Dispute and heated debate over the draft Personal Status Law

Intense controversy currently taking place in Egyptian society, the main focus of which is the objection to what was said to be a draft of a new personal status bill submitted by the government to the House of Representatives, which included amendments and articles described as an unprecedented response in Egyptian society.

In view of the articles of concern and exclamation contained in the draft law contained in the 45 pages, and the anger that it provoked, not only between women but also among many men, the government, parliament and many official bodies have disavowed the draft law, and some officials and MPs even denied that the law was originally proposed. For debate in Parliament.

Quite a few Egyptian civil society organizations sharply criticized many of the articles of the new law on the pretext of not participating in the preparation of the law, which have long called for the amendment of the current law, which is about 100 years old, while others believe that Many of the articles of the new law are inconsistent with Islamic law.

The woman’s guardianship

According to various Egyptian media outlets, the government submitted to Parliament a new draft personal status law that was celebrated with a number of good amendments, including changing the order of the custodians and placing the father in fourth place instead of sixteen, including a fine for a husband who marries another without informing the first of an amount ranging between 20 thousand and 50 thousand pounds (the husband pays to the government!) Or imprisonment of not less than a year, as well as the punishment of the authorized official if he does not notify the first wife by a registered letter attached with the acknowledgment of receipt.

Also, according to the draft law, the existence of an appendix to the marriage or divorce document that includes the rights and duties of both parties, including alimony for the wife and children, issues related to vision and hosting of children upon separation, and others has become a mandatory matter.

That What angered many women in Egypt was the issue of guardianship rights for a wife or mother For example, according to one of the strange articles of the law, any “male” in the family of a woman who wants to marry a person has the right to annul this marriage within one year on the grounds of the incompetence of the spouse chosen by the woman or if she married without the consent of this “male” or someone else. From male family members or if she did not receive a dowry from whom she married herself.

Also, according to the new law, the mother has no guardianship over her children in everything related to education, health, travel, issuance of official papers and other transactions that almost eliminate the presence of the woman in every legal or official dealings related to her children, and while a father can travel with his children without permission from anyone, the wife has no right Or a divorced woman traveling with her children without the written consent of the husband:

Rights activists also criticize There is no mention of non-Muslims in the new law Especially since many Christians in Egypt are suffering due to the strictness of the church in matters of divorce, which specified only adultery or changing the religion – which were 7 reasons, but Pope Shenouda adopted the new amendment in 2008 – which made the lives of many almost impossible, especially if the husband had criminal activity or was hooked.

Tragic stories

On social media, stories spread about the suffering of women due to the old law, which seems to have been more sophisticated compared to the new proposed law.

Under the hashtags # Guardianship is my right and # Personal Status Law # Guardianship is their right, women have published facts that reflect the severe suffering that the mother faces in government departments and official bodies.

Hamees wrote about the story of a woman who was stuck in a cemetery with her children because hotels refused to host her because there was no man from her family with her:

As for “Menna Tharwat”, she spoke about her personal suffering during her divorce proceedings:

While another woman recounted the suffering of the wife whose husband dies to obtain the right of guardianship over her children:

Men also published stories about the suffering of their mothers, who took care of them after the father’s death or separation from him

Modifications required

Egyptian lawyer and human rights defender Azza Soliman wrote several posts on her Facebook page in which she mentioned a number of articles that must be changed, including the mother’s lack of guardianship over her children upon the death of the husband except after the grandfather’s abdication to her, refusing to turn the woman into “just a vessel”:

Lawyer and human rights activist Nihad Abu Al-Qumsan also criticized the draft law, describing it as eliminating the legal personality of women and depriving women of any legal status in the lives of their children:

Abu Al-Qumsan called on the Egyptian presidency to intervene to cancel the draft and form a committee of experts from various fields to study the laws of Arab and Islamic countries and issue a law that goes in line with the times and the role of women.

The Women and Memory Forum issued a statement demanding that the interest of children be placed above all else and the recognition of the guardianship of an adult woman over her children in the event of the husband’s death or separation from him.

Parliamentary and official criticism

The leader of the parliamentary majority, the head of the parliamentary committee of the Nation’s Future Party, Ashraf Rashad, directed sharp criticism to the new draft personal status law, criticizing the government’s policy in preparing legislation, saying: “The government is still repeating the lack of participation of MPs in legislation, which is like burning bombs that they drop in the street. Then a crisis would arise within the deputies after that. ”

The leader of the parliamentary majority cited the draft Personal Status Law, which the government presented to Parliament. Several parties are preparing to hold community dialogue sessions about it, saying, “It includes many problems, as there are 37 articles tainted by suspicions of unconstitutionality and other problems,” according to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk.

As for the Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, Sahar Al-Sunbati, she said in statements to Al-Shorouk newspaper that the council has prepared a memorandum of all the amendments to all controversial items in the draft bill that was sent to the cabinet, refusing to comment on the draft law at the present time, saying, “The council is in a state of anticipation, coordination, and we are waiting.” The reaction of the House of Representatives to the draft law. ”
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