Egypt's women have already made inroads into several one-time domains of men. But a suggestion to allow women to recite Islam's holy book the Quran in public has triggered sharp differences among Muslim clerics in this country recently swept by a wave of Islamism.

Egypt's High Administrative Court overturned on Wednesday a ban on female students wearing the niqab, or full face veil, in university examinations, saying it violated women's constitutional rights. The case, and that of a religious edict banning the niqab in girls' school dormitories, has bounced back and forth among various courts since Minister of Higher Education Hany Helal imposed the ban in October.

قالت مصادر قضائية ان محكمة عليا مصرية سمحت يوم الاربعاء للمنتقبات بحضور الامتحانات في الجامعات بشرط كشف وجوههن مع بدء الامتحان للسماح للمراقبين بالتحقق من شخصياتهن.
وقال مصدر ان دائرة فحص الطعون بالمحكمة الادارية العليا التي تصدر الاحكام فيها من سبعة قضاة أوقفت تنفيذ حكم محكمة القضاء الاداري وهي المحكمة الاقل درجة الذي صدر في الثالث من يناير كانون الثاني قاضيا بأن من حق السلطات الجامعية منع المنتقبات من أداء الامتحانات.
وأضاف أن المحكمة الادارية العليا قالت في أسباب الحكم ان "حق الفتاة في ستر جسدها بالملبس الذي تراه مناسبا وفقا لمعتقداتها أو البيئة الاجتماعية التي نشأت فيها هو من الحقوق اللصيقة بالمرأة ولا يجوز المساس بها أو الاعتداء عليها.

حث مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان، الحكومة المصرية على أن تتناول في تقريرها للأمم المتحدة عن الحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية، مشاكل الاعتداء المتكرر على ممتلكات الأقباط، في إطار جرائم العنف الطائفي –التي كان آخرها في نجع حمادي- وحق النوبيين في العودة إلى موطنهم الأصلي، وفي بناء منازلهم وفق ميراثهم الثقافي، وحق بدو سيناء في تملك أراضيهم وعدم اضطهادهم أمنيا. جاء ذلك خلال اجتماع دعت إليه إدارة حقوق الإنسان بوزارة الخارجية بعض منظمات حقوق الإنسان، لمناقشة إطار تقرير الحكومة المصرية إلى الأمم المتحدة، بخصوص مدى التزامها باحترام الحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية، وشارك فيه بهي الدين حسن مدير مركز القاهرة.
كما طالب بهي أيضا بإدراج ما يتعلق بتقييد حق العمال في الإضراب في تقرير الحكومة، وحقهم في حد أدنى للأجور، والتمييز ضد النساء العاملات، والتأمين الاجتماعي والصحي، والقوانين المقيدة للحق في إنشاء نقابات مهنية وعمالية، وعدم تنفيذ الحكومة لأحكام القضاء ذات الصلة.

More than two-thirds of African countries have laws criminalizing homosexual acts, and despite accounting for a significant percentage of new infections in many countries, men who have sex with men tend to be left out of the HIV response. "[They] are going underground; they are hiding themselves and continuing to fuel the epidemic," UNAIDS executive director Michél Sidibé told IRIN/PlusNews recently. "We need to make sure these vulnerable groups have the same rights everyone enjoys: access to information, care and prevention for them and their families."  IRIN/PlusNews has compiled a short list of human rights violations against gay Africans:

I was sitting in a majlis with a group of women when our chat on world affairs was interrupted by an urgent knock on the door; a knock that opened more than just a passage into the rest of the house. “We ran out of coffee!” I heard a male voice in distress telling the hostess as she opened the door just a tiny crack to see who it was. It was her husband, who was hosting a similar majlis in another corner of the house, with the husbands of the women here. The hostess went out to help him, leaving the door wide open to a room full of annoyed women. Several of them ran to the door to close it, because “there are men in the house”.

La mort de six fidèles accroît les inquiétudes d'une minorité: Une fusillade à l'arme automatique visant des coptes devant l'église du village de Nagaa Hammadi, en Haute-Egypte, mercredi 6 janvier, a fait sept morts, dont six parmi les fidèles venus assister à la messe de Noël copte qui suit le rite orthodoxe, et un policier, ainsi qu'une dizaine de blessés. Des affrontements violents, parfois sanglants, opposent de manière récurrente des musulmans à cette minorité chrétienne, en proie à un sentiment croissant d'isolement et de menace.

Service for Christians killed in sectarian clashes draws 5,000 protesters: Thousands clashed with police during a funeral procession yesterday for the seven people killed in an attack on churchgoers leaving a midnight Mass for Coptic Christians. The protesters pelted cars with stones. Earlier, they smashed ambulances at the hospital in frustration over delays in turning over the bodies for burial. A security official said police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The riots follow an attack the previous night, in which three gunmen in a car sprayed automatic gunfire into a crowd leaving a church in the town of Nag Hammadi, about 40 miles from the ancient ruins of Luxor. The lead attacker was identified as a Muslim.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today regretted the ruling on 3 January by an administrative court to uphold a new decision banning students who wear the niqab, or full face veil, from sitting for exams in public universities. The EIPR said the ban's declared objective of preventing cheating during exams could be achieved through less drastic measures. Female students wearing the niqab told the court they were prepared to uncover their faces and be subjected to body searches at the beginning of each exam.

Hedy Epstein, 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, has stolen our hearts. At four feet-ten, she is a giant. Her gentle smile lights up every room that she enters, and yet if you saw her on the street, you might not immediately sense her power.  Unless you paid close attention, you would just see a sweet little old lady. When she came to Cairo, Hedy decided to undertake a fast in support of the people of Gaza, a particularly apt form of protest given the inadequacy of both the supply and type of food the people there have access to. Malnutrition is endemic in Gaza, and children's growth is stunted; people frequently go hungry.

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