Egypt: Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations open letter to Prime Minister
The Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations welcomes the appointment of Mr. Essam Sharaf as Prime Minister of the new civilian government of Egypt, especially after he confirmed being fully committed to the demands of the 25th of January revolution. The Coalition considers that the achievement of these demands require a clear representation of all the forces involved in the Egyptian revolution in the composition of the new cabinet, mainly the youth who played a historical role in initiating and inspiring the revolution by their determination to pursue the march till the end. The Coalition also considers that the forthcoming cabinet should reflect the representation of women from diverse affiliations, a representation that did not occur in the past cabinet or in the various committees that were established following the revolution.
The Egyptian revolution has launched a clear message to the world about the level of civilization of the Egyptian women and men who seek to build a civil and modern State, and achieve full citizenship relying on equality and non discrimination on the base of gender, religious or ideological belief, social affiliation, race or any other form of discrimination. Moreover, the message conveyed to the world says that Egypt has decided to restore its leading role in the Arab region and worldwide and to represent a model for the other people of our region. This requires the participation of all forces in the rebuilding of our country, with women on the heart of these forces. The Coalition considers that the new cabinet whose head was chosen by the people should substantiate this message. Therefore, we confirm the following:
· The forthcoming cabinet should include an adequate number of women whose efficiency and integrity has been proven, especially among those who courageously fought against the oppression and corruption of the former regime.
· Women should represent at least 30% of the members in all the committees formed, especially in the founding assembly that will be responsible of developing a new Constitution for Egypt.
The undemocratic policies of the former President’s party have led to the establishment of institutions affiliated to the regime. We consider that the new government should adopt as a priority the dismantlement of all these institutions pretending to represent the Egyptian people, especially the so called” National Democratic” Party for the crimes its leaders have perpetrated against our people as well as the National Council of Women. Moreover, room should be given for the democratic and free establishment of political parties, trade unions, general unions and Civil Society Organizations on the base of mere notification of the concerned authorities.
In this context, we request the following:
· The dissolution of the State Security Services that played a specific role in oppressing the freedom of association and expression, hounding democratic activists, and intervening in all the aspects of life in Egypt (work, education, artistic creation, etc.).
· The purification of the police corpus from the heads involved in crimes against citizens either during the revolution or before. Their prosecution should take place publicly and immediate action should occur to stop their attempts to destroy the evidences of corruption.
· The police corpus should be restructured as to comply with Egypt’s international commitments in terms of human rights and be headed by a civilian minister in order to ensure that this body will play back its natural role, i.e., the protection of citizens. Moreover, the mobilized soldiers of the Central Security forces should be released and this institution abolished. This represents the main way to reestablish the lost trust between citizens and the workers in the police corpus and cut the ground under the feet of thugs or any other attempt to destabilize the internal security.
The Coalition considers that under the provision of the basic freedoms mentioned above, the forthcoming period will be decisive in enabling the revolutionary forces building their political parties and developing a social contract reflecting their consensus about the new Constitution. Therefore, we request the postponement of the parliamentarian elections for not less than a year. The sleazy previous Constitution has become meaningless and no additional time should be spent in amending some of its articles while the full authorities of the President remain as is; instead, we propose for the current period - along with many other popular forces - a general constitutional declaration that confirms the democratic and civil trend of the State, based on the full separation of powers, restricted authorities for the forthcoming President, as well as the equality of citizens without any form of discrimination between them.
We are aware that a cabinet formed by a Prime Minister declaring to gain his legitimacy from the people will not suit the remaining forces of the previous regime or its supporters; therefore, we call the new government to adopt urgent decisive measures to withdraw any powers from the leaders and representatives of this regime, especially in the ranks of the police, the media and the local councils in order to break off the way in front of thugs and attempts of destabilization. We call all patriotic forces to support the forthcoming government.
- New Woman Foundation
- Women and Memory Forum
- Center of Egyptian Women Legal Aid
- El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence
- Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development (ACT)
- Women’s Forum for Development
- Alliance of Arab Women
- Egyptian Association for Family Development
- “Nazra” Association for Feminist Studies
- “Ommi” Association for Rights and Development
- “Heya” Foundation
- Cairo Institute for Development
- The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
- Helwan Foundation for Community Development (Bashayer)
Cairo, March 5 2011
The Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations