Monitoring Legal Reform in Egypt

August 28, 2006

Though Egyptian nationality laws were amended in 2004, they have yet to be finalized, ratified, and implemented. Throughout 2005 and 2006 the Forum for Women in Development (FWID), along with other women’s groups have continued the campaign, watching closely how the law is being implemented. Their activities included organizing awareness-raising and monitoring workshops.

The main goals of current campaign activities are:

  • To have the law enacted quickly, so that children are no longer denied the benefits that are their rights as citizens.
  • Lowering fees that women must pay to apply for their children.
  • Making the law retroactive, to include children born before the new law is applied.
  • Monitoring cases where applicants are rejected and watching how the law is applied.
  • Making note of nationalities which are being discriminated against, particularly those of Sudanese and Palestinian parentage.

Awareness- raising Workshops

In late 2005, FWID organized awareness-raising and monitoring workshops across Egypt for NGOs, lawyers, and other activists. The goal of the workshops was to educate about the law reform and its implementation, as well as introduce FWID’s monitoring activities. A team of local researchers and lawyers were trained for the monitoring work, which includes individual accompaniment, legal, and administrative support. The results are being gathered in a monitoring report which will analyze the ways in which the law is being implemented, and identify flaws in the implementation mechanisms, such as selective access to justice.

“Nationality Campaign: Monitoring and Communication” Workshop - Cairo, July, 2005:

FWID organized a workshop called Nationality Campaign: Monitoring and Communication on July 13th – 14th, 2005. This workshop aimed at reviewing the main cases of Egyptian women married to foreigners observed in Egyptian districts (Al Arish, Al Sharkiya, Al Ismaïlya, and Alexandria). It emphasized the major obstacles faced by these women, as well as finding legal solutions to their problems. The purpose of this workshop was to provide skills and techniques for influencing decision makers, to educate about the law, and to provide training for case observation. It emphasized communications skills, especially with the public.

FWID is currently monitoring how the law is being applied and influencing the Ministry of the Interior to implement court decisions according to the new laws.

Challenges experienced during the monitoring campaign in Egypt include:

  1. Authorities refuse to apply the law to all cases without discrimination.
  2. Continuous security challenges threatening the campaign
  3. A lack of general awareness regarding the issue and its implications
  4. A general political climate in the country that does not support the campaign

In spite of these obstacles, FWID continues to work towards their goals, along with other women’s organizations within Egypt and the general region.

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