Women's activists have marked 25th November as a day against violence to be commemorated every year. It was on this day in 1960 that the three Mirabel sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, were brutally assassinated on the orders of the then Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.
The UN has called for the observation of this day as its spokesperson welcomed those who spoke for the ending of violence against women where as many as 1 in 3 women have experienced one form of violence or another in her lifetime. We salute leaders worldwide who fight to end the violence and battle to make amendments to laws in an effort to aide the victims in healing.
Egypt's situation is alarming and a complete contradiction to the above mentioned goals of eliminating violence against women. In fact it has increased many times over since the January 25 revolution and to this day effecting all ages. During the last four years alone more than 160 women were killed 75 during this past year by military and security forces. Up to 2000 women were detained where 50 remain arbitrarily held and leveled with fabricated accusations. Their detention fails to meet the fair standards required as they face prison sentences ranging from death penalties to life sentences. A complete breach simply for using their basic rights of expression and freedom of speech and for their political activities.
Furthermore, most detainees have faced emotional and physical torture at the hands of police, wardens and inspectors inside police headquarters, prisons and detention centres. Human Rights Monitor has been able to document 5 accounts of rape by security personnel and one case of student molestation on Assuit's university campus and in fact has filed a complaint to the UN.
Six Egyptian women have disappeared and to date the whereabouts of two remain unknown with no information by the Egyptian government.
HRM has also documented human rights violations against women arbitrarily detained including torture and assaults which have been forwarded to the UN including:
Asmaa Nasr born on January 15, 1994 is a first year Engineering student who was arrested from the Azhar University's campus on December 28, 2013.
She was among a few randomly arrested after she was preparing to leave the faculty after sitting her tests and was leveled with a host of fabricated accusations including, resisting authorities, inciting violence, and possessing arms. She was to find herself later detained in the Qanater Prison and was assaulted and brutally beaten by both wardens and guards with wooden canes and iron rods and was bitten by an inmate. The beatings resulted in a swollen arm with possible fractions to her arms and legs. On October 23, a court order was upheld to sentence Asmaa and 5 other girls to five years in prison and a fine of 100,000 LE
Human rights defender and activist Yara Salam to date also remains behind bars after being sentenced to 3 years on October 26, 2013.
Sisters Hend and Rasha Munir sentenced to life; arrested August 16, 2013.
Yosra Alsayed Alkhateeb sentenced to 6 years; arrested November 12, 2013 from Mansoura University campus.
Final 5 year sentence and 100.000 LE fine for detainees Asmaa Hamdy, Alaa Alsayed, Rufayda Ibrahim, Affaf Omar and Hanady Ahmed; arrested December 24, 2013 from Azhar University grounds.
Three year prison sentence to Safaa Hassan, Asmaa Sayed, Salwa Hassanein; arrested January 8, 2014 from Alsabaa Building district.
Three year prison sentence and 10,000 LE fine in addition to three years police supervision to Sanaa Seif, Yara Salam, Samar Ibrahim, Hannan Altahan, Nahed Alsherif, Rania Alsheik and Salwa Mehrez
Final two year sentence to Asmaa Mokhtar, Shaymaa Alsayed and Leila Mohamed arrested January 28, 2014 from outside a courthouse.
Two year sentence of Abrar Alanany and Menatullah Mustafa arrested November 12, 2013 from Mansoura University.
The disappearance of Aliaa Tareq Mohamed born August 11, 1995 an Azhar Religious Studies student was recorded.
The student was able to get word out to her mother to let her know she was kidnapped October 20, along with two other girls and continued to exchange messages with her until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, she then lost contact and there was no news of their whereabouts.
The girl's mother head towards the Nasr City 2nd Police station and found her daughter's colleagues detained at the station however her daughter was missing and officials denied her presence at the station. Her mother later filed a request number 21562 to the general prosecutor in an effort to know the location of her daughter.
Aliaa remained missing for 17 days as reported by her mother and she learnt later that she was emotionally and physically abused during her absence until she was left blindfolded from where she was kidnapped.
Dr. Asmaa Khalaf and Ola Abdul Hakim however remain missing to this date and their whereabouts are unknown.
Most detainees political and criminal alike face abuse and torture.
Amany Abdo Hassan who was arrested following the Rabaa Sit in dispersal was tortured and also burnt using cigarettes and was paralyzed during her detention as a result to torture.
Gehad Alkhayat a student was also brutally tortured and beaten and both her arm and leg were broken in prison. She left prison in a wheelchair.
Other methods of torture included continued threats of rape and molesting as they were left for periods at a time in bug and snake infested cells.
On July 3rd, 2014 Hebatulla Gamal a third year secondary student was killed instantly after being shot in the neck and chest while taking part in a protest. According to witnesses security forces attacked pro-democracy anti-coup protestors in the Sa'a district using tear gas and live bullets.
HRM also documented numerous molesting cases on university grounds during the beginning of the school year. With the onset of this month an increase of molesting reports have been made indicating a new method used against protestors by university and security guards and Falcon security employees, including:
A female student was attacked by the university's security personnel at the cafeteria with a stick. Once she attempted to fend herself she was assaulted, molested and beaten further and was threatened, while attempts to be saved were futile when she asked a nearby stander; a friend tried to pull her to safety. Witnesses relayed the story confirming the student's account.
In conclusion the above cases are but a few in comparison to the real picture and we fear if such cases and appeals to end violence against women continue to be ignored the very essence of human rights and freedoms will diminish.
HRM expresses its extreme concern regarding the increase of unprecedented violence in Egypt deeming it unacceptable under any circumstances.
Moreover it calls for the immediate investigation of the above complaints and urges detention centres be visited to determine the extent of torture, rape, assault, molesting, medical neglect and inhumane conditions the detainees face on a regular basis. It also calls for all directly or indirectly responsible to be held accountable in order that justice be served.