the rising birth rate while respecting the right to families to determine the number of children they will have. The Ministry of Social Solidarity launched the “2 Are Enough” initiative in September 2018. Four million men and women were targeted by knocking on doors in order to raise awareness of family planning methods. In 2020, 2,359,757 women were reached, and 328,914 women were referred to family planning clinics. For that purpose, 1,159 volunteers worked as social awareness raisers.
•In 2020 alone, 64 family planning clinics were developed and equipped by partner civil society organizations. In that year, a total of 61,897 women visited the clinics and 51,455 women used family planning services.
•Abortion is not permitted by law in Egypt as a family planning method. Abortions may be performed to save the life of the pregnant woman in cases of necessity. In 1998, however, the Dar al-Ifta issued a fatwa allowing abortion in cases of rape and abortion in general within the first 120 days of the pregnancy. Al-Azhar University has supported the fatwa, as have several senior religious and legal scholars in Egypt.
96.Some 254,000 refugees and asylum seekers, with 56 nationalities, are registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In addition, some five million people have fled armed conflict in their home countries without asking for refugee status, because they have been able to integrate easily into society. The Government provides health care and education to refugees and asylum seekers on an equal footing with Egyptian citizens, without discrimination. The implementing regulation of the Comprehensive Health Insurance System Act provides that foreigners resident in Egypt and refugees are included in the system. Decision No. 601 (2012) of the Minister of Health provides that children of refugees and asylum seekers have a right to health services on an equal footing with Egyptian children.
97.Refugees and asylum seekers have been included in the numerous health campaigns launched by the President of the Republic in such areas as detecting and treating viral liver inflammation (Hepatitis C), combating polio, obesity, anaemia and stunting among schoolchildren. Refugees receive the support provided by Governments to their citizens with regard to commodities and basic services. More than 65,000 pupils from other Arab States have benefited from educational services in Government schools.
98.The Government provided 36,209,139 EGP worth of assistance to families of convicted prisoners in the financial year 2019–20; most of the 8,809 beneficiaries were women and girls. As at the end of the 2018–2019 financial year, women accounted for 27.8 per cent of the 305,000 beneficiaries of support from the Social Housing and Real Estate Financing Fund. Those beneficiaries belong to the lowest-earning 40 per cent of the population.
99.All inmates are treated in a manner that preserves their dignity, as required under the Constitution. Prisons are under comprehensive judicial supervision to ensure compliance with the law. The law entitles the National Human Rights Council to visit prisons and treatment and reform institutions. Visiting teams may include heads and members of national and human rights councils and certain civil society organizations, in addition to journalists and foreign correspondents.
100.Under Egyptian criminal law, there are no places of detention specific to transgender persons. In accordance with the applicable international guidelines, there is a complete separation between men and women. If an inmate claims to be transgender, or if a doctor is unable to determine their gender, the Office of the Public Prosecutor is contacted for a forensic examination to ascertain the person’s gender and accordingly have them sent to a men’s or women’s prison. An appropriate independent location is identified in view of their circumstances so that they can be protected from harassment.
101.The prison sector is committed to providing medical care to all inmates without distinction through its own hospitals and clinics. When an inmate’s health conditions so require, they are referred to an outside hospital for tests or surgery that cannot be provided in prison hospitals. Medical convoys can also be organized for surveys with a view to improving living conditions in such areas as nutrition, exercise facilities, cafeterias, means of subsistence, organization of visits allowed by law, handing over of incoming letters from family members, social and sports activities, prison libraries, prison workshops, hobby displays and, for Christians, Sunday Mass. Nurseries are provided for female inmates, who have every opportunity to care for their children.
102.In the event of a complaint, the female inmate contacts the prison management so that the necessary action can be taken. If they do not want prison management to see the complaint, they can write it down and send it to the prisons department for evaluation in accordance with article 883 of the Prison Operating Procedures Act. Rehabilitation programmes are implemented in cooperation with civil society organizations.
Measures to support rural women through cash transfers
103.The Ministry of Local Development provides loans under the “Your enterprise” national project for local and community development. It has financed 770,000 small enterprises, with 38.2 per cent going to women. Loans were provided to 2,175 small enterprises and microenterprises from the Local Development Fund, with 67.53 per cent going to women.
104.The Takaful and Karamah programmes were launched in 2015 to expand social safety nets. As of November 2020, the programmes had expanded throughout the Republic to cover 27 governorates, 345 districts and 5,630 villages. Some 3,413,006 families have benefited, 63.7 per cent of them from the Takaful programme and 36.3 per cent from the Karamah programme, with a total of 15 million individual beneficiaries. The budget allocated to the programmes increased from EGP 147 million when it was first launched in 2014/2015 to EGP 17.5 billion in the 2018/2019 budget and EGP 18.5 billion in the 2019/2020.
105.Interventions by the Ministry of Solidarity in partnership with international entities have benefited some 77,600 families (75,889 in partnership with the World Food Programme and 1,702 in conjunction with Plan International) that were among the most likely to fall below the poverty line. They were provided with transfers of 400 Egyptian pounds per month. Some 96 per cent of beneficiaries were divorced women, widows, the elderly and women breadwinners. Some 49 per cent were women with children under the age of 3.
106.Nasser Social Bank launched the “Masturah” microfinancing programme for women breadwinners in cooperation with the Long Live Egypt fund. More than EGP 320 million has been disbursed to 19,000 beneficiaries, along with 3,000 loans set aside for women with special needs.
Measures to improve land ownership by women
107.Act No. 219 (2017) concerning inheritance provides for stiff penalties of no less than 6 months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 100,000 pounds for anyone deliberately failing to turn over to an heir their lawful share. The goal is to ensure that women get their rightful inheritance.
108.The State is making clear efforts to integrate a gender perspective into its rural development policies. That includes door-to-door campaigns aimed at raising the awareness of marginalized groups of women in villages and hamlets, which have reached more than 4 million families in 3,000 villages. Efforts are being made to create job opportunities and raise living standards in rural areas through horizontal expansion of agriculture and the development of small enterprises and microenterprises and income-generating projects for rural women. The National Population Strategy 2015–2030 provides family planning and reproductive health services in rural areas and slums.
109.The expansion of the Takaful and Karama social safety net programmes effectively mitigates the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 on rural women in several ways. The Ministry of Social Solidarity provides cash support services to a total of 1.3 million informal workers adversely affected by COVID-19. It also provides cash support to 478,000 of the neediest families with women, disabled or elderly breadwinners, and, in coordination with non-governmental partner organizations, support in the form of food packages to 3.8 million families with pregnant women, nursing mothers or children under 2. Some 500,000 hygienic and sterile items have been given out to the neediest families. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of Social Solidarity announced an increase in the monthly stipend for rural women entrepreneurs from 350 to 900 pounds per month. The Project Development Authority allocated a funding portfolio of up to 5.4 billion to finance women’s microprojects in the border governorates and Upper Egypt to support women in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
We refer you to paragraphs 116, 117 and 118 of our report, and add the following:
110.In November 2020, the Ministry of Planning approved funding for projects to create household sanitation links in villages covered by our President’s “Decent life” initiative to provide facilities and services to the neediest groups. There are projected to be some half a million beneficiaries for the 2020/2021 fiscal year, including residents of 56 villages, with total projected funding of EGP 500 million. The first payment of EGP 50 million has already been approved. The “Decent life” initiative has carried out a variety of projects in 143 other villages populated by some 1.8 million citizens. The projects include safe sanitation and clean drinking water, increased school capacity, and renovating and equipping health units in line with the comprehensive health insurance model. The initiative also pumped funding of EGP 20 million into small enterprises and microenterprises that and provide transformational training and literacy classes to village residents.
111.The “Decent housing” initiative was launched in 2018 in the five poorest governorates of the Republic. The total cost of both the “Decent housing” initiative and the first phase of the “Decent life” initiative came to EGP 969 million during the 2018–2020 period. During that first phase, some 186,525 families benefited from services, covering some 1 million citizens. Services included 8,400 drinking water connections, 6,300 sanitation links, 11,000 roof installations and 9,5 renovated homes. Some 116,000 families made use of medical caravans. There were 10,000 surgeries and prosthetic device procedures and 19,400 thousand eye exams and eyeglasses made. There were also more than 50 veterinary caravans. Economic empowerment opportunities were made available to some 6,700 families. The initiative has been expanded to cover 1,400 villages in 50 districts in 20 governorates.
112.The Ministry of Health has expanded the availability of family planning and reproductive health services at nominal prices through 5,350 health-care units and general and district hospitals. In poor villages, services are provided free of charge. Some 28 family-planning clinics have opened in 10 governorates. A national strategy was launched in December 2017 to support 20,000 rural women entrepreneurs, who have received training in reproductive health, neonatal care, nutrition, infectious and non-communicable diseases, and healthy lifestyles. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has conducted more than 5 million door-to-door visits and held some 40,000 educational seminars at health units, with the participation of more than 100 civil society organizations. The roles of 2,485 women’s clubs across the Egyptian countryside have been enhanced through awareness-raising seminars. A free family planning counselling hotline is operated by women specialist doctors. Informational materials are designed, printed and distributed to the units free of charge to make people aware of family planning methods. The first women’s and family planning hospital has been established in the South New Valley region.
113.The Government has submitted to the parliament a draft law to amend the Personal Status Code to regulate provisions on marriage, divorce and spousal rights when a marital relationship is initiated or terminated, as well as guardianship and custody, in accordance with constitutional provisions and the international obligations of Egypt. The Government is preparing a draft law to prohibit child marriage (“early marriage”) that explicitly provides for the minimum legal age for marriage.
114.Egypt takes a number of measures to ensure that there is no discrimination between citizens. According to article 3 of the Constitution, personal status laws, including those relating to inheritance, are based on divinely revealed laws. In the Islamic sharia, there are 30 cases in which men and women receive equal share, 10 in which women inherit more than men, and 4 in which men inherit more than women. Moreover, a will can stipulate complete equality of shares in those cases for one third of the inheritance. The rule in Christian law is equal shares for heirs.